scooterlife - photog's blog

Motorcycles. Scooters. Wheelchairs. Tape. Whatever rolls.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The transformation

It's official: it's now an obsession.

I figured I crossed the line yesterday when I went joyriding after the official errands were done, just to buzz around town. It was no longer an experiment, just fun. And after that first thrill of zinging past traffic, a little bit of hunger developed. A little bit of anticipation.

I've been riding motorcycles for over 20 years and have a state of the art BMW R1150GS sitting in the driveway. Tomorrow morning I'll walk past the BMW, and get on the scooter.

I knew it was an obsession when I started looking at add-ons tonight, surfing the net for all the hot-rod goodies for the little horizontal Minarelli engine. Expansion pipe, fatter tires, and so on. I knew I had blown past the obsession phase and into a new realm of fascination when after I was done add-on shopping, I began plotting the purchase of my next scooter, a stablemate for the Zip.

The next scoot is gonna be something classic--either a Vespa or a Stella, maybe even a restored Lambretta. It's gonna be the main vehicle, rain or shine, and enable us both to be scooter-enabled instead of vying for the one Zip by flipping a coin, or arm-wrestling. Already when the Zip is done running errands, it's playing hooligan in the streets, or just cruising around the old neighborhoods. I've lived in this town for almost 20 years and the scooter enables me to explore neighborhoods that I never knew existed, humming past houses at a speed that lets me enjoy the architecture, and wave back to the people there.

I'm having more fun under the speed limit than most squids have busting the speedlimit on their 1300cc sportbikes, having more fun on a 20 mile ride than the long distance riders have while they develop butt blisters on a 1100 mile ride.

Is it for everyone?

I'm not sure. Obviously I've got a bit more riding experience, so the transition to scootering isn't too hard since I have plenty of traffic savvy--though I've had to adjust my riding style and expectations a bit. But already I'm finding that even a small 49cc scoot will take care of all the errands in a 10 mile radius of home without breaking a sweat. It starts at the momentary touch of a button, settling into a quiet little burble. A twist of the wrist, and I'm off. No shifting, so my mind is free to focus on the ride and the scenery. The tires are sticky enough to let me generate insane lean angles. Yet it'll hum along at a steady pace in traffic, content to just get from A to B, a willing little companion.

From a zen standpoint, it rocks. A cleaner-burning 4-stroke would have twice the Zen, but given the mission of uncomplicating my life and minimizing my transport mode, it's outrageously successful.

No martyrdom here. I'm having a blast. This isn't a sufferfest. It's fun, it's frugal, it's a cute little beast. And given the current gas prices, I think people in cages (that's bike-speak for 4-wheel vehicles) are looking at the scooter less as an anomaly and more as a viable option. All they need is a few more of us out there, and a bit of mentoring.

It's 10:19pm. I've laid out my Saturday clothes, eagerly awaiting an early morning ride to pay a bill or two, and just buzz around for a while. Maybe go by the BMW dealership and eat a few of their doughnuts.

Scootering is good.