The emergence of motorcycle taxis as a mode of urban transport in Africa can be seen as a bottom-up response to the larger problem of a demand that is not sufficiently met by public services. Transcending the debates regarding the relevance of this solution, this article explores motorcycle taxis as substitute for urban transport in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The study aims to improve the understanding of how drivers run their activity and to identify its impacts on the city using a mixed-methods approach. We combined the data from a three-week GPS motorcycle taxis route survey with semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and direct observation. This approach, which in itself is innovative for the study of informal transport in Africa, is an important methodological contribution. The analysis of the data collected highlights small radii of action and high inactivity rates, and helps shed light on how this mode has led to an increased demand for short trips in more diffuse urban forms. We point to the need for holistic thinking in order to better integrate motorcycle taxis into urban transportation planning policies in Yaoundé as well as other major cities in the region.