Your Lombok experience will go up ten-fold if you explore the area on a scooter. The sense of freedom you get from having the fresh air In your face and hearing all the sounds around you of nature is truly unforgettable.
So you want to ride a scooter. Fantastic.
The firs thing you want to do is find someone who can ride one to show you. Your accommodation provider may be able to show you if they have spare staff available. Big disclaimer here: If you cannot afford to pay for $500 worth of damage. Do not ride on a scooter. This will be the maximum you will ever pay for falling off and scratching it up. As most of the locals do not have insurance for their scooters – you will have to pay for the damage.
Scooters are available for rent for 50,000-70,000RPH ($5-$7) per day. We also recommend that you take a video of the scooter you hire before you use it and take it for a quick spin within view of the owner to feel for anything that could be wrong with the bike. Whilst the locals are friendly people – not all are looking after your best interest so take this safety precaution to ensure your stay is as enjoyable as possible.
You can find tips for finding a scooter and conducting proper checks before you hire one in our blog here.
The biggest tips we have for learners are below;
- Learn on flat ground. We find that hard sand is the best because if you fall the sand will give way and lessen the impact.
- When you first start practice moving at the speed it takes to just get your feet off the ground. This will ensure that you get a real feel for the ‘tipping’ point of the scooter. This is also a really good opportunity to get a feel for the brakes on the scooter. Whilst moving at this crawl speed get a feel for how the right hand brakes and the left hand brakes feel. Slowly work your way to using them both.
- Your next lesson will be in accelerating and stopping. Now that you know how to balance the bike without having your feet on the ground. Its time to get a feel for how to stop quickly. In this exercise you are going to accelerate to 20km/h and then jam on the front and back brakes to see how fast you can stop. Its important to note that putting to much pressure on the front brakes may cause the scooter to ‘endo’ – where the back tyre lifts of the ground and you go over the handlebars. So its really important to get a feel for the brakes. Keep practicing this working your way up to 50km/h.
- Now that you can accelerate and brake quickly you are ready to practice turning. Like driving a car – you always slow down for turns. When you are learning you should be going at crawling pace and have your legs out to help guide you. The best advice someone gave me was to slowly accelerate out of corners. This increases the downward pressure of the bike and increases grip. Just make sure you do not give it full throttle when the roads are wet.
- Once you learn how to turn confidently without putting your feet down on the ground you are ready to try riding on the road. We recommend doing this in a quieter area where there are not a lot of cars – this way you don’t have anything else to worry about other than practicing.
Good luck and safe scoots.