scooterlife - photog's blog

Motorcycles. Scooters. Wheelchairs. Tape. Whatever rolls.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Bike Routes - God's Gift to Scooterists.

I took the Zip on one of the more insane errands today--going from West Raleigh (near NCSU) across town to Capitol Blvd to visit the Sam Ash music store. Well, it would be insane if I hadn't already worked out the cross-town cut-throughs.

(For those of you who are local, it entails going downtown via Western, left on Ashe, across a bunch of streets that I can't remember but have been driving on for 20 years, then north on what turns into Atlantic, then across via Brentwood's suburban roads to Capitol)

But here's the hint of the century, as REM would put it: If you want to stay away from really crappy traffic, find your town or state's bicycle route map and study the bike routes that are on public roads (not the greenways). If you're crafty, you can link those routes to get all over your town as well as your county and state. The bike routes in the countryside are typically fairly scenic, and sometimes you'll find they have decent pavement on the right side of the white line (a plus when you get crammed over there by a snotty driver). After all, bicyclists are looking for many of the same things 50cc scooterists want--less high-speed traffic, decent pavement, some scenery, and so on--and the bike routes are created accordingly. They're easy to follow since they're well-marked.

BTW, as a way of thanking those bicyclists for their efforts to champion alternative transportation, if you come across a peloton on a Sunday ride, wave at'em as you ride by at a moderate (and quiet) pace, leaving them plenty of room. We've got more in common with them than you'd think.

(Yeah, I do a lot of bicycling.)

Monday, June 13, 2005

gas mileage update

With roughly 450 miles on the clock, running Castrol synthetic 2T, the 2004 Vento Zip R3i is getting 75 mpg. That's mostly ridden flat-out.

I haven't put gas in the Jeep in almost a month. Haven't put gas in the GS in almost 3 weeks.

I've saved about $60 in fuel over the past month with no compromises in capability, plus have done a LOT of joy-riding in the evenings on the scoot. I don't think I'd put more than $10 in the scoot's tank in a month but that could change--we're going to start taking longer trips, not just around-town jaunts.

The hook

Having blown through the experimental phase and into the fun phase, I wasn't too surprised to find out that we're also in the utility phase.

Today I had several errands to run downtown during a fairly stressful work day--a location to scout out, some audio/video cables to pick up, a last-minute expendables run, plus a few things from the grocery store. Without a second thought I took the scoot. Normally I'm of the mindset to not do anything different from my routine on a stressful day, but the scooter has become the go-to method of transportation lately.

I grabbed my messenger bag, tossed a hair brush in it along with the work stuff I needed, and headed out. The temps were near 90 but at 30mph it felt comfortable.

Parking was a breeze, as usual, at all locations. As always, downtown traffic is its forte so I played cat-and-mouse with traffic just to take some of the edge off the stress. With one stop near the legislature--where improper parking can earn your ride a trip to the impound--all I had to do was park it at the end of a row of cars, toss the lock in the front wheel, and I was done.

On the last leg of the journey, I noted with some amount of pride that the little Zip, with its bag hook on the leg cowl, was perfectly suited for all of it. One bag of groceries swung happily as I buzzed home, mission accomplished, for about a quarter's worth of gas...versus a ten dollar bill for the Jeep.

So, out of all the stuff I did today, one thing stuck in my mind: get a scoot with a hook on the leg cowl. Like Velcro and pop-top cans, it's a simple little thing that makes a world of difference.