Amazingly enough, Randal and I have bought a Honda Wave 110 Motorbike. Our friends Fien and Hans convinced us that it was very possible to travel around Malaysia and to load and unload the motorbike from a boat. I think we were convinced because of the isolation of Puteri and the lack of convenient public transportation. Spending too much time at a marina really isn’t travel. Having finally made the decision, we bicycled to the Gelang Patah Honda dealership Monday. This afternoon Randal went to get the motorbike and to practice riding alone. Then he and I went out for a practice ride and saw parts of Johor we would never have seen. Nothing spectacular, but real non-touristy Johor. We rode for about 2 hours and decided that any ride longer than that would require a break to stretch our legs and rest other parts of our body. Mostly we did about 35 mph and that was a good speed for me to feel comfortable. When we did about 48 on the "highway" I didn’t love it. But I see it as finally a chance to travel outside major city marinas. In Singapore, Kota Kinabalu and even George Town you could take the MRT or buses or walk. But other areas needed some kind of vehicle so nothing could be spur of the moment or easy or whatever. It always took a plan and an expense. Now the motorbike wasn’t free, obviously. We paid $1,627.68 but that’s license plates, registration, insurance, two helmets, a heavy wire basket in front, a locked rear basket, disc brakes, aluminum wheels, heavy tubeless tires, a spare chain, spare bulbs and enough oil for two oil changes. And we’ll have to pay for gas. And rain will be an issue. But on the whole it will mean we can go inland and see the countries that we visit. That will be so nice and is really half the point of our travels.
Checking our options at the Honda dealership in Gelang Patah
Our friends Fien and Hans had told us about the Honda dealer in Gelang Patah where they had bought their motorbike and how pleased they were with the service and prices. (We had actually looked at a motorbike in Sungei Rengit near Sebana Cove but weren’t going to stay long enough to bike for a bit and then get it’s first service.) So this past Monday we bicycled into Gelang Patah to buy a motorbike but hadn’t thought to bring our passports. When we signed the contract for the bike, one of the men took Randal on a motorbike back to the marina to get his passport. They also took him to the police station to check on a Malaysian driver’s license. But Randal couldn’t get one because we only have a tourist visa. Perhaps you have to have some kind of employment visa to get a license here. It would probably entitle you to lots of things like library cards! But his Virginia license which is stamped with an M seemed to be ok. He’ll get an international license when we come home. I say he because I don’t see myself driving. I know my strengths and driving a motorbike isn’t one of them. First I need to learn to drive our dinghy! When you buy the motorbike it comes with Malaysian Insurance which is good. We will be able to take it with us when we travel through the Med and that means seeing so much more than we have in the past with just our bicycles or public transportation.
My bright orange shirt is just the thing: like having a big flag on the back of the bike so drivers will notice us.
6 knots by boat, 10 MPH by bicycle and 45 MPH by motorbike. Good thing we’re never in a hurry!
Putting a motorbike onto a sailboat.
We watch Hans and Fein put their bike on their boat to see how it could be done. Fien is winching the bike up as Hans holds it away from the boat so not to scratch up either.
Fien uses a winch to hoist up the motorbike.
Randal thinks we can use the mechanism that lifts our anchor so I won’t have to do as much work as Fien. I do the same sort of thing when we have to pull our stabilizing “fish” out of the water. They each weigh 62 lbs. By the time I’ve pulled up the second one, I’m pooped. And Randal is doing the same thing as Hans; holding the fish away from the boat though for that he is on the boat. The bike ways three times as much; 187 lbs. so it’s a good thing the anchor windless will pull the motorbike onto our boat.