Sat, Mar 15, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Three friends use basic motorcycles to tour Taiwan

By Meng Ching-tzu and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

Hsu Kuo-ching, Pai Kuang-hai and Liang Wen-kuei, from left to right, stand next to a scooter in Greater Tainan on Friday last week.

Photo: Meng Ching-tzu, Taipei Times

A Harley-Davidson may be most people’s dream vehicle when taking a motorcycle road trip around the nation, but a group of three middle-aged men argue that older scooters or motorcycles are a better option, as they allow travelers to savor the scenery along the way.

The trio, Liang Wen-kuei (梁文貴), Pai Kuang-hai (白光海) and Hsu Kuo-ching (徐國進), have taken four motorcycle tours around the country over the past four years.

Their friends picture them cruising along highways on a Harley when they first learn of their adventures, but their jaws drop when they hear that the friends ride a seven-year-old 150cc KYMCO scooter, a 15-year-old 125cc SYM motorcycle and a 20-year-old Kawasaki motorcycle.

“I own a Harley myself, so I know that riding that kind of motorcycle would bring you nothing more than the sensation of speed during road trips because you would never pull over to enjoy the moment,” Liang said.

Liang said he also ruled out cars and bicycles for the journeys, because the former are difficult to drive through narrow alleys, while the latter are too energy-consuming.

“When Hsu and Pai learned of my plan to take a road trip, they were thrilled and asked to be a part of it,” Liang said.

Pai said they traveled at an average speed of about 50km per hour during the entire route.

“Doing so gave us the chance to explore delicious local cuisine and meet other like-minded people who opted for ‘crazier ways’ to journey across the country, such as on foot or by skateboard,” Pai said.

Liang said opting for older motorcycles has some disadvantages as they break down more easily, but it is not a major concern as motorcycle repair stores are nearly as common as 24-hour convenience stores.

“Even if we get too exhausted to finish the trips, we can always have our motorcycles shipped back home and take a bus to get back,” Liang added.

Liang said the coastal Suhua Highway connecting eastern and northern Taiwan was the most dangerous road for motorcyclists due to the number of tour buses and heavy trucks.

“Motorcyclists are advised to pass through the highway before 8am ... and try to stay within their peers’ visual range so that they can react promptly in the event of an accident,” Liang said.

Liang said their experiences had inspired many of their friends and that they are now planning their fifth adventure.

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