My first motorbike ride was a bloody mess!

At times, Ubud is nothing but bumper to bumper traffic... unless you have a motorbike. It has been amazing to watch riders navigate through cars. I had only planned on watching but Cam has had a terrible cough for several days now and we'd been debating whether to take him to a doctor or not. He sounded pretty bad yesterday, so we took him to the doctor to have him checked out. Actually, Nick came in our room and said the the people at the guest house are waiting out front to take us to the clinic. Before I could think it totally through, little Cam was strapped in the baby bjorn, I was on the back of a motorbike, and away we went. No helmets, of course. Did I mention I'm terrified of motorbikes?

The guy turned out to be an excellent driver, methodically moving in and out of cars and taking secret side streets to get us past traffic. The first 2 km were uneventful and I started to ease up on my death grip. That was until we hit the jungle road with hanging vines and monkeys in the trees! My fear shifted from the bike to worrying that a monkey was going to jump on my helmet-less head (thanks Mary!). Thankfully, no moneys jumped on our heads.

We arrived at the clinic and Cam checked out fine. As we left the clinic to get back on the motorbike that is when I saw my worst nightmare. This man walks in after being in a motorbike accident. His entire right side was covered in blood and his elbow was sticking out about 2 inches. The man (who happened to be from Sedona, AZ!) assures me he's fine and that it was just a tiny motorbike accident. Um, just? And very gross!

So Cam and I jump on the back and away we go for a very uneventful but still nerve racking ride back home. Thus ending my first and most likely last motorbike ride. Or will it be?  Most likely not. But here's the thing, motorbikes are a way of life in most countries. They make it quick and easy to get around. And people will load them up with their entire family or an entire business.

This is the norm here. This is everyday life and people survive just fine.   Cultural norms are a funny thing.  Like car seats for kids ... required in Western cultures but not in the rest of the world.  We do a lot of things outside the US that would never be acceptable in the US.  It's just a different cultural perspective.

Oh, the things that seem so normal to do in other countries that you would never think to do in the US!

Ever rode a motorbike with an 8 month old strapped to your front and no helmets? Let us know your best and worst motorbike experience in the comments.

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  1. Hey Girl-
    Glad it wasn't you guys who were the bloody mess! We took a carseat with us to Mexico one time when my boy was less than 2 yrs old... only to find out that the taxis didn't even have seatbelts in the back seats!
    Be safe!

    1. Ask your parents how you (and anyone over 40) survived without being strapped in 24/7!! My hubby laughingly states to the younger generation that we had 25 children, and only three survived to adulthood, as we never had them strapped in!! In fact, our cars didn't have seat belts. Our "carseats" back in the 60's were a joke, with the j-bar just hung over the backs of the front seat (which, of course, just folded forward when we braked fast! The parent's extended arm used to double as a "seatbelt".) We used to lay our babys' car bed on the back seat...just laying straps! How did our children ever survive (a facetious question!)?? Our kids now-a-days are just too overly protected, and they have no spirit of adventure and exploration.

  2. The US does go over board on "protection". We almost brought carseats with us but then realized no one used them. I remember as a kid we would pile in the back of my uncles pacer and drive around LA with no seat belts. Man that car was hot!

    Here we let our kids run free and don't worry about them like we would in the US. Just a different culture.

  3. I do agree with Carol...we survived those younger years...why not now? In Mexico (where we lived for 2 years) there weren't seatbelt laws. Then again...driving there was different in general. You took more responsibility for yourself on the road, never fully assuming that other people would follow the traffic signals--it makes so safer driving all around, IMO. We're in Thailand right now...and I was forced to learn to drive a motorbike. I only took out 1 tree (and nearly a spirit house!)...but I'm better for it and feel comfortable on it, nowadays. I'm the last person I'd expect to get on a bike and drive around...but works and we're all still alive!

  4. Brittney crashed a scooter in Vietnam. Was lucky to escape with just a small burn from the exhaust. Confessed to me just yesterday that they drove over 100km an hour on a dark street too! I had one ride to and from the tailor and was completely terrified. Not sure how I'd have been with bubby on board! Good on you for not having a heart attack!!!