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A Brief Ode To The Moped

I learn to love the moped.

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I used to hate these things. Mopeds.

I always regarded them as a major urban annoyance — another thing to dodge when walking, another thing polluting the city with their smoke-spewing two-stroke engines.

But then I actually used one.

For a month on Kinmen I had a moped.

Yes, I’d underestimated this form of transport. It is really the ultimate form of warm climate transportation. They are fast – I could go 90 km/hr on the one I was using — they are small and versatile, can be packed into small places, and are incredibly cheap to operate. I believe I could fill the tank for two bucks.

The thing was incredible. I mean, I really enjoyed riding it. It was just … fun. It also allowed me to take a closer look at the place that I was in, providing me with a deeper impression. It was fast enough to get places and easy enough to slow down and stop enough to pull over and get out wherever I chose. For my work, it allowed me to collect a larger amount and a broader range of content.

The moped has many of the benefits of traveling on a bicycle without some of the drawbacks. Riding a bicycle long distance is a slow, boring, isolating, dangerous, tiring dirge that you can’t even get any travel cred for it because everybody is doing it.

Mopeds — and, yes, ebikes — are perhaps  the ultimate commuter vehicle for the urban working class. Cities should be designed around them rather than these mass-public transit systems. No matter how good and technologically advanced public transportation can be, it’s still going to suck.


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Filed under: Kinmen, Motorcycle Travel, Travel Diary

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3720 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

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