I’m deathly afraid of motorcycles (and scooters).
So much so that I’ve never actually driven one.
Sure, I’ve ridden on the back of a few scooters when there wasn’t a taxi or trike around, but that’s not quite the same as driving one yourself.
It’s a justified fear, I think – I’ve had a family member severely handicapped on a scooter, a friend in the Navy paralyzed when he crashed his motorcycle, and another friend with a serious infection from laying down her scooter in Bali.
In fact, it’s pretty difficult to find someone who’s been riding for a few years that hasn’t been in some sort of accident on a two-wheeled death trap.
I Gotta Get Over This – Especially In SEAsia
It hasn’t been so much of an issue in Davao City, Philippines. Taxis are readily available (It’s rare to wait more than 5-10 minutes) and getting everywhere you need to go is hardly an issue.
But there ARE places where that’s not the case. (Chiang Mai, Saigon, Bali, etc.) Finding a taxi can be much more difficult and if you live in a more remote location, nearly impossible.
Even where taxis are available, I feel like we’ll miss out on a ton of opportunities to explore if we don’t have our own transportation.
What We’re Doing About It
We bought a scooter!
A 2012 115cc automatic Yamaha Mio Amore With 19Km cost @ 39K Php from AyosDito.ph. (Around $890 USD)
It seems a bit silly buying a scooter when we’re planning to leave in September, but it’s hard to find automatic scooters to rent in Davao and (if we don’t wreck it) I should be able to sell it for pretty close to the same price in a few months.
This might be a better option than renting, honestly.
We’re feeling a little ridiculous with the full faceshield helmets, but might as well be careful, right?
Cruising Around The Neighborhood
Until comfortable, I figure it’s better to cruise around the neighborhood where there are much fewer cars, potholes, and other obstacles.
I’m quickly realizing I suck at this more than I thought I would.
Slow speed turns, taking turns too wide, putting my feet down when I should – all things I’m donking my way through these first couple of days.
While I still haven’t left the neighborhood, I’m feeling a bit more confident a few days in and I wanted to share a few resources I found online that helped me learn things like countersteering, avoiding wide turns, etc.
Additional (Helpful) Resources
Luckily there are a TON of resources out there for newbies like me. I’m about as far from an expert on this as I could get, but I have found these pretty helpful in making me comfortable as a noob scooter rider:
How To Countersteer:
Here’s an interesting video on the physics behind countersteering.
How To Ride A Scooter For The First Time
If you’re looking to buy/sell a scooter in Chiang Mai, check out this Facebook page. If you’re in the Philippines, check out AyosDito.ph that I mentioned before.
So – are you a pro on motorcycles and scooters or would you never be caught on one of these things?
Daniel Christian says
Love it man. One thing about it, I am sure you got one without gears. You probably remember I bought one which I thought looked totally awesome, but being a complete motorcycle newbie and not really having anyone to teach me, I kind of let it sit and sold it 6 months later only having ridden it once.
I think a scooter sounds awesome. Good job guys. 🙂
I do remember that, hehe. We went with a small scooter that’s automatic – much easier! I didn’t want to have to bother with learning how to shift gears at the same time and there’s something about a scooter that reminds you to go a bit slower, I think! 🙂
Still pretty freaky, but I think I’m getting better.
Paul Kortman says
Yeah, it still concerns me that we put our kids on scooters to get around Bali and Thailand. And yet we’re about to do it again in Phuket. Yes we each have laid down a bike with kids on it.
Generally speaking those we’re mistakes we made though. (I rushed Becky, and I accelerated on gravel while turning).
But it depends on where you live and what you want to see. If you live in the city in CM you’ll have access to tuk tuks and songthous, and taxis. However if you live outside the city … Good luck. (We lived just outside the outer ring)
Bali, every vehicle is a taxi. So with patience you could get by. But I’m telling you I saw more car issues/wrecks than I did bikes in the week we were there.
Long story short. You’re doing the right thing (practice) and there is risk. But shoot everything has risk. So choose the risks you are comfortable with.
Yeah – I heard most scooter accidents come down to driver error. I’m still so new/uncomfortable on one that I can’t IMAGINE having a kid with me! I’d say I’d go at walking speeds, but I’ve noticed that going slower is actually more difficult – it seems so much easier at 20 or 30+ kph.
Definitely going to take it easy until I’m more comfortable.
Don Reid says
Fear of riding motorcycles is quite rational and something I hope you retain for your own safety.
As you have decided to go ahead with your riding plan, I wish you the best and many great adventures.
At the same time I strongly urge you to invest in some comprehensive medical insurance to ensure if an accident does happen you are well taken care of and not left with astronomical debts
Sorry to bring up such a downer of a subject, it’s something many people later regret not having.
I really, really hear what you’re saying. I definitely don’t want to get hurt, get in an accident, etc. I’m going to have to get an international driver’s license if I want my insurance to cover me, I believe. Something I should really do, probably.
I’m not convinced this will be my method of transportation long-term, but it is something I want to feel a bit more comfortable with.
Thanks for sharing, man.
Dana Lindahl says
How is the riding/learning coming along? Inten has a Mio as well – funny you guys got one too as it’s the smallest option available. When I get on it, people always start to make “bear on a bicycle” jokes.
As an FYI though, as you already know, you need an international license for your insurance to cover you if there’s an accident. This license usually needs to be obtained in the US, and if you don’t have a license to drive a motorcycle in the US, your international license will only legally allow you to drive a car internationally, meaning your insurance won’t help out.
Depending on the location, you can get local licenses which should cover for your insurance, but they usually don’t last so long (in Bali you need to renew once a month). As for me, I don’t have insurance anyways, so I just have a fake international license which I can show to cops.
Have fun, and once you get the hang of it, I’ll show you how to do a wheelie – passengers hate it (especially girls) which makes it even more fun! Just not in traffic….
It’s coming along – I’m actually feeling much more comfortable now. I’ve been out around town a bit and I’m starting to explore a bit further from home.
I’ve taken it really slow/easy, though – both because Aiza’s worried and also because I want to make sure I’m comfortable and don’t do anything too stupid/risky.
I’ve been looking into insurance from Integra Global, actually – I’ll ask them whether I’m covered on a scooter or not and see what I’d have to do to make sure I’m covered.
About those wheelies… 🙁