I use something almost daily here in Thailand that I never saw, not once in America.
Shown below parked in front of my office and the Waterfall Museum is perhaps one of the best and smartest purchases that I have made, maybe in my entire life. This was a used bike that I bought in Bangkok probably close to 20-years ago. It was a Honda 4-speed in great condition except for the speedometer cable that was broken. When I retired to D&G Resort, a homemade sidecar was added. I probably have about $700 in the whole kit and caboodle. And the speedometer is still broken.
I use it every day as a service vehicle/farm truck/taxi/ grocery getter and never travel more than a few miles from home. Some of the locals tease me about my driving as I hardly ever take the bike out of 4th gear. I just twist and go, albeit slowly.
Yes, America has motorcycles with sidecars, but the ones that I have seen are fancy and decked out with lots of chrome, leather seats, fancy wheels and even the occasional cup holder. They look great but unfortunately, these rides are not very practical for daily use.
My favorite drive is the winding road alongside the Nan River that passes by our place on the way to a small town. It’s only about two miles one way, but it is a chance to see some of the old Thailand that still remains in 2021. Luckily, I splurged with the addition of a luxurious bucket seat which allows our occasional guests to sit back and relax as we tour the countryside.
Thais call these contraptions ‘salaengs’ (pronounced saw ling) and oddly enough not all Thais know how to drive them as they take a bit of practice to get use to. Regardless, there are tons of these sidecars seen both in rural areas and cities being put to work. I have seen everything from various animals, school children, food, building supplies or monks being transported from here to there. The list goes on and on.
Thailand can be confusing at times and these three-wheel motorcycles are no different. Legally, I don’t think any of them are supposed to be on the public roads; but the officials never say anything and for once I’m glad that this particular law is not enforced. For many families, this means of transportation is the only one they have. Shown below is a family whose vehicle had broken down, so we stopped and gave them a ride to their village.
Personally, I think that if Americans would give this multi-purpose motor vehicle a chance; they would wonder how they ever got along without one...