Motorcycle riding in Bali
Trip Start Nov 04, 2007
5Trip End Nov 22, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Still, he continues to ride, and in fact is offering tours by motorcycle to tourists in Bali. If you can get outside of the urban areas, the riding is quite nice. Although you still have to drive very defensively compared to American roads. There are few street lights, and sometimes few streets. Some of the 'roads' would qualify as narrow foot paths where I come from. But if you can walk on it, you can ride on it. That includes sidewalks, dirt paths, and, when the mood strikes, driving on the wrong side altogether. Myself, I had one encounter with two cars coming at me, one on my side of the road, where I ended up riding right between them (and none of us was moving slowly!) It was only afterward that I realized how stupid that was, but at the time it seemed natural and only slightly abnormal.
That is a problem that I will call Karmic riding. As my friend Jeff has described, people here in Bali will do things that a normal person would not dream of, and expect that it will be ok because they have good karma. The fact that Bali has one of the highest casualty rates per capita of any place on earth (so I am told) belies that belief. Almost everyone has scars from an accident. Motorcycle riders will blindly turn into a street from off the road or at intersections without so much as a glance at oncoming traffic. They just presume that anyone coming at them will avoid collision. I'll extend this Karmic riding metaphor by noting that the Balinese, being Hindu, worship (among others) the god Vishna. Vishna is a god with three heads, and can thus look in all directions at once (right, left and ahead). So, with Vishna watching over them, a rider has protection from accidental collisions. I wonder what they come back as in the next life after a motorcycle accident?
I've developed a sort of soft-focus when riding. Instead of specifically focusing on a particular vehicle on the road, I sometimes unfocus and become more aware of the flow and the gaps that are opening and closing. Then I move fluidly through the openings, weaving in and out as the opportunity arises. I assume that the other cars and bikes will continue in their existing motions without severe change. And I wonder what I'll come back as in the next life...?