Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Just a Groovy Little Motorbike

It's Not a Big Motorcycle...
...Just a groovy little motor bike

So now that we're getting settled in, Naomi and I decided to get our own motorbike, and here it is! It's a 50cc Honda SuperCub. I got it from an importer last week - it had a previous life in Japan, and now it's our new family car!

If you're familiar with the Beach Boys, you might know the song "Little Honda" (I've transcribed the lyrics below) in which they sing about shifting through the gears of his little Honda. I've always wondered why he stops at 3rd gear (first gear, it's alright/second gear, i lean right/third gear, out of sight), and now I know the answer: it only has three gears! My speedometer maxes out at 65 kph - or about 40 mph, gets about 100 mpg, and so far I've driven it about 300 miles just around town!

According to a show by the Discovery channel, the Honda SuperCub is the #1 motorcycle of all time. There have been like 50 million of them made, and it seems about 1 of 4 bikes on the road here is a SuperCub. (Daelim's make up another 25%, and then an assortment of Honda Chaly's and newer motorbikes and dirt bikes round out the pack).

Driving here is scary, but it got a lot easier after getting some advice from my Khmer friend Bora - he told me that when I was driving I looked so scared, and that I just needed to relax! RELAX!? I thought he was crazy, but then I realized what he meant: I was looking in my mirrors waaay too much. Cambodians, when they buy motorbikes, will take the mirrors OFF first thing. They get rid of them, because when you're driving, there's really only one rule that you can never break: KEEP YOUR EYES AHEAD OF YOU AT ALL TIMES!!!! If it's behind you, it doesn't matter. That's it!

All street signs, lights, stripes, etc are more or less like the yellow "suggested speed" signs in the States.
Seriously, all lane control, intersections, one-way streets, stop signs, everything else is treated more or less like a suggestion. But if you keep your eyes ahead, you'll be fine - just don't hit anything! It's pretty simple. Motorbikes are everywhere, and drivers are far more aware of mororbikes then in the States (given, motorcycles make up 80% of vehicles on the road), we Always wear helmets, and pray a lot as we ride.

So far, it's mostly just me on the bike, but Naomi and I ride together quite a bit as well. I've also started branching out and used the Cub to deliver some new chairs to our apartment... a very small load by Khmer standards, but I think I kept it in 2nd the whole way home!

Phnom Penh
24 February, 2008

Little Honda, by the Beach Boys

Go!! I'm gonna wake you up early cause I'm gonna take a ride with you We're going down to the Honda shop I'll tell you what we're gonna do Put on a ragged sweat shirt I'll take you anywhere you'd like me to

First gear [Honda Honda go], it's alright [faster, faster] Second gear [Honda Honda go], I'll lean right [faster, faster] Third gear [Honda Honda go], out of sight [faster, faster] Faster! It's all right!
It's not a big motorcycle, just a groovy little motor bike It's more fun than a barrel of monkeys that two wheeled bike we'll ride on out of the town to any place I'll know you'll like

It climbs the hills like a Matchless cause my Honda's built really light When I go into the turns lean with me and hang on tight I'd better turn on the light so we can ride my honda tonight

chorus 2x

1 comment:

Karl Grobl said...

Josh, just a quick question...what did you pay for the Honda Cub? Thanks, Karl