After getting up without "being stuck" in Chiang Mai, we got to the motorcycle rental place. When you rent the motorcycle you have to leave your passport so that you will bring back the bike. Although I don't really remember them every checking my license to see if I was qualified to drive a motorcycle, to be honest I think it is pretty much just about the money they get. I would have been fine since I have rode motorcycles since I was child, having numerous different bikes including my Yamaha Virago I sold before I left on this trip. The bike we got reminded me a little of my bike that I had at home. We had opted to pay a little more for the motorcycle with some power & extra horsepower. We knew that we had 2 people & that we were going into a mountainous area. The motorcycle we got was a 400cc Honda Steed.
I had not drove since selling my bike & even then hadn't rode with a passenger for a while before that. Add to all this that in Asia the road rules can be chaotic, it became an interesting challenge. It took a little while to adjust to the motorcycle, traffic & rules. There were a lot of benefits of being on this particular motorcycle that helped. For one thing I was in a sweet spot on the road, meaning that I was small enough to pass like the other cycles, but I had more power than everyone else so I could get out ahead of traffic easily. In Asia the traffic works a little like this, the cars are there like normal & the bikes dodge around them or in between them. The bikes pull to the sides to let faster cars by, but also pass cars at stop lights so they can get right up to the front. Also at the stop light the motorcycle have their own little lane on the left where they all line up so they don't have to wait behind the cars. The nice thing about all this was that I would get a good start on the cars & would have enough power to pull away from the other bikes. This kept me ahead of other traffic keeping me a lot safer & I could pass as I needed so that I was making great time. It all seems to have a flow to itself that works well for everyone, as no one is waiting, but no one is that pushy. It was good that I had road cycle as much as I had back home because I felt comfortable with the bike & rider almost instantly. Nina & I had talked about what I expected from her as a rider which is pretty basic & she helped greatly by being a good rider.
There are also disadvantages of being on a motorcycle. Number one as anywhere is that you are totally unprotected if an accident would happen. We both wore out helmets & thickest pants, but that would only help a little, if you have an accident you are probably in trouble. One of the best things about the traffic here was that I could use the rules to my advantage to keep a nice space cushion between me & the people in front of or behind me. I was really happy in that respect that we spent the extra for a more powerful motorcycle. Another disadvantage that you always have on a motorcycle is being open to the weather, in this case the rain, which would eventually catch up with us a little, but overall it was a great riding day & we had minimal bike problems.