Claire ElsdonFounder Pikilily
Women keep Africa’s motors running
‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’
It was this Mark Twain quote that made Claire Elsdon decide to quit her job as a stockbroker in the City and do what she had always dreamt of: a solo motorcycle trip from London to Cape Town. Her grandmother, telling her that she regretted not having been braver to do the things she had wanted to do in live, gave her the final push.
During her trip in 2012/2013 Elsdon observed how educating riders about motorcycle maintenance could help local communities, keep vital projects running, and potentially save lives.
In 2015 Elsdon returned to Africa to share her maintenance skills with different groups including motorcycling microloan officers in Malawi and midwives in Songea, Southern Tanzania. She saw the real difference this can make, not only to the running costs of fleets, but in turn also the longevity and success of vital community projects.
In April 2016 Elsdon moved to Tanzania to set up Pikilily, Africa's first women's motorcycle maintenance workshop.
Apart from preventing motorcycle crashes, motorcycle maintenance skills enable midwives to drive out to remote areas for childbirth assistance. Pikilily also gets motorcycle ambulances riding again that are vital in a country where over 24 women die in pregnancy and labour every day through preventable causes.