scooterlife - photog's blog

Motorcycles. Scooters. Wheelchairs. Tape. Whatever rolls.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

While on the subject of crass generalizations...

Someone on ADVrider asked "what's up with scooters?"

My answer:
Hard to explain.

From what I can tell, scooterists fall into one or more of these categories

1. Econowonks. These are people who abhor vehicles only slightly less than they abhor paying money for anything. They ride scooters because they get good gas mileage, didn't cost much, and get free parking. They couldn't care less about performance or for that matter, comfort. For them, life is a sufferfest made better by pocket protectors and OMB circulars. If someone put a 1-cylinder Onan diesel engine on a Big Wheel and sold it for $399, they'd be on it.

2. Squids. Kids who put a 70cc kit on a Yamaha Zuma and ride it to school for about a week before the cops catch them and confiscate it because they were wearing a skateboard helmet and doing a 65mph stoppie in a school zone while blatting out 163db of 2-stroke noise.

3. Adult Hooligans. These are people who justified it to themselves by combining both 1 and 2. "It'll get great gas mileage, dear," they tell their spouses, and "But it does a 1/4 mile in 12 seconds, d00d," they tell their skeptical motorcycle friends. The real reason they're riding is that it reminds them of the first time they snuck out onto a public road on their Z-50 when they were a kid, and it rails around a corner better than their R1. That, and commuting on it during the week enables them to afford to put gas in their Suburban on weekends so they can tow the boat.

4. Drunks. If the damn thing is only going 30 and the guy is giving everyone the finger, it's because it's restricted to 30mph to be classified as a moped so that the driver doesn't need tags or insurance. Which is good because the finger-waving driver can't get tags and insurance. These folks are easy to spot because they look really pissed that they are on a scooter and are weaving a bit as they struggle to tuck a 12-pack of PBR under their left arm while balancing a keg on the floorboard. See also, "Liquor-sickle"

5. Greenies. These folks ride 4 stroke scooters to save the whales from harmful emissions coming from those nasty 2T bikes and evil SUV's driven by uncaring capitalists. They are usually seen on Honda Metropolitans that, ironically, share the same motor as the fiesty Ruckus (typically ridden by groups 3 and 8). Note: if rider not wearing a Che T-shirt, you may have mis-id'd the rider. See category 7.

6. Dorks. Okay, I'm not gonna disparage anyone, but really--what else are you going to call someone in Members Only jacket, plaid shorts, white socks, and loafers, on a Silverwing? These folks run the gamut from 100 mile/year Snowbirds to the hardcore 40,000 mile Helix riders. They look like GL1200 riders, and as such, beware--they have iron butts in their wrinkly little hides.

7. Girliebikes. They're sooooo cute! They're, like, soooooo much cuter than motorcycles! Note: play your cards right, and you can get your wife on one of these scoots and it becomes a GATEWAY DRUG to bigger motorcycles. This is the first step to a 135-lb weight drop on your bike, transforming it back into the sport bike you once remembered. You can bear the Hibiscus Edition Metropolitan for this, especially if she starts getting excited about buying Bike Stuff on weekends. It's not a scooter, it's a strategy.

8. The Hardcore. This is group #3 that has evolved, transcending all rational thought and spending all their spare time ordering parts from Europe, dremeling ports to creamy smoothness. They can prounounce "Bajaj Cheetak" without sounding like they have a mouth full of novocaine, and are currently using their GS as a parts runabout for their scooter.

9. The college kids. I had to add this one and I apologize for the oversight. These are the kids that--glory be!--have decided it's senseless to crank up the car for a 2 mile run to campus. They throw on a backpack and ride the Zuma right up to the classroom building door, which earns them another 10 minutes of hitting the snooze button. Note to parents--send 'em to an MSF BRC class and they'll be much safer riders.