Precious Kubheka

Today’s rider is Precious Kubheka from South Africa who rides a CBR1000RR. She is possibly the most hilarious person I’ve interviewed so far. I literally couldn’t stop laughing the entire time I was editing this. There must be something about South Africa that produces extraordinary people like Precious and Skinny Van Schalwyk who was interviewed a few weeks ago. The motorcycling scene in South Africa also seems extremely rich and vibrant. Enjoy this great read about a rider who promises to go far in her chosen sport.   

Rashmi Tambe
Editor, Global Women Who Ride


Name: Nondumiso Precious Kubheka
Age: 21
Country: South Africa
Languages: Zulu, Sotho, English, Afrikaans
Years Riding: 2
Height: 1.59m
Current motorcycles: 2004 Honda CBR1000
Past motorcycles: 2002 Suzuki FX150R
Riding Gear: Suomi Helmet, Thor off-road gloves, Nexo leather jacket & touring pants, Monza NRD racing boots
Kms Per Year: 9000
Written About At:


Please introduce yourself.
I’m a 21 year old Mechanical Engineering student living with my parents. A typical always indoors type, I enjoy my own company although more often than not, I’m landlord to a few shadier characters in my head. I studied Commercial Law for a year then switched over to engineering because my knack for fixing things and my constant desire to want to know how things work got the better of me. A large part of me consists of daredevil tendencies which although are usually calculated, have landed me into a few unsavory predicaments. I spend my saner moments with music, books, TV series and bikes. If I’m not drooling over them, I’m riding or trying to fix them.

Please describe your path into motorcycling.
My very first memory of motorcycles would have to be when I was around 8 years old. We had moved to a mostly white populated suburb.  If memory – of being bullied – serves right, there was this boy whose name was Vickus who lived a street over and owned a 50 cc quad. His father rode a black street fighter which always managed to have me transfixed right up to the moment it was long out of sight and earshot. Then again it had that effect on almost every kid who owned a bicycle at the time.

Since childhood I’ve always associated speed with freedom. That could explain why at a point I wished to be a Nascar driver. Of cause that all changed when I realized scramblers, quads and cruisers were not the only types of motorcycles on the road…. I knew right then in my heart that no man on this planet or beyond would ever make me feel the way a superbike did… I was in love.

The gist of it was, being a black girl with no history of biking in a family that was more willing to finance a brand new Chevy Spark than see me on a secondhand bike, made my having a bike as good of a dream as waking up with Oprah’s bank account. By no history of biking I’m referring to my family and every black person I’d ever known before 11th grade until I met my friend. Up until then, I was told biking was a white man’s hobby. Anyway, it all worked out in the end. For a few years, I hinted, asked, nagged, begged and straight up demanded that my parents buy me a bike, to no avail. In rebellion I took a gap year after high school at 19 and worked as a waitress to raise the money. I say rebellion because working before finishing one’s studies is unthinkable in my family.

My first bike was meant to be a 400 cc but with my luck my mother’s car, which was my mode of transport at the time, got written off. This forced me to make my move sooner. I had R 12 000 saved up. I could get a 400 cc motorcycle for no less than R 16 000. I was literally one pay check away from a superbike and all that stood in my way was transport! Anyway I got a a yellow and black 150 cc bike (“Bumblebee”) for R 9 500 and gear with the rest. Can you believe my first time ever riding a motorcycle was when I exchanged cash for keys and papers and rode off? I fell once within the seller’s yard. And yet, there can’t possibly be a way to describe the feeling of pride and achievement I felt in Bumblebee.


Fast forward to almost a year later with a bit of cash, a hope, prayer and miracle, and suddenly I was the nut connecting a CBR 1000’s handle bars to the seat. My parents had bought me a superbike… till this day it’s still quite a bit of a shock. It turned out that the ears I had thought deaf had just been hoping that I’d grow out of what is rightfully perceived a deadly sport.

What bike did you first start on?
My 150cc Suzuki FXR aka “Bumblebee”. There was no real science behind my decision to get it. It was a reliable brand name within my means and I appreciated that I had never seen the make and model of this bike before since as every other teen riding owned a Honda, Kawasaki or Big Boy. Plus I bought it when a timid looking girl around my age so I knew the bike hadn’t fared much abuse from its owner.

