Back in South Korea, I made a friend of an American by the name of Jesse and one thing we had in common was a keen interest about engines mounted on two wheels: motorcycles. Back then he told me he was suppose to go to Thailand in some months to meet up with a his girlfriend from back home and do a visa-run (leave the country to get a new visa). Since I was probably to be in the region at that moment, we thought about meeting and doing some riding over there.
In Thailand and for that matter South-East Asia, scooters and motorcycles are readily available and cheap (150 baht a day so a bit more than 5$) so its the thing to do there. However, everywhere you see tourists all bandaged up on one side and hear horror stories of road-related fatalities. Treacherous machines they are, but did that deter me from getting one?
Of course not.
On my first trip in France with my girlfriend in the back, I met at la grotte du Mas d’Azil an older gentleman riding around by himself on a small escapade of a couple days, something he had been doing regularly for about 50 years. We struck conversation and talked about various things, but I remember one of his sayings:
A good motorcyclist is a motorcyclist that’s alive.
And a dead one is a bad one? It sounded like an empty statement at the time, but several thousand kilometers later, I have now understood what the message is about: be careful, drive defensively, measure every move. It’s not a race, it’s about the journey.