I've got a new bicycle, after nearly three years without. How did I survive that long? I really don't know. It's nice to be back in the saddle.
That said, I've really enjoyed and continue to enjoy the awesome Honda Wave 125i that I acquired a little over two years ago. (Yes, there was nearly a year without personal wheels of any kind.) That said, here are some differences.
With a Bicycle...
I Can See More
As I am not sitting in a chair-style position but more up and forward. Also the helmet does not obscure my vision (since I don't have a helmet). And also, since the pace is a bit slower (though in some cases not much), there is more time to view the surroundings.
It is Quieter
Stunning difference even though my Honda 125i is not very noisy. But the lack of any engine sound whatsoever is refreshing and allows the mind to focus on the natural sounds, such as birds and other creatures stirring about.
It Is Less Expensive
Maybe. If the purchase price is included it is likely less expensive, but the bicycle gear does add up, things like shoes, various custom elements, and ongoing equipment replacement (break pads, gloves, etc.) On the other hand, the every two weeks purchase of 80 THB in gasoline, every six month oil change, etc. does add up on the motorbike, as well as licensing and insurance (yearly) and the original purchase price (36,000 THB). Plus, I get more flats on the motorbike that the bicycle. Those are 100 THB for tube replacement, which adds up over time.
It may very well be that the per km costs for these two vehicles could be the same.
Yes, there is little in the way of exercise on those motorbikes. It is fairly simple to test this. Eyeball the average width of the midsection of someone on a motorbike vs. a bicycle. Dramatic comparison. In fact the global problem of increased obesity may be due to motorized vehicle use.
Ah, the fumes, they just don't exist on a bicycle. The environment and your fellow travelers should thank you profusely every day. Anyone who dares honk their horns at a bicyclist should hang their head in shame and ask forgiveness. For it is they who are selfishly contributing to the destruction of the environment, not to mention taking up a lot more space on the road, and are the real menace in terms of accidents.
With a Motorcycle...
Sometimes. The motorcycle can go faster, on average, over longer distances. However, anything within a 15 minute range or not accessible by faster roads, I can beat on a bicycle. City Moat to Nimman? I own it on pedals. Chiang Mai to Doi Pui? Yes, the motorbike can get there faster, obviously, but, it is a different experience. Going up with the girlfriend for some shopping and a nice ride?.. motorbike. Going up at the end of the day for some amazing exercise?.. bicycle. Hands down.
Obviously the range on a motorbike is that much greater, due to the speeds possible. Going out to Sansei for me means motorbike. Or even Tesco Lotus, which is fairly close, but the carrying capacity of the motorbike is much better.
With a motorcycle it is possible to wear more professional or formal wear, as well as waterproof over-garments to protect clothes from the rain. In some kinds of cases, a particular social presentation is necessary for successful outcomes (well-dressed, well-groomed, not sweating). Even if I am going somewhere close by, if it is for a business meeting, it is best to use the motorcycle.
Without a car...
I Don't Need No Stinkin' Car
And neither do you... Oh, you may think you do, but it is entirely possible to organize a lifestyle, a life-work geography so that cars do not have to be a daily or weekly part of your life. When I moved two months ago I needed the services of a pickup truck for 1/2 an hour. This month, when my business partner and I visited our accountant at their main office for the yearly audit, we traveled in his car. Those are the two times I have been inside such vehicles in the last two months. If I need to take a bus out of town, I use the local transportation to get around, and these are usually tuk-tuks.
I can't wait for the developed world to catch onto the fact that the developing world has the answer to much of global warming: don't take airplanes and don't drive cars. It's really that simple.