Now available as an E-Book!

Now available as an E-Book!
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Previews from the book "Southeast Asia on 2 Wheels."

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135 full-color pages of photos, stories, anecdotes, illustrations, journal pages maps and more!In addition to the four major sections on Yunnan, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand I have included some back story on both my first (and unsuccessful) attempt to motorcycle through China as well as how the planning for the trip came together.I have chosen the very best of the more than 4,000 photos from the trip as well as the most humorous, moving and fascinating of the several hundred anecdotes for Southeast Asia on 2 Wheels.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Rules of the Road

Pakse, Lao P.D.R.

Whenever I tell someone that I am traveling by motorcycle, they invariably reply with "isn't that dangerous?" or "aren't you scared?" Most people believe that motorcycling is inherently risky or dangerous. The truth is, it doesn't have to be.

Here is my personal set of "Road Rules" for motorcycling.

1. Ride in the Daytime. I don't ride at night unless it is absolutely necessary.

2. No Rain, No Ice, No Bad Weather. If it rains, I find an overhang and pull over. Always.

3. Helmet. Always. There is never a good reason to ride without one. Ever.

4. Be Visible. Use headlights at dusk - even if you can still see. Wear bright colors, make sure all running lights are working.

5. Don't Prove a Point. If someone is driving faster than you, let them pass. Don't try to prove you are right by cutting people off. I'd rather be shamed and alive than proud and dead.

6. Don't be in a Hurry to Die. Hot-rodding, wheelies, reckless passing, and other cavalier driving stunts are for movie stars. You already look cool enough with a motorcycle - no need to show off.

7. One Beer is Too Many. If you plan on drinking, then walk there - take a cab etc. If you drive there and then drink, lock up the bike and get it tomorrow or walk it home. There's too much to risk.

8. When in Rome. It doesn't matter how people drive back home, it matters how they drive where you are! In Asia, bigger vehicles always have the right of way. It doesn't matter who got to the light first. Watch others and what they do and copy them. Again, doesn't matter if you are right when you are dead.

9. What's the Rush? If you drive 65 miles an hour instead of 60, you will might get there about 6 minutes faster. Is getting somewhere a couple of minutes earlier really worth the risk? Obey speed limits and don't overheat your engine. When in the city, play it cool and relax - there is plenty of time to get wherever you are going.

10. Happy Vehicle = Happy Ride. Safe tires, good chain, working lights. Fix it before you get on the road.

11. Whatever It Is, Stop to Do It. iPods, cell phones, water bottles, chin straps. Whatever it is that needs adjusting, pull over and stop to fix it. You can never afford to only have one hand on the rack.

In the end, I stick with the mantra "life is already dangerous enough, why make it more so!?" With a little common sense, there is no reason why motorcycling has to be categorically dangerous.

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