scooterlife - photog's blog

Motorcycles. Scooters. Wheelchairs. Tape. Whatever rolls.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Here's where it gets to the meat of the matter

So, the work day is mostly done and it's time to run errands. Your choices: nice comfy Jeep, big BMW R1150GS motorcycle, or the scooter.

Remember, this is a test. The mission was to do alllllll the errands on the little fuel-efficient scooter. Yeah, that'll show 'em! Big Oil can kiss my ass! Right? Well, yeah, except that this is the reality of scootering--those little moments where a voice in your head whispers "hey, noone will know if you take the Jeep". If the scoot is your only vehicle, hallelujah--it's motorized and your feet will be happy they're not slapping the pavement for the 2 mile trip to the post office. But when you have other options that happen to have plush seats and a CD player, well, hmmmm. You gotta question your commitment. Especially when you've got a bit of a headache and have been working since 7am.

This is sooo much like dieting.

But this is the reality. I'm gonna stick with the Zip. I'll start off by rounding up the messenger bag (stand by for another lesson), dressing properly (yet another lesson) and then head out the door. The flight plan has me going in two directions--the relatively short hop to the post office which is a fairly fun little romp, and the second leg of the journey is on that damned hilly high-speed section that isn't exactly the strong suit of a not-broken-in 49cc scoot that's screaming at the top of its one little lung to keep from becoming a hood ornament. But this is reality. I'll post more when I get back.

(tick tick tick)

Today the trip seemed a bit better. I had a better feel for what speeds worked on the still-not-broken-in Zip. 30-35 mph (indicated) feels pretty smooth. The dash to the post office took a couple of minutes and I found my stealth parking spot on the side of the building. Locked the forks but nothing else. Was in and out in a few minutes. I briefly considered going to the bank but at that point it was edging close to 4pm and crazed commuter traffic would push me to the curb on that hilly stretch. I pushed the bank errand to Friday. But since I was having a good time on the scoot, I took a quick ride downtown.

Once there, I was flying past slower traffic, beating cars from stoplight to stoplight, slingshotting from A to B and moving a LOT faster than I thought I would. It's in this environment that a scooter really comes into its own. I was thankful for the disk brake up front; I was pulling off a few point-and-squirt moves that had me doing max braking, and the excellent feel from the levers was reassuring. If you're buying a scoot, don't underestimate the need for serious brakes.

Anyone who rides in a spirited fashion on a motorcycle will NOT be disappointed with the perfomance of a scoot in an urban environment. There's a slight lag from stoplight, then the bike rushes forward past the cars. A quick diagonal across lanes to find an empty space, and then you repeat the process at the next light. I'd say I was using as much of my skills as I would've on a full-size motorcycle. And was grinning ear-to-ear. Yeah, this is working out okay.