The Honda Dream...what to rent if you need inexpensive reliable transportation...
Honda Dream comes in 100cc 110cc, or 125cc (Note the "Dream" has many
different names depending on which country you visit). The bike weighs about 90
to 100 kgs, has a fuel tank capacity of approximately 3.5 litres. The engine is
now a 4-stroke which is air cooled. Newer models have no clutch...you just downshift
or upshift into any of the 4 gears using the "rocker style" foot pedal.
The rear brake operates with a foot pedal and the front brake with a lever on
the right handlebar (on rental bikes they adjust the front brake very loosely...probably
so you don't inadvertently grab too hard and lock up the front wheel, which usually
results in a crash). Maximum power is 6 to 8 horses, which is more than enough
to get you around.
This Honda Dream or an equivalent "scooter" is the local equivalent to the American SUV. It's used to transport whole families (I have seen up to 6 people on one in Cambodia), produce, furniture, and all types of goods. It's amazing what creative folks can carry on one of these !
Just ask around, you can usually rent one from a private family or a rental place, usually for about $2 - $4 per day. They are super easy to ride and run all day on a half a tank of gas. In most places, don't hesitate to pick up locals who need a short ride...they will really appreciate it.
With my camera belt pack system I can easily ride with my cameras safely attached to me, then hop off wherever and whenever, ready to photograph at a moment's notice.
Note: traffic laws in much of the world are non existent or ignored...traffic just "flows"...the only way you're going to survive is to "go with the flow"...don't make sudden changes of direction or stops, and you'll be OK. When local folks see a "farang" (foreigner) they not only know to be extra careful of you, but they also get a real kick out of seeing someone willing to travel like they do, rather than in the back of taxi.
If you need to buy gas don't pass up the typical "Johnny Walker" gas station...this is how fuel is sold in places like Cambodia..."real" gas stations are few and far between, so don't hesitate to get some from a place like this. If by chance you are riding an older 2 stroke model which requires an oil gas mix...the "attendant" no matter how young he or she is, will know which kind of fuel you need. Oh, and if you need real Johnny Walker Scotch, it will probably be a bit harder to find than gasoline..
photo courtesy of Theresa Vernetti
Option number two in north Vietnam is to rent an old russion Minsk motorcycle...story coming soon...
At home in San Diego, I ride my Yamaha YZF600R more on that bike here
If you're stateside and want to have some fun head to the desert on a Honda CR500 like the one I sold recently. Or get a similar newer model which is probably a bit lighter and certainly much more quiet than my old "two stroke beast". I fondly remember all the great times I had on my CR500, exploring the deserts of California and Baja peninsula. If you ride off road, please respect the environment and obey local laws.