Our first big purchase.

A.K.A. I help send my Mother to an early grave.

So we got our first payment, and debated on our first major purchase. We figure if we stay in Li Xian for two years, the cost of bus fare and taxi rides back home would end up being very costly in the long term. So once we figured on that, the debate came to a close.

This baby seats two and gets 100 kilometers on a full charge. That is about 62 miles for you in America. Top speed is 25 mph/40 kph. Yes, its an electric scooter and they are very popular in town. We can’t use it to get to any of the neighboring towns, for that we’ll still need to use the bus. However it’ll be great for getting around inside the town. Since it is electric, we do not need a licence to drive it. Had we purchased a gas powered motorcycle, we would have needed to get one. I’m guessing its due to the fact the motorcycle would be able to go much faster.

There is quite a bit of security for the bike. First you’ve got the key you need to start it. However, there is a sliding cover for the keyhole which you need to unlock first. So the key for the bike actually has a second key on it. Then you’ve got the alarm on it which will sound if anything is placed on the seat of the bike. Even if you were to place a towel on it, it’ll go off as Amanda found out. Then you’ve got the tire lock. A sturdy metal U-shape that goes through the tire and has a locking bar that goes across either end. It makes it so the tire can’t rotate.

Driving around town is a combination of ultra-defensive driving plus playing chicken with everyone else. You’ve go to constantly be aware of other cars, bicycles, motorcycles, scooters, and people who will happily just run right out in front of you. So you always need to be ready to move out of the way, and know you have room to do so. Failing that, be ready to stop. There are no signs or street lights at any of the intersections, so its basically an art of weaving a path through everyone else to get to the otherside. Cars have a harder time since they need a bigger hole but bikes can slip through.

The main issue is balance. The bike wasn’t exactly built with two Americans riding on it in mind. The slower we go the harder it becomes to stay straight and sometimes I have to use my feet to maintain balance. But so far the only accident involved was when the bike was stationary. I didn’t get the kickstand fully deployed and it fell over. Only superficial damage done, so it atleast blends in better with everyone elses here.