I am writing this post as an inspiration during my trip. The joy of riding a motorcycle in Myanmar last September 2018. When I had no choice but to push-thru the solo trip on my own. Glad that I learned how to drive a motorcycle at a young age.
The Beginning – The Joy of Riding a Motorcycle
It was summer. My father promised his son, the youngest child, to teach him how to drive a motorcycle. Being the eldest of the three children, I insist. My father said NO.
I was 12 and my brother was 8. Why would my father teach his son to drive a motorcycle? How about me? I am older. That time, it sounded so unfair. The reason why he wouldn’t let me learn how to drive a motorcycle just because I AM A GIRL.
My sister, being the middle child, is not interested in this stuff. She is fine. While a petite girl like me, who was less than 30 kg at 4’11”, was very persistent.
Although I am the eldest, I was the tiniest among the family. The reason why people always have mistaken me as the youngest. My gender and my size is not a hindrance to learn new skills. It is my right to do things I want for my own sake. Obviously, my father won’t let me learn because he perceived me as a weakling.
When he kept on saying NO. I cried. I won’t take no as an answer. Although crying is not really a good convincing method, I told him all my reasons why I need to learn. I don’t want to to be a grown-up woman without skills and knowledge.
Related Article: 11 Thrill-seeking Useful Skills and Adventures You Can Learn While Traveling
Having Difficulty with a Motorcycle
But I have to be honest, the motorcycle was indeed bigger and heavier than me. I even had difficulty kicking the starter. I need to learn on using the clutch because it was a manual motorcycle. Balancing is not a problem. I learned how to drive a bicycle when I was 6 years old.
So far, I never crashed the motorcycle when I was learning. But there was a time I forced the grip on the right handle. That made me go too fast. I almost hit the wall. Although worried, my father scolded me. Lesson learned, always use the left handle to break.
The Motorcycles I Used to Drive While Learning – The Joy of Driving a Motorcycle
My father had a Honda Econo Power 70. As you can imagine, I could not move the motorbike on my own, hence, I need assistance. That motorcycle was not just a good match for my size.
The Yamaha Chappy was the next motorcycle I tried. I really liked it because it was small. For sure, it’s like a toy. I was confident to do my first gas fill-up in the station without difficulty. But it was just a short-lived experience with the Yamaha Chappy.
The Suzuki Raider J is both manual and automatic so I never had a problem doing the kick starter. Just a push of a start button, voila! I was ready to go. Another short-lived experience with Suzuki.
My Ideal Motorcycle to Have – The Joy of Riding a Motorcycle
I fell in love with Honda Scoopy the first time I saw it. I just love the vintage design and it’s suitable for a petite girl like me. Actually, I saved money for it as one of my goals. But later on, I changed my mind. I used the money to travel to 5 countries back in 2015.
Although I don’t own a Honda Scoopy, I am happy to say that finally, I have the courage to drive it while traveling. It was a fulfilling moment for me. The Honda Scoopy is a scooter so it’s very easy to use especially for women.
I highly suggest that you should really learn a manual motorcycle.
Although I learned to drive a motorcycle at an early age, it took me a while to really drive with the crowds. Of course, I was comfortable to drive when there were no people and other transportations around. That’s why I was happy to drive around Siquijor and Siargao.
The Joy of Riding a Motorcycle: Why Women Should Learn How to Drive?
The main reason why I insisted to learn how to drive it’s that a motorcycle is more affordable, convenient and cheaper to have than to have a car. To have a car, make sure you have enough space at home. Even though I don’t have my own motorcycle at the moment, it’s easy to rent while traveling.
But there are more reasons why women should learn how to drive.
What if you and the boyfriend will break up while traveling? No problem. It’s not necessary that women need to have their boyfriends/husbands around.
When I had no choice to travel solo in Hpa-an, I had to encourage myself of renting a motorbike or a scooter in a country where I have no driver’s license.
I am not an expert motorcycle driver but I started to gain confidence driving alone in a different country. I realized how cool it was to gain my independence of finding my next destination while getting lost.
Oh, freedom! I don’t have to rely on joining myself on a guided tour with other people. I have the freedom to just drive and do sightseeing on my own pace and time. Feeling the breeze of the wind while driving.
Of course, it feels cool. I feel like I’m a badass woman driving in a different country without a license in Myanmar.
Escape and Adventure
Driving a motorcycle, you can easily escape and go on an adventure by yourself. It also helps me to be aware of my surroundings and improve my sense of direction.
by yourself. It also helps me to be aware of my surroundings and improve my sense of direction.
Who says driving a motorcycle is just for men? Driving a motorbike is giving you the empowerment that you can go places by yourself. You have to face your fear of doing it solo.
When I See Women Driving
When I was in Myanmar, I saw children and women driving a motorcycle already. Just because it is their means of transportation. I feel so envious that time because the ladies were just so cool driving and it’s normal for them.
In Thailand, I saw high school students both male and female driving a scooter. I am not sure how cheap buying a motorcycle or scooter in Thailand.
While in the Philippines, I just don’t like the patriarchal system being implemented here. Not all girls are trained to drive a motorbike at a young age. It’s because of fear getting into an accident.
Related Article: 10 Realizations While Traveling Long Term as an Ordinary Filipino
When my friends saw my photos of me driving a motorbike while traveling, they were shocked to see that I know how to drive. It is not just common for a little girl like me. Let me tell you, most of the girls here in my country are afraid to drive a motorbike especially when you live in the city.
Driving a motorbike only becomes a necessity if you live on a provincial island where there are fewer means of transportation. Saying it’s not as dangerous to drive in the city.
I actually drove around Siquijor and Siargao with a motorbike.
Conclusion – The Joy of Riding a Motorcycle
As a woman, don’t stop yourself learning new things and feel the joy of riding a motorcycle. Also, I realized how bad the traffic is in the Philippines especially in Manila and Cebu City where cars are more abundant than sidewalks. Cars are easy to loan nowadays that caused a lot of traffic.
How I wish that Cebu can be bike and motorcycle-friendly. For me, it’s one way to lessen traffic and smoke pollution. And of course, plant more trees. It’s getting hot in Cebu during the summer days and during the rainy season, Cebu City is easily flooded.
FYI: Dumaguete City is a bike-friendly city!
To add, during my times in Taiwan, I always use the bike every day to go around the capital city, Taipei. Although Taipei is like a small version of Tokyo with several buildings around, keep in mind that Taipei and Tokyo have several parks in the city.
This is the problem of Manila and Cebu City because we don’t have the same parks scattered in the city. Businessmen are busy building condominiums but not building parks and planting trees.
This is the reason why women are afraid to drive a motorbike in the Philippines because the place we live in is not friendly for female drivers. We are always told that it’s very dangerous to drive on national highways. And they say motorbikes are only for men, which I BEG TO DISAGREE.
Two of the big cities in the Philippines lack beautiful parks and green spaces.
What do you think of this write-up? Is this making sense or nothing at all. Please add your thoughts why women should learn how to drive a motorcycle. Have you experienced the joy of riding a motorcycle?
More from my site
Roxanne is an aspiring digital nomad. A virtual assistant since October 2009. She is a hobbyist blogger, photographer and travels a lot.