The man & his bike; Martin Leboro

SHARE   |   Monday, 05 June 2017   |   By B. Double
The man & his bike; Martin Leboro

Martin Leboro is a Safety Health and Environment Officer for M and S Pump and Pipe Installation Company. He grew up in Jwaneng where he used to see motocross riding from a young age. He used to see off-road riders riding motocross and doing stunts. His love of bikes developed from there. However, as a young boy still living under his parents’ roof he could obviously not afford a bike. “Every time when I talked of a motorbike (my parents) got me a bicycle,” he recalls. The story of Martin’s journey as a biker is an interesting one. In 2005, he went to the then Ministry of Works and Transport and wrote the theory test for his motorcycle license. He then had to move on to the yard test and road test. The Ministry referred him to another biker for instruction. He met the said rider, whose first question was if Martin had a motorbike. Martin did not have a bike, and the rider told him that Martin needed to have a bike to receive instruction. The rider had a nice powerful bike and could not let Martin use it. Being a resilient fellow, Martin went to one of the delivery riders for assistance. The delivery rider took him to an empty space and taught Martin how to operate a motorbike there. Martin rode around the empty space in circles and that is how he got the hang of operating a motorbike. Needless to say, this was a happy day for Martin. In 2006, Martin went to London to study. When he got there, he realised that people used many different modes of transport “from a bicycle to roller skates to everything”, as he puts it. Still, Martin’s love was for motorcycles. 

In the UK, in order to ride a motorcycle, one must first do Compulsory Basic Training (CBT). There was a school just under his flat where he went to do his CBT which took a day. He was told that he had to ride with a learner’s license for two years on a motorcycle with an engine capacity not exceeding 125 cc. From there he would have to ride a 600 cc motorcycle before he could be tested on a bigger bike. Martin bought himself a 50 cc motorcycle. In his inexperienced eyes, his little 50 cc motorcycle resembled a superbike. When he reached home, his flat mate told him that he was trying to kill himself on a “moped”. Ultimately he discouraged Martin so much that Martin got rid of the bike. In 2012, back home in Botswana, Martin bought a 200 cc Conti Motorcycle. On his first day with the Conti, he could did not ride it; just listening to the engine noise made him happy. He wondered if he would ever find another motorcycle which sounded as good as his Conti. “I think I took two weeks to ride it,” he laughs. Martin has fond memories of the Conti. He says that the first time he joined other riders with the Conti, one rider expressed shock that he would show up with such a slow bike. The rider said “Monna, re tile go go sia (we are going to leave you behind)”. Martin did not understand what he was talking about. The group rode to Mochudi that day. Martin arrived long after the rest of the group because his bike was so much slower than the others. This was when he understood what the other rider had been trying to tell him. “I think I learned a lot from riding the Conti,” he says. “That’s why I don’t have a problem with riding a bigger bike”.

When he started riding a bigger bike, Martin noticed that some riders were very slow. He pointed this out to his friends. His friends told him that he used to be even slower than these riders on his Conti. His current bike is a Kawasaki ZZR 1200. He loves the fact that the ZZR is a sport tourer. He describes it as “comfortable” He also finds it easy to handle. Martin does all types of riding. He has done solo rides. He has also done breakfast runs with a group. “To build confidence, you need to ride in a group,” he says. Breakfast runs with more experienced riders helped him because the experienced riders gave him valuable advice. He has also attended biker rallies in South Africa. He says what he cherishes the most about attending rallies is “the love that you get for riding a bike”. He describes the brotherhood among bikers as “true love”. Martin is the Vice President of Botswana Braves Motorcycle Club. He says that he would like his next bike to be a Kawasaki ZX14-R. He feels that this bike would ‘challenge’ him. He says his dream bike is a customised Harley Davidson Fatboy. “They have the look,” he says. He says that he would like such bike “when he retires”.