Describe your current motorcycle.
Until about six months ago my CBR was all black. Black screen, silver trimmings with a green tribal flame decal all over the body that sported golden highlights at the edges. I call it Tyson because it has an excellent airbrush of Mike Tyson’s face on the tank cover (not my choice, the previous owner had it done). The rims had the same tribal paintwork in the center and the outer part was polished.

You know that feeling of pride you feel when you catch people gawping at your bike? Well, Tyson managed to draw an audience whenever left alone if even for a few seconds. He had quite a commanding presence – always posing for some or other camera!!!

And the sound!!  A conventional Fireblade sounds like there is a deep roaring cat under the seat but not this one! With no silencer and a slit pipe peeking out from the bottom side panel, it sounds like an ominous scream, something created for the sole purpose of terrorizing the neighborhood (not that I would do that to my fellow neighbors). Above all though, I just love the feel of it. It feels raw and aggressive. 




Do you have a motorcycling achievement that you take pride in?
I’m not quite sure what is perceived as an achievement in this regard. I have not taken part in any formal events or competitions. I did however win my helmet at a dayjol for best female slow rider though if that counts.

What’s your favorite motorcycling story to tell others?
Ahh yes… The funniest and most unfortunate event was during my days as a waitress at a really nice place on the banks of the Vaal River called Stone Haven. Now on this particular day I was set up for an afternoon shift that spans from 10am to 5pm and seeing as it was spring time and fairly warm I decided to “skipa ride” (black slang for riding without gear) to work. Don’t judge.

Bumblebee called in sick so I was riding a friends Honda 125cc E-storm which could barely do 70 kph (~43 mph). I had figured that I’d be home by sundown. To my misfortune I end up staying late because business suddenly picked up and too few waiters were working that night. By the time I had clocked out, it was 10 PM and pouring down outside. I decided to wait it out thinking that the rain would cut me some slack after a 12 hour shift. What a misjudgment on my part because it got worse! I was tired, it was well after 11 PM and the temperature was taking a dive, so I headed out anyway.

If you have ever ridden an ancient ex-delivery scooter, you would have guessed that using a torch to light the road ahead would have been much more efficient than the single impossibly dim headlight that was only ever good for showing oncoming traffic that someone like a cyclist was on the road. With heavy rainfall on a normally nice stretch of back road, I was jolted out of my internal cussing of the cold rain and thoughts of why I’d never ride without gear ever again by the bike bouncing off the striped island that signals the turn at a T junction. Needless to say, I had missed it and I plowed straight into the bush.

I swear in those few moments of comical stupidity, this bike had suddenly found the will to accelerate a wee bit faster than normal. All was good though. The veld grass and my ego were the only casualties of this incident. I turned the engine over, told  the voice in my head singing UB40’s “Only fools fall in” to shut up and rode off. Fate was not done with me yet though. After about 3 km of much more focus and squinting I realized that something was very wrong.

In my rush to ride off and get out of my drenched clothes before I caught something, I had failed to do a quick inspection of the bike. The bike had a twist-on petrol cap that required no key. A cap which was now missing, presumably lying next to my pride at the scene.

I obviously had to turn back. Home was another 14km away and I had no idea how much water had already mixed in with the gas. It took a while to locate the cap but I did and was grateful to finally get home. Thoroughly drenched but home nonetheless. Good times!

Have you done any long distance road trips?
I haven’t really but for what it’s worth, the longest distance trip I made is not really one I’d like to recall. It was a 700 km one way ride to an old friend’s funeral.

Have you made any close female friendships due to motorcycling?
Considering how very small and close my social circle is, that seems a little bit like a loaded question but yes I have! In fact now that I think about it, I met my now closest friend Keke Tsiloane because she was a biker. I also met this one lady Eco Matinyane whom I’ve taken quite a liking to. We ride for different clubs and she owns a cruiser but she’s fun to be around regardless.

Keke Tsiloane on her CBR 929 Fireblade

Eco Matinyane

What’s the story behind this photo?


I met this man who owns a body repairs shop after a kid had pushed Tyson over and cracked the tank cover. He who just couldn’t seem to wrap his head around me riding. He loved track days and always tried to get me to go with him but I didn’t own a pair of leather pants. The 750 Gixxer was his ‘track baby’ and on that day he insisted I take it for a spin and find out why. Haha… I rode it to church (literally, it was a Sunday). Nimble little thing that… I’d also never ridden a quickshifter before then, so it was a learning curve.

