Tales on Taiwanese Time: Adventures on Two-Wheels

Following my Thai debut on a two-wheeled vehicle, I was apprehensive about getting back on the proverbial horse. My first taste of Amasia occured last January when my boyfriend and I set sails for Asian seas, first stop: Thailand. Upon arrival there were so many new sights, smells (often uninvited), and experiences to enjoy. But transport, usually a mundane means of moving from place to place, became an adventure, a new and exhilarating experience. And motorbikes flooded the streets. Not only driven by locals, riden by entire families, accompanied by dogs, pigs, furniture, fruit, vegetables and the like.

I couldn’t wait to get hop on. However, in the midst of my excited anticipation I didn’t think through how I’d actually move this thing. ‘Fun’ and ‘challenge’ were the two words circulating in my narrow, unexplored-thoughts. So when drive time approached, I failed the challenge, and fun didn’t quite make the cut. I saw, day after day, confident, smooth riders, taking to the road, confidently approaching demon-death slide gradient hills. So I thought if Tom, Dick and Tom’s mum can ride one (insert appropriate Thai names), why can’t I? It can’t be that hard. Turns out it isn’t. But when you’re head is swarmed in blind confidence, you fail. Well I failed. On the serene island of Koh Lanta, off the main track, out of sight of people, but not the gravel that was unfortunately under foot, the wheels span in anger, my stomach turned with painful anxiety and the bike got a new paint job. A stripey one. And my leg too. A red stripey one…

IMG_0513

So after said incident I finally managed to take another stab at it, it took three months to find the courage. And it couldn’t have been done without the slow, patient coaching from Nick (my boyfriend at the time), but eventually, I progressed to a non-failing movement. Success! So I spent a whole, nervous day, perousing the streets on a moped, shaking the entire time, but managing to keep my knees stripe-free!

557723_10150996150326543_1315804874_n

Therefore pre-Taiwan I set myself the challenge: to enjoy a day riding a moped! No more scary malarey. I needed to have fun or I’d loose my motivation for this two-wheeled adventure ride!

After my long expedition down to the very tip of Taiwan, I spent an evening nibbling on the oodles of street food laid out for the benefit of non-locals such as myself, enjoying its tasty tourist-intended flavour, and lined my stomach for the day I was awaiting…

The morning came and I procrastinated a little. Tried to calm the butterflies and knots and swishing of last nights street food protesting against said adventure but I pushed through. I found a local lady nearby to my accommodation, stocked up on mopeds. Smiling through brittle nerves I paid the piper. After gaining some chinese courage, in the form of a sausage pancake, I hopped on!

SONY DSC

The worst part, the part I feared the most, was the initial start point. Not only is it the first time one has to maneuver the bike, but also the time when the bike owners eyes are blazing a hole in your back. The pressure is on. But success round 2! I pulled off and silently squealed with excitement as there was no falling from neither me, nor the vehicle. Then as the day progressed, and my journey became longer, I felt happy to say ‘challenge completed!’

SONY DSC SONY DSC

What are your thoughts on two-wheeled adventures? Tell me your stories!

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Tales on Taiwanese Time: Adventures on Two-Wheels

  1. Very eloquently written Laura, fitting for such an adventure! Your two wheeled story conjures up memories of many of my two wheeled escapades. As you may be aware I do like to ride my bicycle, and I do have several bicycle –related anecdotes, however since you are referring to the motorised bike I shall share a personal motor-bike story. This bizarre and somewhat embarrassing episode occurred whist on holiday in Corfu with my girlfriend, Rachel, back in August 2010. Having heard beautiful descriptions of a ‘Sunset Beach’ on the other side of the island, Rach and I decided to make a trip to said beach to immerse ourselves in the glow of the setting sun. On the planned day we made our way to a hire shop situated on the edge of a very busy dual carriageway letting out various motorbikes. The stereotypically Greek man in charge of the business asked to see my motorbike licence, which I did not have. Instead I gave him my driving license. He looked over it and said ‘this does not qualify you for motorbike, I am not insured to provide you with a bike’ I guessed this would be the outcome. However he then continued ‘you can test-drive a moped to prove you are capable, only then will I give you a bike’. I was somewhat surprised until I remembered we were on a Greek island, so naturally the rules are slightly relaxed. This was now a challenge. I had only driven a motorbike once before in England under the close supervision of an expert (one of my friends). So I naturally stepped up to the challenge, took the moped from the Man, strapped on my helmet and slowly edged towards the busy road. Cars and trucks flashed passed and I had to wait for what felt like ten minutes before there was a break in the traffic. Seeing an opening appear, I turned the accelerator and made my way, rather wobbly, across the road and continued for about 100 meters before turning back to the shop. Yes! I had done it! First time, no crash, no injury, and just a few wobbles… so I thought. The Greek Man looked horrified and shouted at me ‘get off the bike! You don’t know what you are doing! You will kill yourself or your girlfriend!’ So I was unable to hire a motorbike. No clear explanation was given. Perhaps it was because I was too wobbly or possibly it was because the Man had no insurance to cover me, I will never know. Not all was lost though; the Greek man offered me a quad bike for the day instead. I accepted and took Rach along the coastal road overlooking the Mediterranean Sea to the sunset beach. We had an awesome time in the end.

    1. Phil what an awesome story! Thanks for sharing. I wasn’t expecting that twist! I think you’d have some awesome tales to tell on a blog. Mr adventure! Hope you’re well! I miss you and Rach x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s