Scooters, A Love Hate Relationship


It’s the fountain of youth! Nope, it’s not the graal, but a fountain in a park called Le Pigeonnier, in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Taken on the 22nd of June 2006 with a Sony Cybershot DSC-P93 5.1 MP camera. Part of The Hacker Series. 

After having two accidents within the first week of getting our old 1996 Sym Duke Sport scooter, I kind of didn’t enjoy it as much, especially when we had to get sutures for my wife’s leg. I was a bit scratched up and very weary of scootering. But since I was tutoring right left and all over the place, and we had to get to school, there wasn’t really a choice. So I diligently continued scootering every day. Most of the time, I scooter at night.

Scooter drivers in Taiwan are just plain crazy. There is a logic behind the whole thing in the end, it is to get to their destination as fast as possible any way possible. They will drive on the wrong way of the road, into the wrong lane, drive everywhere but where they are supposed to. The most crazy thing is that the slowest drivers are the most reckless.

But since I have been driving by myself a few days a week, I have been slowly getting into the groove of scootering. I love driving on empty streets, where I can drive up to 80 KPH, and not worry about cars or other scooters. I love the directional vectors of the scooters, how they sway from one side to the other seemlessly, how they maneuver so much better than cars, and how on most roads, you are so much faster with a 125cc engine than the cars. I love crouching down and hidding the accelerator and being first off the stoplight. I love the wind blowing so much that my coat start to flap and becomes quite noisy.

Empty streets at night are the best, you do not worry about crazy car drivers or crazy scooter drivers. I go into the mountains a bit twice a week to tutor and now the ride that took me more than 20 minutes in the beginning, barely takes me 10, and it’s not because I am speeding. It’s just because I have become a lot more comfortable with the thing. And I am sure it shows when I drive.

What I do not like is driving with my wife on the scooter. It is a lot less safer, because I do not control her balance and she doesn’t yet follow my balance when we are maneuvering into corners, I feel like I have to always overcompensate. I hate how reckless some drivers are, it’s just crazy. I hate how people do not wear helmets and don’t seem to worry about using protective gear, like thick jackets and gloves. Or whole families of 5 with their dogs on the scooter. Or the babies squished in between mothers and fathers, not wearing helmets.  

I hate the brakes on our scooter, they aren’t good enough and I hate the shocks, they need to be replaced.

All in all, I think that driving a scooter is an excellent introduction into motorcycle driving. Most of the skills needed for motorbiking, you will learn when driving a scooter. The only thing that you do not have is the gear changes and the power. Whatever we do next year, like my projects of getting a real motorcycle and upgrading our scooter, I am glad to have been able to feel this way on a vehicle.

One thing though, I will not be importing a bike from America. It’s not feasible. There is a 25% surcharge and more taxes on it. Mostly, the bikes will cost more than if you buy them here. I have seen a few bikes for 150000NTD and I will probably get one of those before I get my dream Ducatis or BMW RS1200 Adventure bikes.

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Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

6 thoughts on “Scooters, A Love Hate Relationship”

  1. Salut a toi! No, it doesn’t make sense to import big bikes any more. Here is a post on forumosa deealing with this…

    You may want to reconsider your Ducati dream, as Taiwan is not exactly the best terrain for that hot machine. The GS is great, though. If I had the cash to do it all over, I would probably get a KTM, or something. Actually, my z750 is pretty suited for me and the commuting I have to do. The stock front shocks are left wanting, but i have something up my sleeve to deal with that. If you want to check out a forum for big bike riders in Taiwan (Chinese and English) surf to (English Corner).

    Martin is doing a lot better, thanks.
    I like your photos, btw. Happy New Year!
    If you want to laugh at something from home, check out

  2. Salut mec!

    Yeah, I have completely decided not to import any bikes and live with the fact that probably buying a bike here would be the best option. I might check into getting a slightly used one, thought they are still quite expensive.

    The GS is great but a little expensive. For that cash, we could buy a new car! I’ll check KTM out, I want something a little more powerful than 400 cc.

  3. I gather from reading your other posts on biking, that you don’t have any riding experience except for your scooter riding. ALthough this is helpful, I am uncertain to what degree. I have been riding a scooter in Asia for about 15 years(the latest one a souped up Majesty whith a 200 cc engine). When I made the switch, I found that my scooter experience didn’t do much for learning how to handle the bike. It’s a whole different ball game. You may want to read the Bible of biking, Twist of the Wrist ( starters. Many things about handling these babies is counter-intuitive. Also, in Taiwan they don’t have a good safety and driving course, which is essential for big displacement bikes. For your level of experience, (if I’m wrong about this then put bamboo strips up my nails)a 400 is plenty! You should go to and check out Ralf who just got his drz 400 as trade for a much bigger bike a couple of weeks ago. He loves it! And Ralf has been riding here, Germany and everywhere for a long time.
    You know by now that driving in Taiwan is an extreme sport in its own right. This is a big consideration when attempting to learn to ride a biggie. The bigger the bike, for example, the easier it is to miscalculate your corner entry and go wide. It happens to EVERYBODY. Not cool in a winding mountain road where oncoming traffic doesn’t give a sh.t and often uses the outside lane. Get yourself a hornet, or something, and then sell it after 10,000 km. YOu’ll be gald…or at least alive.
    I look forward to taking rides with you someday.

  4. Yep, totally true. I have been thinking about getting a cheap 150 cc bike just to start up to get the feel of bike riding. I do agree with you that any type of riding in Taiwan is an extreme sport, you have to be so aware all the time.

    The 1000cc are in the future for me and I am not planning on getting them as a 1st bike. Are you in Taipei?

    We are moving to Taipei in a few months from Hsinchu and most probably by then, I will have a small bike.

  5. Ca fait combien de temps que tu restes au Taiwan? Nous on est arrives en debut Septembre 2006, mais on adore. Bon la 1ere job n’etais pas la meilleure, mais la qualite de vie ici est mieux pour nous. Je suis arrive ici avec ma femme, une rousse du BC. Notre chien s’en vient dans quelques mois, un bouledogue francais, puis on pense rester ici pour plusieurs annees, assez longtemps pour avoir nos enfants ici.

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