Skills of parking and driving through frenetic, tight passages, all the while maintaining clean and undamaged cars and scooters, can without much reservation be ascribed to the Taiwanese.
Thus, I am often curious why people so adept at driving motorized vehicles portray such awkwardness when operating bicycles. Almost as certain as I am to witness a bike being ridden in a swerving, drunken fashion as I am to be pushed and cut in front of by an old, short Taiwanese woman on her “I deserve a seat” dash into a bus. (That’s pretty certain, by the way.)
I used to suspect that a heavy-laden basket and seats set too low on the frame were the causes of ‘drunk fu’ bike-riding, but now, after being nearly plowed down by a basket-less bike, I point the blame at the riders themselves.
In the West, our saying, “It’s like riding a bike”, is encouraging; a way to assure someone that if he ever knew how to do something, he will always be able to do it. In Taiwan, I likely would wince at this saying. At best, whatever action it adorned would be unstable and unpredictable; at worst, erratically bobbing to either side of a spectrum and likely to crash.