Monday, January 21, 2013

Scooter Shops of All Sorts

The typical Taipei scooter shop looks a lot like the one pictured below. Signs are minimal, just a manufacturer's brand name, the name of the shop, and a telephone number. Out front will be bikes in various states of repair and one or two for sale. If your scooter breaks down in an unfamiliar part of Taipei, or any city or town in Taiwan for that matter, you'll probably be within distance of a place like this.

That's certainly not the only type of shop one sees. This next one is something of a department store, occupying two floors. It carries mostly after-market gear and performs serious scooter engine and body modifications in its shop.

Just because it's big doesn't mean that it ignores the traditional custom observed by most shops in Taipei, that of offering sacrifices to the gods on the auspicious days of each month.
Dachan is an example of a relatively modern shop, with high end gear and a clear niche market. At the other end of the spectrum is the shop pictured below.

The front of the shop is decorated to attract pedestrian customers with local handicrafts, while the rear is a scooter shop. You can see the red hydraulic lift in the lower left corner of the image, and a wall of scooter accessories nearby. The giant poster on the wall is advertising local delicacies like sticky rice dumplings. The lacquered wooden tea table in the center of the room is a nice touch.

The cleanliness of the floor near they hydraulic lift suggests this is a scooter shop that sees very little business. I've never seen a floor that clean. I have to wonder how this effort at sharing space is working out. Do customers of the front or rear of the business feel that the Jekyl-and-Hyde nature of the shop is odd or inspired? The answer didn't seem to matter when I walked by. There wasn't a soul in sight, customer or employee.