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70cc motorbike riden around a farm in pakistan

Pakistani biker culture – Haroon’s adventures in eastern Punjab

The beaten track and no track at all!


At 35 years old, adventure doesn’t come more fun than riding around on the variety of “road” surfaces on a 70cc motorcycle. I can imagine most of you thinking of this isn’t  really a motorbike adventure, and you might be right!, but then I’m not really a biker so when in Pakistan I always try to have a go to remind me that maybe I should get round to doing my biking test and move onto new two-wheeled horizons!

 

I wanted to jump on to a bike almost as soon as we landed in Pakistan but it wasn’t until I’d said hello to all my family (which incidentally took a lot longer than it should have) that I managed to get close to getting onto one of those beautiful, generic, red 70cc pieces of trash motorbikes. Being a passenger on one, riding along on the stupidly busy roads of Faisalabad, I can understand why my relatives were reluctant to let me just have at it and get straight out onto the road. First I had to practice.

 

Thrashing around the town

My younger cousin took me out to one of the many housing developments being made where there was a huge empty space with a brand new road surface on it. I’m not gonna lie, I couldn’t kickstart it firstly and then I stalled it the first few times I did manage to get the engine going but then it was like I’d been riding for years. Thrashed it around this weird development, throttling to the max and racing through the new road complex having an absolute blast!

 

After that I rode it on my mum’s family farm on some dirt with the sound of the engine buzzing so brutally & annoyingly loud but who cares when you’re having a great time?

 

Not exactly legal

children on motorbike in Pakistan

Photo: Haroon Mushtak

Motorbikes are a huge part of Pakistan, often you see young children riding them about or a family of 5 (!) on a previous visit I honestly saw two men and a goat on a motorcycle. I wonder what their motorbike adventure was? I was taught to ride a motorbike by my younger cousin about twenty years ago on the farm.

A lot of the fun came along with having the wind in your hair, not something you can do legally in a lot of places in the world. I guess telling yourself that ‘it’s only a 70cc motorbike, how bad can it get if I fall off’ didn’t stop me. I really wanted to do some city street riding but every single family member vetoed it. I did some last time I was there but Faisalabad has gotten even more crazy busy. So I  made the most of being a passenger on the bikes and insisted being taken to stuff on them as much as possible. You should see how close the traffic gets to each other. Seas of motorcycles followed by every other type of vehicle, including donkey and carts all trying to nudge themselves ever closer to the direction they want to go in irrelevant of whether you’re in the way or not. This means sometimes that you’re literally rubbing knees together with random strangers but it’s all good because what else can you do?

Adventures in Pakistan

If you ever happen to come across yourself in Faisalabad I would say try riding a motorbike around Cherry Bazaar if you have the courage. There are also some great long roads running parallel to the waterways and river as well as some more inner city roads like Susan Road too.

 

Next time I’ll tell you about desert motorbike adventures!

 

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