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Driving report and driving license Tuk-Tuk
Driving report and driving license Tuk-Tuk
Thailand’s tuk-tuk drivers and their companions have to survive in the cities’ traffic mega-melts every day. MOTORRAD editor Rolf Henniges tried out how such a moto rickshaw drives in Chiang Mai
The proverbial postage stamp would have found it difficult to fit in between. On the right a dented Toyota pickup, on the left two aggressive small cars chasing past. We lurch through a tin box chaos familiar from Bruce Willis films. In the front one forced braking chases the next, in the back incessant honking is annoying. My driver feels right at home. He laughs, bobs his head to the sound of music that only he hears. Or maybe heard it on the radio this morning.
On the other hand, I have to cope with the traffic meltdown first. Squat cramped on the passenger bench of a motorized rickshaw, or tuk-tuk for short. My whereabouts: Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city, located in the north of the country. The driver, it seems, can read the minds of other road users. But apparently everyone who asserts themselves in the chaotic traffic of Asia can do that.
Chiang Mai in figures: 350,000 inhabitants, over 300 temples, 9,000 cars, 31,000 two-wheelers and around 1,200 tuk-tuk. Added to this are (roughly estimated) a billiards for Europeans illegible characters and unpronounceable names. Example: Somchai Sereeratvipachai. That’s the name of my fearless chauffeur. “Just say Mau
to me, ”he smiles when I reward him.
40 baht, the equivalent of 80 cents, for twelve minutes of adventure. For a distance of three kilometers, on which I almost died four times of fear, my bladder withheld spontaneous emptying, the stomach wanted to send its filling back and the pores pressed out half a liter of sweat. What less with the 38 degrees in the shade,
but had to do with the volume of traffic and the driving style of the rickshaw pilot. Although, it can’t be that difficult, can it?
“Very dangerous,” says Mau and smiles mischievously. “You need driving license.” but laughed if I didn’t get the tuk-tuk driver’s license. After all, as a motorcycle tester, I am experienced in handling any type of vehicle between 0.5 and 250 hp. One idea, two men, two promises. The adventure can come.
The next day, Mau picks me up at the hotel. 9 a.m., 26 degrees, traffic escalates. We wind our way through the tin bustle, after 20 minutes we reach a gray building with a large courtyard that is half-heartedly protected by a buckled, rusted fence. The front door is colorless and cracked. But has a handle. It was trendy around 30 years ago and opens up a corridor with 19 glass doors, behind which bored faces peer into the day.
“Driver’s license office here,” says Mau. He hands me a questionnaire. Ten questions. In Thai. Well, it will probably take some time until you have mastered the language. We enter the yard. On an area of around 200 square meters, 28 are not only tortured by the sun
Pylons erected. The arrangement looks a bit like MOTORRAD top test. Seven figures who look little like tuk-tuk drivers are busy with seven little-like tuk-tuk-looking companions to cross the pylon forest without serious accidents.
Bluish two-stroke smoke hovers over the scenery. It is frantically jacked off,
Lawlessly jostled, anarchist accelerated and rebelliously parked. Everything is normal, explains Mau. After all, you have to prepare for reality. Any resident of Thailand who would get up in the morning with the inspiration of being able to drive a tuk-tuk,
may do this after passing the driving test. Thailand is democratic and has a population of 62 million. The tuk-tuks
nobody has counted yet. But the ten
tricky exam questions, says Mau, they would be the wheat from the chaff
separate. And the driving test even more, parking, reversing, turning and so on, well, not everyone can do that. Those who survive the ordeal of the test will be given a driver’s license for a fee. 55 baht, valid for one year. I am tempted. 1.10 euros for 365 days of driving something like bumper cars ?? what more do you want? The child in me says, do it. My curiosity says: try it. My boss says on the phone: come back. But safe.
An hour later. We are standing on a huge earth square. Ruts run through the ground, two trees at the edge cast sparse shadows. I sit in the driver’s seat, receive the final instructions from Mau. Seven switches are attached to a green sheet of aluminum that serves as a console. They could come from the 1970s heavy-duty collection from Conrad electronic and activate hazard warning lights, interior and exterior lights
Exterior lighting and windshield wipers.
The ignition key is similar to that of a tractor from the sixties. No speedometer,
no tachometer. But battery charging-
control. Reports with a squeaking noise
the engine has its say. Make: Daihatsu, two cylinders in line, two-stroke, 353 cm3, liquid gas powered, separate lubrication. The carburetor is controlled via the throttle and cable. Each spin is accompanied by a sound that could have come from a crumpled trumpet. The tuk-tuk is controlled via a boomerang-shaped handlebar, which is directly connected to the bike via a fork bridge and fork. Mau is more excited
as I, quickly explaining the interplay between foot clutch and manual gearshift, then hurries across the square under one of the two trees, squinting my eyes and waving my hand through the air. Looks like
he expect a horrific explosion.
Here we go. eyes shut and go for it.
The throttle response is fantastic. Short shoot, spontaneous roar. Typically two-stroke. Left the clutch, right the brake. Pedals that one in a
Bulldozer expected. But then the first surprise: The clutch is as smooth as if cotton balls were being pressed in. Right hand on the throttle, left
on the gear knob, four-speed gate like in a car. First in, clutch out, full throttle.
When Maus Tuk-Tuk left the plant in Bangkok at the end of the sixties, the two-cylinder sent around 20 hp to the rear axle via the cardan shaft. That was long ago. Nevertheless: Both rear tires spin briefly, after five seconds of driving the engine screeches for second gear. The handlebar, made of solid steel by the way, vibrates violently. Every bump approached at an angle thwarts the targeted course, and muscle strength has to be corrected. I switch through to the fourth. Feels like 250 km / h. In reality something around the 80th. Second surprise: The brakes are also easy to use. The pedal has 80 percent free travel. On the last two centimeters, a cable pull struggles to press toothless linings against two brake drums. How was that with the hidden messages in the job reference? He tried hard…
It is the latest braking point of my two-wheeler career to date. Rolling wildly and on two wheels, I circle a concrete pipe, the rear left wheel is back on the ground, I proudly start to drive eight, circle two points. Shift, clutch, brake? No mechanical puzzle has ever presented itself to me with such resistance. You can even drive backwards. However, it has in common with going to the gym. The front tire, size 5.00-9, has a cushioning-friendly 0.9 bar and is as easy to steer as a regular bus,
in which the power steering has failed.
Park briefly between the two
Trees, front, back, jacked up.
“No problem,” says Mau. “Great. You’re guaranteed to pass the exam. ”Sure, I think, and a plan is ripening in my imagination. Quickly learn Thai, buy a tuk-tuk, emigrate … If I want to go back, he asks. A quick look at the traffic: Another Bruce Willis film seems to be being made. Thank you,
maybe another time. Mau smiles, turns in and switches through. 60, 70, 80 km / h. Brakes. Threading. Again, a maximum of the stamp fits in between.
History of the Moto-Rischka
The development of the rickshaws, originally from India, includes four
Levels: The hand-drawn cart replaced the cycle rickshaw at the end of the 1930s. The first auto rickshaws, known as tuk-tuks or bajaj, appeared in the mid-sixties. In the course of this motorization, the mostly self-built moto rickshaws (see photos) were added. These are sawn-up mopeds and motorcycles with hair-raising constructions for passenger transport and sometimes with a negative steering head angle. Both processing and
Condition are often creepy and anything but
Inspiring confidence. However, the experience factor during a trip is extremely high.
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