Sporting a Free Scooter

Ever since I arrived in Korea I wanted to get a scooter.  Just to get around for shopping and to get back and forth to school.  I think all schools in Korea are build up on a steep hill.  I don’t know if this is to “build character” in students – to get them mentally tough before they even get to class, or if it’s something else.  Judging by the “No Pain, No Gain” sign leading into the English classroom at my school, it makes me wonder if I’m right about building character.
In any event, the desire to get a scooter subsided but never went away.  It’s tough because on our salary, taking out chunks of money can be painful.  The cost to buy even a basic used one is a minimum of $500.  Then you still don’t know if some additional money will need to go into it.  Believe me I’ve searched.  I went to about a dozen local shops in my area (Yeoungdo and Nampo-dong) and I also surfed one of the major sites for motorcycle/scooter/vehicle sales in Korea ( endlessly for months.  It all came down to when I would be willing to pull the trigger and take out the money to get one.
That was all until one day when one of my church friends told me his scooter had died and he was just going to get rid of it.  He’s moving to Canada for school, so he didn’t want to fix it.  I told him if he really was going to give it away, I would gladly take it.  The scooter was running fine before, but just wasn’t starting.  He told me it was mine.  This was a major score.  So another friend from church and I met with him one Saturday and spent the better part of an hour kick starting the thing, but it did eventually start.  We took it to the mechanic and had new tire put on, a new battery installed and a new carburetor put on.  Altogether it ended up costing $150 but now it starts right up and runs like a dream…at least for now.  It is pretty old though a solid machine.  The important part is I was blessed with FREE transportation for scaling the hill to my school.  No more sweaty summer commutes, or freezing winter hikes to school.  Let’s hope it stays alive that long.

Here’s the new hog!  Ain’t it grand?!



  1. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Congrats on your scooter!

  2. Thank you! It's so cool!

  3. Congratulation for a scooter Mr. Thomas Gates and thanks for sharing your story.


  4. Thanks – no more walking the hills to school!

  5. Do you need an international driver's license to drive a scooter there?

  6. No you don't, but you will need to register it and have insurance.

  7. Avatar Monica415 says:

    Hi Tom. I’m sooo totally late in commenting. I just “found” your blog and YouTube channel a few weeks ago. So, do you still have your scooter? Have a great day!

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