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Friday, 17 July 2009

Riding Motorbike – Afterthought

You've never seen me like this before.

One of the few things mum would never let me try, apart from smoking and drug trafficking, is motorcycling.

Sadly, a motorbike is one of the coolest things a guy can have, apart from money, muscle and motorcar. I can’t really blame her, actually, seeing the way Malaysian drivers (both motorcar and motorbike) manoeuvre their vehicles. I’m quite surprised none of the F1 drivers are from Malaysia.

That, however, doesn’t mean that I have never ridden a motorbike before. I was the pillion rider a few times before. When I was in primary school, my tuition teacher used to fetch me home on his motorbike. When I was even younger, my cousin (uncle, actually) used to bring me around too, which would cause his mother to scream at the top of her lungs.

But after that, I don’t remember riding a motorbike anymore, until recently. I went to Setapak and my friend fetched me around on his bike, something I really dreaded – I would rather take the cab or even walk instead.

This is so wrong, I thought. I don’t know why I’m so afraid of riding a motorbike. Maybe my past life died on the road or something.

I struggled to put on the helmet – it was too small for my cartoonishly big head. I struggled to ride onto the passenger seat – it was too tall for my short and hairy legs. I struggled to squeeze my backpack and luggage between me and my friend. I felt strangely homosexual as I adjusted myself in my seat.

I didn’t enjoy the ride. The wind was blowing too hard on my face, stinging my eyes. The helmet was tight, making my head sweaty and itchy. The roads were loud and noisy, I could not even talk properly with my friend. The cars showed no respect to the motorcyclists. I began to worry about the weather. The exhaust gases from the bigger vehicles were hot and smelly. There was no A/C, no radio, no nothing.

What happens if my phone drops from my pocket? What happens if my shoelaces get caught in the wheels?

Luckily none of them happened.

As I tried to pry the helmet from my head after the journey, I had to agree that not everyone has the luxury of owning a car. Some resort to moving around on their feet, like me, while others opt for a motorcycle. The trouble is, Malaysian drivers tend to show off a lot. They never stop for pedestrians, even on zebra crossings. I was very surprised when a car in Singapore actually stopped at a zebra crossing for me to cross before I remembered that I wasn’t in Malaysia. The more matured drivers rev up their vehicles and overtake new probationary license drivers mercilessly. Motorcyclists are cursed regularly, just because they get to ‘cut queue’ in traffic lights.

Still, motorcycle comes with several advantages. Riding a motorcycle gives a wider view of the landscape. In fact, the only thing blocking my vision was the rider. There was also no need to look for a parking space – just stop the motor anywhere, even within vision. There was no pay for parking ticket, no need for toll, no worries for traffic jams, lower fuel consumption, just to name a few advantages.

Not enough to convince me to own a motorcycle, though.

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