Basics – how to ride a scooter for the first time
Have you been to Thailand? Well, here is a complete guide on how to enjoy your time around on a scooter. Do not be discouraged by several blogs which advise against riding a scooter in Thailand. There are several scooter shops and renting one is quite easy and affordable. The Happy Days Shop in Chiang Mai is among the top-rated rental services in Thailand.
This beginner’s guide concentrates on advising riders on the basics concerning scooters. It is important for both those with and without experience. It widely covers numerous aspects, even those you have never known before. So, all riders please stick around!
Before 2010, I had never been on any motorized bike before. The only ones that I had experience with were ordinary bicycles and skateboards. There is one common thing in scooters, bicycles, skateboards and other rides with two wheels or less, you need some pretty good balance. Today, I can ride my Honda Click 125 cc in comfort. One has to master the road types and other safety measures for successful riding adventures. In this way, you will enjoy riding a scooter around Chiang Mai or any part of Thailand and the world over.
Starting your first riding expedition
When you are just beginning, remember to choose a fairly good terrain without any rugged areas. Avoid small spaces with numerous obstructions such as buildings, fences, traffic, trees and rocks. Choose a fairly flat ground. You may have somebody who is well conversant with scooters to accompany you on your very first journey, but remember, you have to learn. Do not get embarrassed, try it until you get it right.
Be comfortable with the bike’s weight in order to allow stability and proper balancing. Avoid picking a very heavy one for the start. Once you are good with the weight, steering will not be a big problem. Scooters may not be as light as they may appear when just looking at them. This article will assist you to avoid getting it wrong. It will guide you on turning and steering. Note that it is equally important to deal with fear before you start driving. Do not fear that you may hit a wall or fall down before you actually embark on your initial trial. When you are unable to do it right the first time, do not get frustrated, and give it a subsequent trial. Experience is truly the best teacher! Your body size is not a big issue. You will see a number of smaller ladies riding comfortably around the streets of Chiang Mai, so why not yourself?
How to ride a scooter – general steps
This part summarize a few steps that you will follow when starting your first ride.
1) With a lot of confidence, get onto the scooter. Try balancing the scooter by placing both legs on the ground that is if you are tall enough. You do not have to be so tall, scooters are fairly fit for average human height. For shorter people, let your foot rest flat on the ground while the other steps on the scooter. Wear your helmet and take a good grip of both the handlebars.
2) Switch the scooter on using the key.
3) After step 2, hold onto the brake/clutch and press the starter button to ignite the scooter engine.
4) You are advised to give it some gas if the engine stalls.
5) On the right handlebar, rotate yo ur hand frontwards by steadily turning it to accelerate. Do this in a gradual manner and progressively without any sudden pushes.
6) Like any ordinary bicycle, try to balance the scooter using your body weight.
7) When turning, focus your head into the right direction while leaning your body a bit, just a bit, into the same direction while slowly turning the handlebars too.
8) When braking, avoid using the front brakes suddenly in high speeds because you will flip over. You are only advised to use the front brakes for slow breaking where you gradually hold them in a continuous slow motion. Most of the times, use the back brakes to brake. At times, people may use both breaks in cases of emergency but ensure you do not skid to the ground. Unnecessary and irresponsible breaking is not advisable as it wears out the tyres and brake pads.
9) Finally, in cases of looming dangers that may lead to a crash, it is advisable that you let go of the scooter and secure your body first if you are unable to gain back control. Your body is more precious than the scooter. Save your body first before saving the scooter.
Riding a Honda Click 125cc
This bike is a straightforward automatic transmission scooter that appears extremely sharp and aggressive. It surely has a wonderful design. Just to highlight a few features, the Click has a futuristic-looking LCD meter panel, aggressive tail-lights, and duo-LED headlights for a brighter illumination, tubeless tyres and a spacious compartment beneath the seat to keep a helmet. This compartment is modern and stylish with a dedicated button to open it.
The bike can be a good choice for beginners as it is quick to manoeuvre and very comfortable. From my experience, this bike feels lighter than a number of 125cc scooters. The engine ignites smoothly and emits lesser noise. It has a proper Combined Brake System which is very responsive when pressed making it actually perfect for learners. The idling stop system is another admirable aspect of this Honda bike. The kickstand feature will be important as it automatically switches off the engine when you employ its usage.
On the downside, the LCD panel may not be very legible for learners or ordinary riders when there is too much direct sunlight. For those with sweaty hands, the bike’s grip may not be too firm. This can however be remedied through wearing fingerless gloves or using an alternative scooter with a better grip for beginners.
Watch and gain experience!
Having someone give you a ride on the back of the scooter as you watch every step expected of you is a good way to go. There are many professionals in this area to assist you do that such as bike taxi drivers who can take you on short rides around the streets. The taxi drivers are good at it, you can learn so much just through observing how they operate the bike and ask any relevant questions. You can also get hold of a professional instructor who will explain all these basics to the finest details and show you how it is done around Thailand.
Watch how to maneuver through traffic, avoiding large vehicles and buses as well obeying traffic signals. You can also learn how to park.
Tips and precautions
1) Put on a good jacket that is breathable and waterproof. This ensures your comfort and safety when it rains. Do not be like those I witnessed riding around with umbrellas. It is really funny to do that. Riding in the rain without a good jacket is not a very good experience, you never want to be a victim of that. Jackets also guard against the wind.
2) You can use fingerless gloves for scooter riding. They act as protective wear and also provide a good grip of the handlebars. When it rains or if you sweat, you can still ride comfortably. Remember to pick a good size that will actually fit you well.
3) Secure a quality helmet with a transparent face shield. Most rental shops will offer you a variety to choose from, however, you can always get your own that you feel comfortable in. If possible, invest in a good full-face helmet with a clear visor. The helmet must be transparent enough to allow clear vision even at night or when it rains.
4) Use a decent pair of sneakers while riding. It is not a very good idea for a beginner to start riding on bare foot and in a pair of shorts. The feet are important for balancing especially when negotiating very tight corners. For those already with some experience, you really need the sneakers for balancing when carrying a passenger such as your partner.
5) Wear long pants when riding. This is important as beginners may lose control when they are not yet used to the scooter weight. This guards against serious bruises in case you fall down along with the scooter. However, the pants have to be breathable to aid your own comfort.
Avoid any injuries by wearing appropriate gear while driving. Always remember to wear your helmet first. There are other special protective gears for your knees, hands and other sensitive areas. Avoid riding while intoxicated! You surely do not want to get involved in a bad accident. Keep safe. Observe all the precautions and take care while having fun riding.
Enjoy your riding! Best regards, Happy Days Shop.