Zen & The Art of Motocy Riding in Bankok: Part 3

Guest post by Reid O’Brien-Lambert. See Part 1 and Part 2.

One of the many motos I learned to ride on
One of the many motos I learned to ride on

A Suggested Training Regimen for Riding in Bangkok

1. Ride on motorbike taxis. Identify the patterns and find peace amidst the turmoil.

2. Attain motorbike and essential gear – helmet, emergency monsoon poncho, shoes (or flip-flops if you’re feeling particularly Thai or hateful towards your toes), rope for securing packages

3. Practice driving in a straight line at low speeds without wobbling or putting a foot down. Do this by relaxing your arms and steering with your weight.

4. Familiarize yourself with the moto’s acceleration and braking abilities.

5. Practice weaving and tight u-turns. Learn about counter-steering.

6. Drive on quiet side streets before expanding onto the larger thoroughfares. Timid drivers can hug to the left curb on larger roads.

7. Become comfortable with filtering. This is the standard riding tactic that makes motos the most efficient mode of transport in the city. Practice in light traffic before driving down the dividing line.

8. Learn to overcome obstacle-fixation for filtering. Focus on your path, not the ten thousand sideview mirrors that you seem to barely avoid cleaving. Steer with your weight and relax the tension in your arms and hands.

9. Understand the difference between riding solo and with a pillion aboard (like Blayne). You are responsible for your pillion’s safety. Do not jeopardize your ward’s life to show off. Do not jeopardize your moto’s chassis because you cannot adjust to the different weight balance.


Eventually, you must dive into the chaos. When you are sitting at the end of that driveway, looking for a nice open gap to gently swing in between the throbbing pulse of cars, pedestrians, buses, motos, and food carts, just let go. Let go of your rectum-seizing terror and just go. It’s never going to feel safe. Trust your instincts and experience


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