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