Motorbike driving. An experience that evokes strong reactions from very different people. Living in Hanoi, Vietnam, I found biking around to be inescapable and the only real way of getting around – there is no train service as yet, buses are inefficient and take twice as long as motorbikes and cars are unbelievably expensive – buyers have to pay $61,000 for a Toyota Camry which is priced at roughly $22,000 in the U.S. When I first moved here, I felt stuck in a sea that I didn’t know how to swim in.
Eventually though, I struggled, fell, started slow and learnt. Then I began to enjoy the breeze that blows through your hair, the vivid sights and smells of Hanoi that rush past as you weave through the streets. The complete and utter disregard for rules began to seem funny and I understood that everything works – as long as you keep with the flow. I sat on the back of Uber and Grab taxis, watched carriers strapping everything from carpets to tanks of water on their straining bike racks, saw families of five squeeze on to one seat and watched expats get into the swing of biking. I wondered; how many stories are there to tell here all coming from different perspectives? So I decided to make this documentary and found how motorbiking isn’t just a mode of transport – it’s a way of life. In fact, many different ways of life.
Enjoy the video!
Driving a motorbike can be perceived as very dangerous. And I won’t lie – it is. However, it’s an unforgettable and exhilarating experience and would I recommend it? Absolutely. Just make sure to learn at your own pace without pressurizing yourself. Learn the roads of the countries/cities/towns you’re in: are they dominated by cars or bikes? How does the traffic move? Do they follow the rules? What are the unspoken rules?
Here are some pics of me taking a Honda Wave through the northern region of Ha Giang; this just goes to prove that if I can learn how to drive a semi-automatic bike whilst riding solo through mountains, then anyone can learn to ride!