Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Art of Thai Motor Cycling

There are motor cycles everywhere in Thailand - from little mopeds to big Harleys. And everybody rides them.  Here are my observations on the art of motor cycling in Thailand.

1.  The little basket in front of the handlebars is for your crash helmet. If you have a helmet, do not wear it but display it proudly in the little basket.

2.  All the lanes on the road are available to you, regardless of the direction in which you are traveling.  The side walks are available to you. The inside of shops are available to you. You are allowed to tak special pleasure in whizzing up the very, very inside lane, close to "farangs" and scaring them to death. If the "farang" is walking on the sidewalk, then you may also use the same sidewalk for the express purpose of scaring the shit out of the "farang".

3.  Thais are made small enough so that three or four can easily fit on the same motor cycle at the same time.  This is to ease traffic congestion.  This would not work in America because the American butt is just too damn big.  The answer is smaller butts for America not bigger motor cycles.

4.  The space between the front of the seat and the handlebars is for very small children.  This is perfectly safe;  you can even install a special seat there.  Dogs may also ride in this space, although dogs prefer to sit on the flat platform of a sidecar so they can bark very loudly at the people next to them in traffic.  The preferred order from the front is therefore small child, driver, spouse, granny, larger child, dog.  Small dogs, up to labrador size, may also ride in the little basket if there is no helmet being carried.

5.  If no passengers are being carried, then the space on the seat behind the driver is for extremely large and heavy objects, such as propane gas cylinders, concrete construction blocks and very long steel poles.  They may be secured by a single, fragile, nylon bungee - preferably fraying at the end.  The cargo being carried should be large enough so that it will certainly kill an innocent pedestrian when it rolls off the seat.

6. You may park your motor cycle anywhere;  in shopping malls, the second floor is preferable – use the escalator for easy access.  In Boots the Chemist, park your motor cycle between Ladies intimate items and the cough sweets.

7.  When giving a ride to a "farang", never allow your speed to drop below 50 kph regardless of traffic conditions.  The relationship between "farang" passenger to Thai driver must never be less than 3:1.

8.  The appropriate rain protection for a driver of a motor cycle is a passenger holding an umbrella over the driver's head – preferably low enough so that the driver cannot see where they are going.  There is no reason to reduce speed when an open umbrella is being used.

9.  Texting when driving is permitted as long as the smart phone is held in the braking hand, not the throttle hand.  In this way, the driver can always accelerate out of a tight spot instead of braking.

10.  The appropriate clothing for a Thai teenage girl riding her motor cycle is platform shoes of at least four inches; the shortest skirt in the wardrobe; helmet in the basket; smart phone in the braking hand; and lastly, a similarly attired female passenger in case of inclement weather.  Toy dog goes in the basket if there is no helmet.

11.  Eating while motor cycling is perfectly acceptable for both driver and passenger.  That is why there are so many road side stalls selling food.  This may also explain why Thais use a fork and spoon and not chopsticks.

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