I’ve had a few close calls driving my scooter around Taipei recently.
It’s nothing really worth mentioning, but I’d thought I write about it because it’s in the forefront of my mind.
Being on a scooter or motorcycle in Taipei is inevitable. It’s cheap, fast and an effective way of getting around the city. Nothing beats a scooter to go fast around town. Seriously.
Most motorcycles, from 250cc and above are just too large to fit through the small openings in traffic. On top of that, their owners aren’t too brave, not because they are afraid of hurting themselves. They are afraid of hurting their bikes. I’ve yet to encounter daredevil riders on motorcycles in Taipei.
There are a lot of daredevils on scooters, there is no way around that fact. Some of them take too many risks. I always take measured risks. I love taking the scooter and going fast. I’d upgrade immediately, but it’s possible that I’m going to be in Canada for a few months early next year, so I can’t really justify the cost of a new bike. But I plan on getting one when I get back. I also plan on getting my big engine motorcycle license. I’ve been planning this for a while.
So back to close calls.
Last week, I drove into a taxi. I wasn’t driving fast, I was actually accelerating, he just did a dumb ass maneuver and stopped aggressively. I tried to stop, but bumped into his back. Nothing really happened. Damage? The front bumper was a bit broken. There’s nothing really you can do about these unless you get a whole new plastic body. I’m not ready to do that. The cost would be just too much. I’d thought about getting some old junker bodies to do that, but I don’t really know where to go.
On Monday, I was driving home and a guy put himself into my lane. I didn’t have time to swerve and we bumped eachother. There was no damage again, but it made me think.
I’ve been toying with the idea of getting real motorcycle protection equipment. I’m already wearing denim at all times, with high top shoes and gloves. I’ve wanted to get some real motorcycle gloves, with a real helmet and a real jacket. I know that they will be expensive, but in the long run, I figure that they will be worth the expense.
Closest call of all.
On my way home today, from one of my teaching jobs, I stopped at a shop and bought a real motorcycle helmet. It wasn’t too expensive, but it had a Lexan scratch resistant visor and fitted real nice and tight on my head. Most people wear US10$ helmets in Taiwan. Most are a lot cheaper. This one was about US75$. It’s not a Shoei or Arai, but it’s do the job nicely. The visor is nice and new. Getting a Shoei would cost more than the worth of my scooter. It’ll wait till later (I’m pretty sure when I get a new bike, I’ll pick up a Shoei helmet. I can’t loose my head, I only have one!). At the same time, I picked up a pair of rain overboots to protect my legs and shoes from the pelting rain we’ve been getting here. I’ve hated driving in the rain. My legs never dried out. I picked up 24 cans of chicken dog food that my dog Spike just loved.
I drove home. I was getting used to the helmet and really enjoying it. I was about to get onto a bridge when some idiot burned a red light and came at me and hit me sideways. I flipped over with the inertial force and landed on the pavement. The good thing about this is that I wasn’t going fast again. The other good thing was that my bike didn’t fall. It was actually still running when I got up.
My left hand could have been atrociously scraped, but I was wearing US3$ gloves. They were enough to protect my hand. I was surprised by the fact that I wasn’t injured. That I didn’t hit my head and that my bike was still running. I got everything together and left. I was shaken at how fast it happened.
My hands were saved from getting scraped on the pavement by some damn US3$ gloves. I decided to resolve this situation today and get real gloves.
On my way back from work tonight I went into Taipei and stopped at a bike supply shop. I got some SBK bike gloves for about US60$. They were seriously discounted. I then saw a real pollution mask. The cost was about US65$ for a Respro Techno anti pollution mask. I couldn’t pass it up. Pollution masks are essential in Taipei.
I also stopped and got some art supplies today. Today’s haul included super fine paper, from small sizes to incredibly big sizes. I needed some very fine paper for the oil pastels that I have. I also got some watercolors, I have worked with aquarelle sticks and found them adequate. I’d prefer watercolors. (Seriously Jessica, I’m thinking about sending you something by mail.)