im really disapointed in fellow motorbike travelers


May 27, 2007
Im a single girl (26yr old) motorbike traveler, who at the moment is traveling around Laos. The other day i was coming back from Phongsali to Udomxai. It was one hell of a trip, i was covered in mud as it had been raining for a few days.

I saw another fellow motorbike traveler coming my way, so i skidded to a stop. He might have not seen me stop, but his/her friend who was behind them, deffinatly had seen me stop.

But they just kept going..... like they were the only ones in the world.

This has happened to me a few times in Thailand and Laos. I would have thought, since we were off the main road, not going that fast that we could take the time and share information or just meet a person with the same interest as you.

I seam to be meeting and sharing th best information with cyclist. Go figure.


Nov 17, 2004
There are no protocols for passing bikers but as far as I am concerned, if a biker is stopped by the road, then you should stop and make sure they need no assistance. If you are simply riding and another biker crosses your path or overtakes, it is not needed to stop. If I stopped at every person on a bike, I most likely would have been running late and in the dark some days.

Sometimes I have passed by other riders on a road without a thought to stop as my focus is in sweep radar mode here in Laos, what has passed me is not as important as what is still ahead on the road. Now on off road dirt sections, I will stop as it is a bit more out there and a quick check on the other rider is important. If you need info or assistance when riding, I say that it is up to you to reverse direction and catch up to the other rider. This does not always work.

Motorcycling is a rider sport, solo or in groups, you are always alone when you pull the throttle. Also remember that maybe the other rider didn't see you or recognized you were a falang - quite possible as we don't wear name badges and when we are covered in mud as you say, we all look alike. How many Lao riders did you stop for?
When I was in Laos I didn't meet any other bike travellers, in the sense of bikers having come over land. There are quite a number of people riding bikes in Laos and even more in Thailand, but they won't stop for another biker any more than a biker in Europe or any other western country would.

Then you get the folks who rent bikes, often Honda Bajas. I suspect most of them aren't bikers in the true sense, in that they just rent the bikes as cheap transport. I stopped waving at them, because they don't wave back, mostly.

In one month in Laos I haven't seen a single overland bike, apart from the three who entered with me from China. In Thailand I have met about 4 or 5 in over two months.

Stay in touch, I'm in Mae Sot. Perhaps we'll meet on the road somewhere.



Mar 5, 2006
I passed a group of HDs riding in from Thailand east of Sisaphong in Cambo last week.
Malay, I believe, as they had their numbers decalled on their w/shields.
I waved as I passed without one response. So be it...
But they were probably hanging on for dear life as the road is so bumpy and they needed both hands on the bars.

RobertH & I were having a well earned lunch in the main street in Luang Prabang last July, when we received a sms from the Guv'nor to look out for 3 650GSs from the Philippines.
As if on cue, they rolled by, Tourateched & Wunderliched up to the armpits.
Robert & I were well impressed.
We waved at them.
But they rode past our bikes, down the main drag and then turned around and parked up at the restaurant beside us.
Again ignoring our calls to join us, they sat down and ate by themselves.

As Jimoi says there are no protocols and each to their own.
We could only laugh and put it down to cubic capacity envy!

So don't get huffy or take it personally, just ride on.


Sep 17, 2006
I wave if I see people in time; if they don't wave back then that says more about them than it does about me.

Performance Bikes magazine (UK) was always negative about waving and it used to make me wonder what other traditional biking habits they may campaign against: tea drinking? Pleasuring ladies?
It's a cultural thing, isn't it? People riding Honda Waves don't wave, do they? It's a means of transport. Only when big bikes are rare does the fraternising spirit develop, because people can feel they are part of a minority or even elite.

I don't read too much any more into whether people wave at me or not. Should I wave a trail bike riders? From what cc onwards? etc.etc.

The fraternity that right now I feel part of are the long distance travellers. Here I can relate to what flan wrote about cyclists. In N Laos on some routes I spent almost as much time talking to cyclists as time riding! At some point I didn't want to stop any more and just waved...


Nov 17, 2004
I'm reminded of my riding in Vietnam, mostly on Highway 1 that runs north to south. I got a bad habit of flipping the middle finger to drivers coming the other way that were either in my lane 80% or forcing me off the road. I later learned that this obscene gesture in our culture means something different at the moment in Vietnam, I was telling other drivers they were number 1. This became clear most of the time when I was making the gesture and the other driver would smile and wave back.

In actuality, it became a joke as Highway 1 became a symbol instead of a number thereafter to me.

Maybe we should all start flipping each other off instead of a salute or wave, at least you'll get someone's attention.

maybe not.