It can be challenging to adjust to life in many Asian countries because of how you have to learn the ways of the local traffic. Driving on the left-hand side of the road, being ready for cars and bikes to surprisingly overtake you from either side, and also learning how to ride a scooter are just some of the challenges you have to face to safely traverse through traffic in most Asian cities and countryside.
But before moving on to our tips on riding in Asia, we should first look at the reminders for those that have never tried riding a scooter or motorbike:
Before anything else, try learning in a place with no traffic. It could be a parking lot, a small back road, or even a football field.
Don’t forget to wear a helmet
Master the art of moving slow. It is easier to ride fast. But to learn how to move slowly while holding your balance is how you make riding in traffic enjoyable.
Opt for smaller and lighter bikes rather than the vintage and cooler looking ones with big engines. Scooters are easier, safer, and more petrol-efficient to use when compared to their bigger counterparts. The most suitable engine size in Asia for first-timers is a 110cc motorbike. However, you should also make sure that the bike you rent or buy is fairly new and is still in good condition with all materials and equipment still in top shape.
Jumping off and letting the bike fall is the best way to escape from disaster in case you ever lose control of your bike when moving slowly. Trying to protect the bike will only lead to injuries. Remember that it is more important to protect yourself.
As the exhaust pipe tends to get extremely hot after riding, it is a common mistake for the rider or someone sitting behind him to burn their calf. Avoid touching the exhaust pipe at any situation as it may lead to painful and serious burns that may actually result in a trip to the nearest hospital.
Ask for help from a friend or a local who knows how to ride a bike and ask them to teach you how to use the controls. Automatic bikes are the easiest to learn to ride on. And if you already know how to ride a bicycle, it is better to try riding a scooter on your first try.
As asphalt rash can be very annoying and may cause infection, it is recommended that you wear long clothing while learning how to ride a bike. It's better to wear long sleeved shirts, proper shoes, and jeans that provide good protection.
If possible, you should avoid riding your first try during rush hour.
Try to stay on paved roads you already know as driving on gravel and sand can be more difficult. Because you can easily lose grip when trying to break, it is recommended that you should stay off those roads until you already know how to ride a bike properly.
1st time riding on an automatic scooter:
The moment you hop on the scooter, you should sit down with both your feet touching the ground especially if you're tall. If you are a little bit shorter, try to learn how to keep your balance by leaning on one foot.
Use your left foot to kick the up the kick-stand.
Put the key in and set it to "ON" position.
Hold both brake levers with your left and right hands and then press the starter button to ignite the engine. As with most bikes, you also need to give it a little gas by turning the gas handle with your right palm. Give it just enough gas to start the engine running.
Once you are ready to move, release the brakes and accelerate the bike by turning the gas handle as slow as possible. When you notice some torque building up, your bike would soon start moving. You need to pick your foot off the ground and place them firmly on the foot platform when the bike picks up momentum.
Turing the scooter is as easy as it is with a bicycle. You just simply have to lean on either side as the handlebar will turn almost automatically. However, there is a difference depending on how fast you are going. When going extra slow, you need to use your hands more. Meanwhile, you merely only have to lean on either side when riding fast.
Learning how to stop confidently is just as important as any other skill. Using the front brake, which is usually on the right-hand side, is the best way to brake. When you use the right brake, the combined weight of you and the bike will move to the front wheel. However, using both brakes is still the fastest and the safest way to stop. To do so, hold a few of your fingers on both brake levers at all times to make sure you can brake as fast and as safe as possible. Using the front brake when there is sand on the road may cause you to slide and fall off the bike. Instead, brake slowly by using the back brake and then continue to ride at a slower speed.
And since you already know how to control the bike, you are now ready and confident enough to join others in traffic. But always remember to never be in a hurry. Simply start slowly at first as your confidence will build up after every ride.
At bkkscoot, we rent out safe, affordable scooters for your trip in Bangkok - get in touch today!