Do you do maintenance and repairs on your bike?
I do almost everything on my bike because I quickly learned in the early stages of biking not to trust a mechanic (ironic considering my career path). Then again there isn’t really that much to be done on a bike apart from full service, the occasional fuse, maybe replace a battery, rectifier or if you’re as unlucky as me a stator coil. I’ve sat in on clutch plate replacements so I have some knowledge there and have had to face flywheel bearings on Bumblebee. The only tasks I leave to mechanics would be the more heavy duty stuff like tires, forks, electrical problems, dynos, and if necessary timing and body repairs.


Do you have any motorcycling heroes?
Honestly, I’m not too in touch with the biking world outside my own helmet. I’m more focused on trying to be my own hero. I know that sounds slightly conceited but I believe that other people’s stories will never be like mine and it’s therefore a fair conclusion that neither will their achievements. Heroes… none. Inspirations, sure.

I’d say my person of inspiration would have to be Skinny Van Schalkwyk. I first came to know Skinny when she contacted me after an interview with Bikers Haven. After that I started receiving her newsletter and been glued to it ever since. I’ve haven’t met her yet but I’m so taken by how she seems to be one of those fun loving souls who has quite a gift for capturing moments and sharing them with the rest of us more boring people. Also, she used to do track, something I envy and hope to do in good time. Best of all, she stunts! Up until then I was starting to question my sanity seeing as no female rider I had come across had any aspirations to do anything daring beyond removing a hand from the bars to wave…

Do you have any advice for people who want to get into motorcycling?
What are you waiting for? The world looks tons better from a rider’s perspective!

On a more serious note though, if you’re a typical “buy things for showing off” person, get a sports car. If you’re planning on making a traffic riddled highway into a 300 km/h drag strip, get a Playstation.

For everyone else, firstly a word of warning… RIDING IS HIGHLY ADDICTIVE! Moving on, respect that machine, chances are it won’t respect you but respect it anyway. Always!  Always! Always! Always wear gear. Road rash is one of the many occupational hazards of biking. Learn from others’ mistakes, you’ll live longer and you won’t have to be someone else’s lesson. If you’ve got something to prove, best do so in a controlled environment.

And to whoever tells you biking is dangerous, it’s all lies! Bikers sleep in tents, they don’t strap them to their backs and jump out of airplanes!

Posing on Tyson at a RAMBO bike rally – a black biker council (Photo courtesy of High Rollas)



If I were to visit you and we went riding for one short morning ride, where would you take me?
I haven’t travelled very much so my route knowledge is pretty limited but for that one I’d have to say Clarens through to Golden Gate. Clarens in the Free State province  is quite a popular tourist destination and loved by bikers on breakfast runs. The tiny little town on its own is nothing special but it’s the scenery between it and the Golden Gate National park that is breathtaking. You’d have to see it to believe it!!

What’s the best part about riding in your country?
The most awesome thing about Mzansi is that it’s just a stone’s throw to get from an urban concrete jungle to open space, mountain and farmland. Nine times out of ten, when you stand in the middle of an urban area, less than a hundred kilometers from that very spot is a little slice of paradise. Most of the country is just a massive getaway!

(Mzansi Afrika is a nickname that translates to “bottom of Africa”)

How does the topography of the place you live affect the kind of motorcycling you choose to do?
I live in an industrial town where almost every road is paved. Around here you can ride what you want. In fact the only time you encounter dirt roads is when you go looking for them but I probably would have chosen to ride a superbike even if I lived in the middle of the jungle. 

What is the traffic like and how does it affect motorcycle riding?
Around Sasolburg, we don’t have much traffic, just a lot of bad drivers. The only time there’s traffic is when you hit the cities, otherwise there’s always enough room to do something stupid.

What are the best months for riding?
The best time for riding is when you are riding! Instead I’ll tell you what the worst month for riding is. In the past few years our spring rains have taken to being very shy until between the first and second month of summer and I’m not talking conventional dance in the rain type of stuff. It’s countrywide flooding time. It’s the only time when riding is a chore.


Is it safe to ride at night where you live?
I’m sure there are some pretty unsafe places that come to mind but Sasolburg is nowhere near the top of the list. In this neck of the woods its common to find a car parked upside a tree or wheels up in someone’s back yard. So apart from the type of horrible driving I mentioned earlier it’s a pretty cool place to ride at night.

