Monday, November 25, 2013

Motorcycles of Siem Reap, Cambodia

I love motorcycles.  So do the people of Siem Reap.  This town is a motorcyclists rallying place. There are more cycles than cars.  Further the motorcycles are fully and truly used to their capacities.  Not uncommonly 4 may be seen on a cycle, but every now and then 5 are being carried. Women are always riding motorcycles.  Helmuts appear optional.  No one wears leathers or armour. I doubt that would be possible in the heat. But boots are bypassed too in favour of flip flops.  The only accident I saw was a tumble when a dog ran in front of the cycle and the driver with a saffron clad monk passenger, braked and swerved to miss it, toppling over in the process.  Everyone is on the look out for everyone else so amazingly there's not more crashes. People are alert here.
The passengers and sometimes the drivers are doing all sorts of things while driving. Answering cell phones, fixing hair, carrying babies, you name it.  The drivers are attentive but the passengers are so used to being on the back of motorcycles that it's like they're riding in a car.  Some are reading books even. It's just part of the way of life here.
Now that's the motorcycles and people.  The motorcycles are used to haul major amounts of things, themselves and coupled with a hitch to a trailer. The trailers are the size of truck beds.  Most of the bikes are 110 to 123 cc but occasionally especially the ones pulling trailer may be over 200 cc.  There are also the ubiquitous taxi carriages, these are trailers that really take off from the horse drawn carriage of years gone by, with room for 4 to 6 seated easily.  Each carriage has it's own character and design.
My Honda 250 would do well here. I saw an older version.  Most of the bikes are low to the ground and commonly vespa like scooters.  My 16000 Harley Davidson Classic cruiser would not fare well here.  It's just too big for the crowded traffic.  I might get by with my old Harley 1200 Roadster. My Buell Blast 600 cc would love Siem Leap and surroundings. It's that sort of place where lighter weight motorcycles have the advantage. The roads aren't set up for high speed so anything over 650 would be extraneous, even with luggage.  I'm tempted to buy a trailer seeing how well they've worked here.
I really like that the motorcyclists of Siem Reap really are getting the most out of their motorcycles.
 DSC 0662DSC 0387
DSC 0385DSC 0381
DSC 0224DSC 0020IMG 1976IMG 2005IMG 2008IMG 2034
DSC 0199
DSC 0195
DSC 0190
DSC 0189
DSC 0222
IMG 2036IMG 2037IMG 2039IMG 2041IMG 2042IMG 2044IMG 2046IMG 2058IMG 2121
IMG 2135IMG 2126


Anonymous said...

I love motorcycles too

that one with the young family

is that a 125cc honda

haykind said...

I think you're right. There were yamahas there too but lots of hondas. Some 'makes' of motorcycle I'm not familiar with or perhaps a different name on standard motorcycle. I heard how the Chinese are making 'knock off' cars so suspect some of these motorcycles might well have been 'knock offs'. I was in a restaurant with my English speaking driver and thought the scooters were 50 cc but when we looked at a half dozen bikes in front of the shop they were all 125 to 250's. That seemed the standard. There were rarer big bikes here, 400s and 650s too.