Home Business Motoring with Bob Roco ROMEO: Changing the game …The story of Gear Shift...

Motoring with Bob Roco ROMEO: Changing the game …The story of Gear Shift Academy

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Ebow Essandoh and Daniel Ashrifie

By Eddie Poku

In 2002, my pal Jerome Tabiri and I, eager young minds at the time, participated in the Ghana New Ventures Competition (GNVC), a business plan and mentorship competition. Full of ambition, we pitched two business ideas: a community ISP and a motorcycle training school. Despite our passion, the competition didn’t crown us winners, and our motorcycle school idea was parked before it could hit the road.

I had been riding since 1998, and after a harrowing first accident, it became clear that staying safe on two wheels required more than just instinct—it needed skill and proper training. This early experience planted a seed, it would take years and other hands to see it alive.

Fast forward to 2019, I was really excited to hear of Gear Shift Academy. Gear Shift Academy was founded by Daniel Ashrifie and Ebow Essandoh, two friends who also shared decades of riding experience. The academy emerged in response to the glaring safety lapses and illegalities rampant in the local motorcycling scene. Their mission was clear and needed: correct these wrongs and equip new riders with the skills to start right.

From its early days, Gear Shift Academy has been more than a training center; it’s a movement. With a robust curriculum that has already trained over 500 motorcyclists, about half of whom are actively riding today, the academy not only teaches how to operate a motorcycle safely but also instills a lifelong respect for the road.

Instructor and tutee at Gear Shift Academy training circuit.

The spirit of adventure and advocacy doesn’t stop at training. Daniel since 2021 also organizes yearly motorcycle tours called AIS – Around In Seven, which takes participants through all regions of Ghana. These seven-day tours blend riding with charity and advocacy, offering unique perspectives and benefits to both the motorcyclists and the host townships and villages they visit. This initiative perfectly complements the Academy’s ethos by spreading the critical message of safety and community engagement far beyond the classroom.

However, the road has not been without bumps. Funding for motorcycle safety advocacy, securing a dedicated training venue, and broadening the motorcycling community’s understanding of proper gear are all formidable challenges that the academy faces.

Despite these hurdles, Gear Shift Academy has made significant inroads. The “Look Twice for Motorcycles” safety campaign is a prime example. Also launched in 2021, this initiative underscores the importance of driver awareness, especially in spotting motorcycles—a critical aspect given their smaller size and vulnerability on the road.

Look Twice Campaign

Daniel’s mantra, “GIVE YOURSELF THE BEST SURVIVING CHANCE,” encapsulates the academy’s ethos and is a constant reminder of the stakes involved. Their slogan, “Changing The Way We Ride,” isn’t just a catchy phrase—it’s a promise, a commitment to every rider who chooses to learn with them.

As we look to the future, Gear Shift Academy continues to champion the cause of motorcycle safety. Whether through expanding their training facilities or advocating for better safety laws, their journey is far from over. For Daniel, Ebow, and every rider they’ve trained, it’s about making every ride safer than the last.

In the bustling traffic of Accra and beyond, the spirit of Gear Shift Academy thrives, fuelling a safer path for all who dare to ride. And for those of us who have seen it grow from an idea in a competition to a pillar of the community, it’s a vivid reminder that with enough passion and perseverance, even the loftiest dreams can become reality.

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