Is motorcycle theft a problem?
It’s an outright disaster! You can have your steering locked, an alarm system, disc locks, ignition key systems and an anchor chain tying your bike down, but if they want it, they’ll take it, and no way are you getting that bike back! 

Are there any motorcycle specific laws?
Not that I’m aware of…. Although I hear it’s illegal to lift the front wheel off the road surface… Personally until I come across a sign stating just that I consider such ramblings to be preposterous lies!

Are there any motorcycling related political issues that affect your ability to riding?
I honestly cannot answer that one as I’ve never ridden off-road. Does wanting to be a Dani Pedrossa with ovaries count? I know its private property and all but my oh my, the way they lay that tar down in hairpins, gentle curves and perfect straights is sinfully tempting! 

How do the police treat motorcyclists?
Our police don’t like us much but then again they couldn’t give two shakes about stopping a bike… which is bound to happen when it’s a norm for bikes to “pretend-stop” when pulled over. Recently we have been introduced to the “ghosts”. This is an extraordinary team of traffic cops in souped up cars, dedicated to nabbing and making short work of any bike trying to make a run for it. In fact if you are planning on doing something foolish on the highway and see a white unmarked GTI, you better forget about it. 

Can you describe the motorcycle license test?   
It’s all done within a marked little parking space at the traffic department. It’s literally just to see if you can pull off basic motorcycle maneuvers without falling, rolling or taking your feet off the pegs until at a complete stop. The first is normally riding of a few meters, signaling, making a little turn and stopping before a stop sign before moving off back the way you came. Then there’s speeding up to about 25km/h and making a controlled stop on a specifically marked area before repeating as an emergency stop. You get to pretend swerve. Next you go around a painted curve at speed. Thereafter there is moving off an incline. You will then repeat all the above in the opposite direction. If you score below a set number of penalty points throughout the test you walk or rather ride out the same way you rode in, only difference being your new found ability to ride with a passenger.  

Do you have access to high quality motorcycling gear in your part of the world?
The only thing missing on this side is women’s gear.

Is there a local motorcycling event that you try and attend regularly?
Unfortunately, not anymore. Mind you it’s not for lack thereof. Around here, there’s always a breakfast run, fun run, toy run, some or other charity run, dayjol, club launch bike wash or braai to attend.

A dayjol is a motorcycle club’s anniversary if I may call it that. It’s a typical braai situation or a barbecue. There is open space, music, food, booze, bikes, and people mingling. Personally I see it as a pissing contest to see which club can throw the bigger, better party and give away the best prize but that’s just me. It’s almost customary that there be bike associated competitions for which prizes vary according to the club’s pockets or sponsors.

Popular games are :
Ring tossing (with bike tires)
Helmet kicking (Furthest distance kicked)
Tire throwing (furthers distance thrown)
Stunts (best stoppie and wheelie)
Slow riding  (in this race, the winner is the last rider to get to the finish line, a few meters away, without falling or touching the ground).

The highlight of the day is the group ride, usually a short ride involving some form of donation towards a charitable cause.

Riding to the Pathfinders MCC dayjol (Photo courtesy of the High Rollas)

The Rollas were quite ecstatic about their first lady winning a Suomi in the slowest ride contest (Photo courtesy of the High Rollas)

Are any motorcycle related sports popular where you live and do women actively participate in them?
The only motorcycle related sport that way too many women readily participate in is pillion sport! No offense to anyone. I just call it like I see it. 

How are women motorcycle riders treated by people?
Most people find it unbelievable when a women rides while many see it as a death wish. Our petrolhead male counterparts, from my own experience, are just a tad too fascinated by a female rider. By a tad too much, I mean if you gave them a scalpel they’d attempt to dissect this ‘rare specimen’. I feel like they never quite get over their awe, though I doubt many would admit it. They take pride in knowing or being associated with a woman who rides.  

Do female and male motorcyclists have the same amount of freedom to pursue motorcycling activities?
I’m not too informed in these matters but judging by the general perception that a female biker going down is a scarier scenario and somewhat more expected than a male biker, speaks volumes about our society and not just in biking but on every platform. Also, bear in mind that in a country with as many cultures, religions, beliefs and numerous socioeconomic barriers, there’s still a bit to be done. But that’s just when coming to professions, otherwise on the road we are one and the same.


Movies: Biker Boys
Magazine: Bike SA
Web Forums:
Professional Motorcyclist: Dani Pedrossa
Female Motorcyclist: Skinny van Schalkwyk