2/2/16

125cc Taiwan: 5/26/2006

The small typhoon had brought heavy rains for the past two days. There was flooding. The school I was teaching at had closed for the day. It was the perfect day for a motorcycle ride.

When its raining this much in a tropical country, you don't dress to stay dry. You dress to get wet and remain comfortable. For me, this means a good full-face helmet, a light synthetic shirt and pants, and yes, flipflops. Yes, wearing flipflops on a motorcycle is a horrible idea. Over the years I have paid the price; the toe nails have since grown back.

Taking my favorite road deep into the magical mountains outside of Hsinchu I went in search of adventure. The mountains above had waterfalls where I had never seen them. There were little to no cars. Deeper into the mountains, deeper into the mountains I rode.
Well that was until I met this mess. While this may not still be the case, in 2008 a sight like this was rather common in the Taiwanese mountains. So common that it once caused a good buddy and I to end up on one of the most epic, cold and looong motorcycle rides of my life.

After walking out into this mess and assessing that my little 125 SYM Wolf would sink in never return, I turned around.

The ride however was not over. There had to be a way around this mess.

I rode down to the rather swollen river and took a road next to it in an attempted to ride around the blocked road. The road soon became covered in 6 inches of water; I continued on.

The water was indeed getting deeper, but I could see the top of the grass growing next to the trail, so it could not be that deep. Ohh it was getting deeper. 10 inches. 12 inches and yep now the entire motorcycle was underwater and dead.

I got off and no lie the little bike floated up to the surface and floated; making it much easier to drag back to semi dry conditions. Being stupid I of course tried to start it. This of course did not work.

Being without a mobile phone, I was now faced with pushing the bike out of the mountains and back home. Did I mention I was in Taiwan and did not speak Chinese. Luckily I was up in the mountains, so a fair bit of coasting got me a ways towards home.

Life was starting to be a bit too cold and wet, so I wandered into a local community center. It was filled with kids on computers and one old man. Of course the kids go a huge kick out of the soaking wet white guy randomly wandering into their community center during the typhoon. Luckily someone had taught a few of the kids enough English for me to explain I needed a telephone.

Happy to find a phone, I pulled the nearly destroyed business card of my always amazing Taiwanese motorcycle mechanic Adidas (yes that was the western name he used) out of my pocket and called him.

A warm glass of tea later Adidas arrived with his truck and I was back home and the bike was in the shop. What happened to the bike? Adidas fixed it and I rode it around the entire island of Taiwan, but that is a story for another time.

Hsinchu, Taiwan 

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