My E-Dirtbike

Mar 29, 2014 in

So, since 2007 it is forbidden in Myanmar for foreigners to drive motorcycles because of the danger of accidents. But nothing against bicycles. And if bicycles, then of course also bicycles with an “auxiliary” electric motor, e-bikes. And since China started flushing its goods into the country, there is a great availability of these. Though, those bikes more resemble small scooters than bicycles, in shape, weight and also function.
There are still pedals, but who used the pedals on his moped (moped = motor + pedals) anyway?

So, guess what, I decided to try out one of those things in Bagan, a vast sandy savanna landscape that is best explored on wheels. I was imagining that this is how Africa must look.

And here is the proud hirer of the said bike. Smile! No,… smile! Oh well, fair enough.

Hot, dry and sandy

My impression: Those things drive like scooters with a very small engine and locked on the highest gear. So, on full throttle and still no acceleration plus already problems at light inclines. But it was funny to ride it on the paved roads.
However, most roads in that area are not paved at all, in fact, all roads that are not the main roads between the towns. All others are sand tracks, some of which felt like sandboxes.

I had to find out that E-bikes, (no power, no suspension, small wheels) are not exactly the right vehicle to drive on these kind of roads. :-P

Good shot of the character of the tracks in that area. Driving off-road was actually easier with some of the roads. Also, note the intelligible Chinese driver’s console.

While forcing my bike through all these tracks, I was thinking all the time, “good…, good….! …that my girlfriend is not with me”. She would have been sooo pissed at me for leaving the main roads for these tracks. Just because, because I want to survey unmapped areas for OpenStreetMap!

Found brickworks in the middle of nowhere. This could have been in the antiquity, it wouldn’t have looked any different.

And yesh! She would have been right, exploration was my prime motivation to leave the main roads. That, and what will be the topic of the next article. After all, what was I doing there actually in this hot and dry savanna landscape, why did I even come there? You’ll find out.