Learning to ride a motorcycle in SEA?

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by drifter, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. drifter

    drifter Well-Known Member

    The only time I really rode a bike was in the Bahamas. Rented a bike for a week and this was 25 years ago. It was a little 100-150cc job. I'd like to actually get some instruction in 'nam, Thailand or the Philippines before I start riding. Is this a possibility/good idea. I'm talking something better than a salesman walking me through the controls briefly, slapping me across the butt and wishing me luck. Lately I've watched some videos of traffic in Vietnam and, Holy Shit. I think I'll do my riding in the countryside.

    It seems to tick my major box, i.e. don't do anything too stupid that could get you dead. I'm at the best time of my life; retired young, healthy, and enough money. I don't want to screw things up now.

    Edit: Honda Motorcycles in the Philippines offers a basic course for PHP2000 or about $40 usd. And they offer more advanced courses too.

    What do you guys/girls think? I know a lot of you ride: @Skins , @wanderluster , @bobdobbs ... is this a good idea?
     
    Khanh likes this.
  2. bobdobbs

    bobdobbs El Bastardo Magnifico

    I don't know of any rider education in Vietnam, but I think it would be pretty useless. Once you start riding you figure it out pretty quickly. You're basically just riding a motorized bicycle. The speeds in Saigon tend to be 25 mph and less and you just stay with the pack and do what they do. It's not difficult. I know dudes who say they'll never ride here and I remind them, old ladies and teenage girls ride motorbikes here. No excuses. Get yourself an automatic scooter, 110 or 125 cc, and pretty soon you'll think nothing of it.

    If you're in the US, there is the MSF course that's very good. They give you some seat time and some tips on defensive riding. But they also spend a lot of time on laws and such. Not much of it applies in Vietnam (laws? What laws?). I guess the course in the Philippines couldn't hurt either.

    Anyway, if you know how to ride a bicycle, you've got about 75% of it down already. Take it slow, and do what other people do. Literally pick a person and follow them. Doesn't matter who they are, they likely have more experience than you. You'll be fine.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
    JohnnyB, Skins, dangnomad and 2 others like this.
  3. Skins

    Skins Head Nigga in Charge Staff Member

    Once you learn to ride like a local you will be fine. Be sure to ride for 3km with your left blinker on, then suddenly turn right without looking.
     
    wanderluster, JohnnyB and drifter like this.
  4. bobdobbs

    bobdobbs El Bastardo Magnifico

    Make sure you look back after turning. To maximize the stupidity.
     
    wanderluster, drifter and Skins like this.
  5. Skins

    Skins Head Nigga in Charge Staff Member

    And wear a big floppy hat under your helmet so you can't see anything on the side of you. And shout into your tiny cracked Nokia phone while you run red lights.
     
    Blackfyre, wanderluster and JohnnyB like this.
  6. bobdobbs

    bobdobbs El Bastardo Magnifico

    While driving on the sidewalk, or on the wrong side of the road, or the wrong way on a one-way street. With a helmetless baby, on a bike with tires balder and older than your grandfather. And if it's raining, drive faster because rain is poison or bad luck or something and you can't spend 5000 dong on a raincoat.
     
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  7. drifter

    drifter Well-Known Member

    You two are gonna get me killed over there.
     
    wanderluster likes this.
  8. wanderluster

    wanderluster Curry Bling Bling

    Nah brother. You'll do fine. You already know the riding part. You just have to get used to the traffic, which you will in less than 2 days. Just go with the traffic. Be cautious. That's it. My country is the same. Especially my hometown. The best part is, the speed is so slow inside the town that even if you bump into something, most probably you'll just get some scratches. Nothing life threatening.
     
    drifter likes this.
  9. drifter

    drifter Well-Known Member

    Thanks buddy. Nice to have one poster who's not trying to get me killed over there. And I thought the Vietnamese hookers were my biggest danger. I'm probably safer rawdogging them than in traffic on a motorcycle.
     
    wanderluster likes this.
  10. bobdobbs

    bobdobbs El Bastardo Magnifico

    No, man. Don't rawdog hookers. Do ride a motorbike. Today I spent probably 4 or 5 hours running around town on my bike and it was completely uneventful. The worst part about it is the sunburn on the back of my neck.
     
    drifter likes this.
  11. the lockmaster

    the lockmaster Well-Known Member

    when you first arrive to town, take some motor-taxis from Grab, or Uber. Pay attention to how they drive. Learn the major streets and how to get to some places. Watch and listen to how they use their horn to signal others. Using the horn is a big one. In America, you only blow the horn when someone cuts in front of you. In Vietnam, the horn is like a locater beacon. It lets others around you know that you are there and you're coming through. Kinda like how bats use sonar to fly around in the dark and not hit each other.
     
    wanderluster and drifter like this.
  12. drifter

    drifter Well-Known Member

    Thanks all. Especially @wanderluster and @the lockmaster for not telling me how to get killed out there.

    Any advice on getting a bike and riding in Thailand? I'm in Pattaya for now. An expat told me to go to Koh Lan. He said the traffic there was a lot better. And cops didn't hassle riders. That's important since I don't have a Thai license yet. I've spent thousands of hours on a bicycle but my one motorbike experience was over 20 years ago. I'll probably rent at first.
     
    wanderluster likes this.
  13. bkkyolo

    bkkyolo Well-Known Member

    Ko Larn is tiny, maybe 10 mn bike to go from the two furthest points. You can rent old tired Clicks for 200/day. There's no traffic so I guess you can feel safe if you ride here for the first time. If you don't do any sh** cops won't hassle you, if you do, fines are 500 and bribes 200. Do not DUI, that's the thing that can get you in trouble (24-48hours locked up and before court, then 6000+ fine). Whatever licence you have is fine, you don't really need a Thai one.
     
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  14. wanderluster

    wanderluster Curry Bling Bling

    Agreed 100%. Koh Larn does not have any traffic. You can rent a room there and practice your riding skills for a few days. They'll ask for your passport or 1000 baht deposit for renting a motorbike there. It's a small island and you can ride from beach to beach in 10 mins max. The thing is, sooner or later, you have to ride in traffic. This is where things become interesting. Operating a bike is easy, riding in traffic is a different ball game altogether. I've never had any issues with cops while riding in LOS.
     
    Skins likes this.
  15. drifter

    drifter Well-Known Member

    But I gather they're starting to crack down on the license. And the irritating part is they're supposed to accept an international license but half the time don't cause TIT (This Is Thailand). So I'll probably get a Thai license once I get a retirement visa and an apartment. Ah well, nothing like an unnecessary bureaucracy, and unevenly applied laws, and a farang tax on top of it all.
     
    Skins likes this.
  16. Skins

    Skins Head Nigga in Charge Staff Member

    There are some quiet areas outside of Pattaya where you can try it out. Just rent an auto so you don't have to fool with gears. If you're more comfortable renting off of one of "us," I rented a bike off an Irish guy in the parking lot of Nirun Condos Soi Arunathai.
     
  17. Soni79

    Soni79 Member

    Bah that blows. I'm planning on renting a small scooter in phuket and really don't want to be pulled over and paying bribes. On the plus side I'm brown so maybe I'll just throw on some sunglasses and try to blend in on the road.
     
    drifter likes this.
  18. Skins

    Skins Head Nigga in Charge Staff Member

    Just wear your helmet, obey the laws and you will be fine. I've never had a problem in Thailand besides the one time they got me when I wasn't wearing my helmet.
     
    drifter likes this.
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