Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Riding

It's one thing to ride a scooter in crazy traffic, but it's a total different thing to ride in the back of someone's scooter. And if you don't know how to handle it, it's easy to get all freaked out. (I know this firsthand.)

First rule: no moving around to see what's going on out there. That means no wagging your head to look at the view on either side as buildings and trees pass by. The weight of your head (plus oh-so-sexy helmet) will wobble to and fro when you do, and you'll ruin the driver's with your unpredictable (to him/her) motions. And you'll notice that your driver (whose hands you've placed the safety of your life in) will be trying to frantically recover balance in a hurry. This also includes the rule that you, as the passive rider in the back, should not be shaking around or trying to catch your balance frantically, because you and your driver will end up over-compensating, and then you may as well run the scooter into a wall to get it over with.

None of that. Instead, you need to find that happy place in your mind, and calm yourself. Trust your driver; it's not like you can control the vehicle from that backseat anyway if you wanted to. Stay tranquil. Be zen-like and unaffected by your surroundings.

Heck, sometimes I just have to sit there straight behind my brother and stare that the back of his helmet, doing nothing, looking at nothing in particular. A few times, there was a van or car that we narrowly missed, and I was really glad I didn't see until after we passed it. My brother obviously saw them and took appropriate action. Had I seen it earlier, I would have freaked out and ironically would have caused an accident by trying to prevent it.

Once you've graduated from the inner peace of riding the backseat, you might train yourself to become not just cargo, but actually an assistive existence on that scooter. I managed to predict most of the scooter's next motions, and helped by leaning into the turn ever-so-slightly. A tiny pre-emptive move like that can go a long way to helping, just as moving a sliver in the wrong way can really mess stuff up. Of course, this means you need to be somewhat telepathic of your driver's tendencies. Fortunately, my brother's driving style is much like my own, and I assume that my scooter riding style (when that day comes) will mirror his closely.

So far so good, no accidents. I'll be a speedy little scooter boy myself in no time!


head dump said...

You might want to keep your eyes on your legs. Yah, both of them. You see, his legs are nicely tucked in front of him while yours are dangling on the bulky sides of a scooter. If you're riding in a very crowded street or if your brother feels skilled enough to navigate his way through those night markets you're bound to get nicked by something.. another motorist, squished between the bike and another car, ankles getting chased by those wild street dogs (true story). Don't lose a leg.

Van said...

have you ever ridden on the back of a motorcyle? now that is scary ass shit. I said go slow but the driver thought it'd be fun to go scare the crap out of me by speeding. I screamed bloody the murder the whole way but with helmet on and the noise of the wind blowing past, he didn't hear a thing.

Nk said...

Yeah, riding on the back of the scooter, my brother cut it a little close and my right foot caught on a parked car's bumper. Even at low speeds: OW.

What, and no mention of a second person SQUASHING my poor little scooter?? I think the suspension's shot now: it just doesn't have the same bounce.... :P

Ben said...

HD, yeah, I try to keep my legs in as much as possible. I even reminded him that, "Uh ... don't forget that my knees and legs are wider than yours."

N, your poor little 100cc wasn't designed to hold our 250lb combined weight. I wonder how many horsepower those things have anyway. They never seem to tell you the power; just the size of the engine.

Anonymous said...

When I'm on the back of the scooter, I simply close my eyes, hang on tight, and lay my big helmeted head on the driver's shoulder. I don't have the stomach to watch our path. Good luck on learning how to drive! I can walk faster than the way I drive a scooter. - KT

Kevin said...

The fact of the matter is... I kick ass on the scooter. :P

Actually, I was on someone else's 14 year-old 100cc scooter, and she was zipping along with my head over her shoulder with no problems! I think it comes with experience.