We just finished a team building sports event at work, and the plan was , that everyone would pile in the cars and we’d all go off and have dinner together.
Only 1 person knew how to get there, so obviously we’re doing the whole follow the leader jobby.
Suddenly one of my colleagues says ‘can I have a go on your motorbike’ to which I said ‘sure.. ‘ , because he said he’s ridden one before, or his family used to have one or something along these lines.
So I’m on the back with the helmet… because I didn’t plan for this so just because he says he wants to ride doesn’t mean I’m going to grant him everything here.
Anyway, I thought that when people say, ‘I know how to ride a bike, my family had one’ then… , you know,… they actually do know how to ride the bike.
Ah… now I know differently.
This sentence could mean anything from… I’ve ridden one without a clutch, …I can ride an electric scooter, I have ridden a real motorbike once…therefore I am an expert, or maybe genuinely (& rarely) …they actually do know how to ride a bike.
This was not one of those cases.
First of all, he starts in 2nd.
He asked me…if I really wanted to, could I set off in 2nd?
To which I said ‘..yeah technically you can set off in any gear, but its not good for the bike.’
Turns out he just heard ‘yeah…’
And …so off he started in 2nd,
I’m always willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt… but I think that’s beginning to change.
So …simple idea, follow the cars in front. There were 3 cars, and we were following the 2nd one…. But by the time we got out of the sports complex we were already in last position.
Turn right, and then turn left at the traffic lights…however somehow my colleague that was driving…is somehow in the right hand lane at the traffic lights he’s supposed to be turning left at. And I’m like ‘you know we’re turning left right?’
‘Oh yeah, ok.’
I’m starting to think that he thought I knew where we were going, not that we were following the 3 cars.
He proceeded to drive…poorly would be a good way to put it. Dangerously would be another, maybe more precise way.
Starting in 2nd at every traffic light, changing quickly up to 4th or 5th gear, in 4th gear at 40km/h… on my bike you should be in 2nd. Not looking in his mirrors or checking blind spots, riding way to close to the side of the road, and then going 80 in 5th and not changing up to 6th. , oh and then …seemingly forgetting to put the clutch in to change gears…so thinking he has, but in fact he hadn’t…so revving it in 4th.
Also generally when you come to traffic lights you use engine braking, therefore you’ll be in the right gear when you get to the traffic lights and its safer because you have more control of the bike… but oh no, not this guy.
Late braking, sharp cornering, just putting on the back brake….arriving at the traffic lights in 4th gear. …oh my god.
Anyway, I was shouting at one point… ‘you have to start in 1s !!’, …probably at the time that he’s trying to pull off the traffic lights in 4th. And saying things constantly like ‘watch out’, ‘there’s the cars, they’re going left…they’re going straight now’
Needless to say after one particular episode of me saying you got to go faster… you’re going to lose the cars we’re following’ and him saying ‘ are we going left?’
‘What? No, we’re following the cars…’
And then we lost the cars… they had gone through 1 set of traffic lights, and had turned left at the next one or something, but we didn’t know any of that because my colleague had got himself stuck behind a truck.
Anyway, finally we get to the 1st set and he says, ‘where do we go?’
Well I don’t know, YOU lost the cars you idiot.
But of course I didn’t say that… I said, ‘ok stop, pull over, and I’ll ring someone’ (I had to turn on the indicator …oh and the light at the start…because clearly its more safe if people can see you, especially if you are a black bike on the side of the road, at night. And many Chinese drivers don’t have their lights on either.
Finally got the directions, at which point I said ‘right, I’m driving’ and he genuinely looked surprised.
Which I would have laughed at given the context, but I was too angry for that.
As I was driving, and him on the back with my phone giving me directions, to which he managed to say something like… ‘you took a wrong turn’ with me thinking… who the fuck is looking at the map, and meant to be telling me where to go? huh?
Anyway, he’s now on the back going… ‘slower slower , its coming up… ‘ to which I’m thinking… we’re in complete darkness.. and we’re looking for the restaurant in a shopping mall… how about we slow down when we can see the shopping mall? But no, he wasn’t having an of that..
Finally got to the restaurant but now, because I was driving… my other colleagues all think it was my fault. Anyway…
Someone inevitably asked how was my colleague’s driving, did he drive fast? To which I said ‘no’.. but thought, fast isn’t the question…unsafe is more the question, and that answer is definitely yes.
And then they asked my colleague how was my driving, to which he said ‘fast…I think when its night time you need to be more safe’
Safe? Safe? Wtf man? How do you have the audacity to comment about driving safely when it was you that couldn’t concentrate on following 3 cars, and driving at the same time, in fact you couldn’t even concentrate on driving safely at all.
Plus in my opinion…to a point anyway, driving fast doesn’t have anything to do with driving safely…
And on the flip side, just because someone drives slowly, it doesn’t mean that they’re a safe driver.
I’ve got family members that proves that not to be the case.
I mean by that logic, old people are fantastic drivers… and I’m pretty sure that’s not true.
Driving safely is more about actually concentrating on your surroundings.. being familiar with your vehicle and…actually driving safely… not about speed. (again within limits)
He said to me… ‘I think you should drive more slowly, considering that its dark. ‘
True, I was going 90-100 in an 80 zone, but … it was a 2-lane major road, separated by a barrier from the other side… with no other cars on the road, and I was on the outside lane so that if someone did pull out.. I had enough distance.
Don’t forget he is saying this , knowing that he had just been driving really slowly, next to the curb, had just lost not 1, but 3 cars he was meant to be following and was completely willing to drive without lights on or use indicators…in the dark.
Idiocy. Pure idiocy.
I realise if everyone is driving slowly, there is less chance of big crashes… but that doesn’t mean there’s less chance of crashes full stop. Because even though they’re driving slowly…they’re also driving incredibly unsafely.
Most people are on their phone when they drive, I’m sure many people have bribed there way to pass their license, if you learn how to drive a motorbike in china.. they don’t actually give you any real lessons…, I’ve seen people reading books…actual books in stop start traffic.. and as I was finishing the rest of my journey last night I saw another motorbike driver using his phone whilst turning a corner.
I don’t even know how that Is possible… I mean sure he was driving slowly… (and for once he actually had the green light) but… I don’t think it can be said that because he was driving slowly he was driving safely.
I’ve often heard that Chinese people just have a different logic than other people.
I think no.
First of all some Chinese people have ‘normal logic’. Few, but some,
And no. logic is logic, if you’re given all the same information.. logically…provided you’ve thought about things rationally…you should come to the same answers.
And this is clearly not the case.
The only way that this IS the case, is that sure, they’ve got the same information…but they haven’t provided rationality to their thinking… and therefore have come to a different answer. ie. the wrong answer.
Let me just say though in summary….the stereotype is definitely true.