A Lombok Scooter Experience gone wrong

So we had an eventful start to the year.

Saturday 14th January 2023 started like any other morning for us in Lombok.

I slowly pull up the blinds to our bedroom window. The view that greets me takes my breath away – a lush green, tropical valley stretches out before me, bathed in the soft early morning sun. The air is alive with the sound of nature – the gentle chirping of birds, the buzzing of insects, and the distant clucking of chickens all add to the serene ambiance. This is why I chose to make my home in Lombok – to reconnect with the beauty and simplicity of nature, to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, and to live a simpler life.  I get to experience this every morning.

My wife and I have breakfast overlooking the valley and Lombok strait.  It’s a clear morning and Mt Agung on Bali dominates the skyline.  After breakfast, we pack our small sling bags for our ritual of going down to Senggigi beach for our morning walk and swim.

Since my heart attack, I’ve committed to trying to do an hour of movement exercise in nature daily. Sometimes less, sometimes more, but it is my personal commitment to living a healthier life.

We jump on our scooter for the short ride down to the beach.

For those who have visited Asia, you will know scooter culture dominates. Trying to cross the street in a big city like Jakarta is not for the faint-hearted.  Thousands and thousands of scooters are everywhere.

Lombok is different. It’s a small island. You don’t experience peak hour traffic and people are much more relaxed. But there are lots of scooters.

Scooter culture in Lombok

I love riding my scooter in Lombok. At age 57, the thrill of getting onto a scooter and riding the coastal road is breathtaking and liberating.

Coming from South Africa where we don’t have a scooter culture it’s so much fun to live in a place where scooters are a major part of life.  The word “motor” in Indonesian is a motorcycle, not a car.

There is something exciting about opening the throttle and having the rush of wind in your face as the machine pulls away.  Motorbike riders will know what I’m talking about.

Doing this on a tropical island where you are sandwiched between a blue turquoise ocean on the one side and a lush green tropical forest on the other side is just magical.

Coastal road north of Senggigi

So, back to our Saturday morning. We head down to the beach and I decide I’m going to take my wife for a scooter riding lesson.

She has been saying how this new bike we have is too big for her. I drive past the turnoff to the beach.

“Where are we going?” She asks.

“I’m taking you for a riding lesson,” I respond with a smile on my face.

“I’m not ready. This bike is too big for me. You should have told me.”

The lady doth protest too much methinks.

I take her to a secluded area where there’s not much traffic.

One last appeal from her. “This bike is too big for me.”

“No, it’s not. You got this.” Famous last words.

I dismount the bike remove my helmet and tell her to take the bike down the road.

The scene is set.

What can go wrong?

She slowly pulls away and her figure becomes smaller as she heads down the road with the sun reflecting off her bright pink helmet. She reaches the T junction about 100 metres from me.  The moment of truth. Can she navigate the U-turn to come back?

She makes a tight turn and heads back toward me. Phew, a sigh of relief…

As she pulls up next to me I encouragingly  say: “You managed that turn very well.”

She has a hesitant look on her face and then slowly… She falls over with this big scooter.

I can’t believe what just happened. As she lies in the road, moaning, holding her arm I move around the scooter to help her sit up. 

“Are you all right?”

“I told you this bike was too big for me.”

“But you were doing so well. Did you hurt yourself?”

She pulls her leg out from under the bike and sits up.

I move around the bike to pick it up. Grabbing the handlebars I pull up this heavy piece of machinery. It’s heavy so I need to use some effort.

The bike is not turned off.

For those who are familiar with motorbikes know what happens next.

Because I’m gripping the throttle as I lift up the bike 20Nm of Honda PCX torque kicks in and the machine takes off with me hanging on for dear life.

It all happens quickly. I feel myself flying behind the bike. It’s out of control. My brain can’t react quickly enough.  Let go of the throttle!!!

My body hits the ground, first my knee then my arm, my shoulder, my leg.

I can feel myself bouncing around on the hard brick road surface.

And then I let go. I end up rolling in the road.

The bike slams into a palm tree.

Lying in the road I look back at my wife. She witnessed the whole incident. She’s sitting in the middle of the road, a look of shock and horror on her face.

I manage to stand up. I get to the bike. Switch it off.

She comes to help me pick up the bike.

My adrenaline is pumping. I see blood and scrapes on my body. I can feel my chest dilating. I don’t feel pain. 

We get on the bike and head back home.  No swim in the ocean today.

Practical lesson: If you fall with an automatic scooter, switch it off before you attempt to pick it up.

Should I be riding a scooter with my wife at the age of 57?

Absolutely, yes.

The pleasure and enjoyment I get from this form of transport in Lombok are what beautiful memories are made of. The excitement I get from opening the throttle on the coastal road makes my day more pleasurable. My Honda PCX is more than a mode of transport for me.

It has been two weeks since the incident and I haven’t yet been back on the bike.

My wounds are healing nicely and I’m starting to walk normally again.

What I have realized is for the last two weeks, I haven’t been able to go take my walk in nature. I haven’t been able to go swimming in the ocean.

This incident has taken away two weeks of experiences I will never be able to get back. 14 days of precious memories in nature are gone.

For that I am sad.

How many days of memories have you missed by living a busy life?

My wife Mariam, with a smaller scooter and her bright pink helmet

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  1. Wow. You are very brave and adventurous in your travel with your wife to Lombok. Me and my wife hiked Mount Rinjani a few years ago and had the chance to visit Lombok too. We didn’t not rent a scooter to move us around then but I should have. I’m also 50 plus this year and your post makes me feel that we only live once. Let’s go! 

    1. Author

      Hi HT thanks for visiting my site and so nice to hear that you visited Lombok. It is a really beautiful place to come and reconnect and live a simple life.  We are thoroughly enjoying our new life here.

  2. Hi, it is a great pleasure reading your post. I’m planning to visit Lombok soon and still searching for the best way to spend my time there. Is it okay if I just rent a scooter and went for my ‘adventure’ or need to hire a travel agent?

    1. Author

      Hi Linda, apologies about the delayed response, I was offline due to being admitted to hospital. If you are comfortable with a scooter then its a great way to explore the island. When will be planning to visit? I will send you an email with my contact details for more information.

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