Before going to Greece, I had always been resistant to renting mopeds or scooters, especially in a foreign country. I had heard too many nightmare stories: they’re not safe, they’re too weak to operate on the main roads, they aren’t well maintained and you’ll be left stranded miles from civilization with a worthless piece of junk.
Issues like these always steered me away from moped rentals, favoring public transport, bicycles, or car rentals instead. But while traveling in Greece, I had a change of heart. I don’t know what inspired me more – the high cost of alternative forms of transport or the romantic vision of zipping between the olive groves and ancient ruins as I traversed the Greek country side.
By late morning on my first day on the Cycladic island of Paros, it didn’t matter. I was signing the papers and driving off on my first moped rental.
The experience blew me away. Looking back, I don’t know how I could have ever dismissed this form of transportation before, and I know I’ll be utilizing it again. Here’s why:
They’re Easy to Ride
Mopeds are surprisingly easy to ride. They’re difficult to balance at slower speeds, so once you can figure out how to get started and crank the acceleration, it’s a matter of sitting back, enjoying the ride, and leaning into the occasional turn.
For the wary rider, a five minute practice session in a parking lot can build some confidence on the bike before heading out onto the road.
Access to the Countryside
Mopeds are an excellent way to get out of urban centers and into the countryside. Speeding away from the congestion of the city to the fresh air and open spaces of the country side can provide an interesting contrast and a new point of view on a destination.
Save On Transportation Costs
Compared to other forms of transportation, moped rentals are generally pretty cheap. A sample of daily rates from around the world shows $5 in Vietnam, $15 in Greece, and up to $35 in Hawaii. Not bad for 24 hours of unlimited transportation (Okay, $35 is a little steep…but it is Hawaii after all. ). It’s certainly much less expensive than a rental car once you factor in insurance and a refill at the gas tank.
Also, since mopeds are gas sippers, your overall fuel cost will be minimal.
See More in Less Time
Public transportation is an excellent, cheap way to get around. But flexibility and efficiency generally aren’t words to describe most public transportation systems, especially outside of major cities such as New York and London.
By having the flexibility to go where you want, when you want, you can spend more time sitting on remote beaches, exploring solitary ruins, or walking through picturesque villages and less time waiting for buses and trains.
Enjoy the Freedom of the Open Road
When reliant on a taxis, busses, trains, or tour vans for transportation, you’re at the mercy of the driver who is usually interested in getting you to your final destination without concern for what lies along the way.
A moped gives a sense of freedom of the open road. See an interesting farm house off the side of the road or a stunning overlook? Being in control of your own transportation allow you to pull off, change direction, or spontaneously change your entire route on a whim.
Experience How the Rest of the World Gets Around
photo courtesy of palindrome6996
In the United States, mopeds don’t always have the best reputation. They’re not commonly seen on the road and riding one could possibly even result in some friendly teasing from your friends or fellow motorists.
But this isn’t the case in the rest of the world.
In many other countries, they are the primary form of transportation where cars are either too expensive or don’t make practical sense. Riding a moped while traveling is a great way to experience how much of the rest of the world gets from Point A to Point B.
Simply put, riding a moped is a lot of fun. The open road, the cool breeze, the graceful leans and elegant turns all add to the excitement of riding. So next time you’re traveling and want to get out of the city, hop on board a moped. Rev the engine, ease off the brake, lift your feet up, and let the fun begin.