Cycling Phnom Penh to Siem Reap – motorcycling, that is.

In November of last year, Tyler and Kevin took a motorcycling course to get their formal M2 license for riding a motorcycle in Canada. After a long hiatus, they decided to put those skills into action in Cambodia. Riding here is not at all like riding in a parking lot in Scarborough, and they’ve got the photos to prove it. (Disclaimer: Kevin has been riding a motorcycle since he was approx 15, so he was the experienced safety captain of this operation – leading, worrying, and teaching Tyler the ropes of countryside riding).

My brothers were visiting us here for 10 days, which encapsulated only one proper weekend. We spent that weekend in Siem Reap, visiting the various incredible temples and history of Angkor (more to come on that). To get there, Kristopher and I hopped on a 6 hour air-conditioned van ride. Meanwhile, Tyler and Kevin rented motorcycles for the weekend, and they met us Siem Reap after a 7 hour trek through the countryside traffic of Cambodia (in 37 degree heat!).

I asked Kevin to tell me what the riding was like and he said this:

After riding motorcycles on three different continents, I can say that our Cambodia trip was the dustiest and hottest that I’ve yet to contend. When there was a road surface it was slippery, and when there wasn’t a road, the scene was littered with massive potholes and the dust gave close to zero visibility. No gas bar service stations to be seen! While I was a bit nervous taking Tyler out at rush hour, there’s nothing better for learning than being thrown into the frying pan like that. This is an experience that couldn’t be replicated in North America or Europe. Tyler performed well and I’m looking forward to our next road trip.

The great thing about them riding motorcycles to Siem Reap was that the 4 of us were then able to motorcycle all around the Angkor temples together. With me giving directions à la Kevin’s cell phone, we were able to get around and remain independent. I was also able to capture a couple of videos of my brothers doing some very cool things. This, for example:

After two days of driving KP and I all around, Kevin and Tyler rode back to Phnom Penh on Monday morning.

Of course, while KP and I spent our trips there and back watching the Simpsons on my laptop, their trip was much more eventful. It included buying gas out of glass bottles from a woman sitting on the side of the road, getting completely covered in red clay from the unpaved roads, dealing with Cambodian traffic (re: left hand turners driving in the oncoming lane to reach their destination), chickens on motorcycles, kids and adults alike staring at them and wishing them “good luck”, and a little bit of rain. At one point they met some kids when they stopped to eat their snacks. They offered some cookies to the kids, who then walked away with the whole box – cookie bandits!

The end result of all this? Some good stories to tell, and approx 1000 more kilometres of motorcycling experience under their belts.

Check out the photos of their bad-assery below:

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