scooterlife - photog's blog

Motorcycles. Scooters. Wheelchairs. Tape. Whatever rolls.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Motorcycle salesman puts foot in mouth, gnaws on toes

Still dizzy from Stella lust, I make my way over to the newest Vespa dealership.

They are prettier in person than you can imagine, and the PX-150 is a jewel. My heart is pounding and I'm not only considering the PX over the Stella, but perhaps the purchase of a 200 series Vespa as well.

So we're checking out the new Vespas, and the one who has the checkbook--in other words, the one the dealership needs to cater to--wanders over to the other side of the dealership to talk to the sales staff.

The other half of the dealership is made up of high-end euro bikes. A nice combination--German, British, and the Italian Vespas. The dealership had just brought in new scooters, and two of the sales people seemed genuinely interested in them.

But not all of them. No, one of them was a total jerk.

Customer (commenting on Vespas): "Wow! These Vespas are GREAT! They're beautiful! When are you going to get one for yourself?"

Salesman (with wrinkled nose): "Never. You can't take them on the open road. Five minutes in a parking lot and you're bored with them."

Any bets on how many sales they're gonna lose with that guy on the floor? Did it ever cross his mind that the customer he was talking to had a checkbook in hand and was ready to buy the LX 200 as well as a PX150?

The search for a local Stella/Vespa dealership continues.

Stella lust strikes again

Feverish and without reason, a relentless drilling in my brain, an obsession that won't leave me alone, distracting me from work--Stella lust has taken hold of my brain and won't let go. Just seeing one at the right time and place planted that seed again, and I'm at the point where I'm ignoring the dealer network in NC and lookint at SCOMO in Virginia, a bonafide scooter joint.

I'm counting up the potential revenue from selling anything I have that's of value--my beloved '86 Honda Nighthawk S, my old friend the '91 Isuzu Trooper, and all kinds of little things around the house are hitting Ebay tonight--mostly motorcycling stuff. In $50 and $100 increments I'm selling off what I've got for a scooter.

Egad.

This afternoon I'll swing by the new Vespa dealership in town to see what they've got. Perhaps I'll be swayed by something shiny there and whip out a checkbook while shouting "Ciao, baby! Rigatoni! Ferragamo!"

But I have a feeling I'll be aiming for a Stella.

The Super 9 will stay, of course. The Vento, as much as I love it, may have to go--but only to a good home.

More later.

Monday, June 20, 2005

It's a screamer

I used the alarm for the first time this weekend. This doesn't include the numerous times I've inadvertantly armed it by grabbing the keys the wrong way. I've learned use the switchblade-style key by holding it gently by the edges of the alarm control housing. This makes no sense to you unless you have this sort of alarm system--and if you do, you know EXACTLY what I mean.



We had just returned from yesterday's all-day ride--Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Jordan Lake--and decided to stop at a local bookstore with a large magazine collection to see if they carried TNG (Twist N Go), the British magazine devoted to automatic scoots.

Note - it was with no small bit of pride that we commented that even after 140 miles on the scoots, we were still in the mood to run errands on them.

I had my Dowco luggage on the back, and wasn't really concerned about it, until some strange guy walked up and started asking me some weird questions about the scoot--in-between strange gestures and talking to himself. Although he was terribly annoying, I figured he was mostly harmless but perhaps lacking in judgement and wouldn't hesitate to plunder through what was in the bag, so I set the alarm as I left to go inside.

About 10 minutes later, I heard the alarm go off, screech for a few seconds, then stop.

I stepped outside the door in time to see a the blur of a 7 year old boy running as fast as he could away from the scooter while his parents babbled at him and with him in a foreign language.

It was hard to keep from laughing. Apparently, he had gone over to look at the scoot as kids will do, and must've jostled it, which earned him a high-decible greeting from the Zip.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Hangout

Michael's in Chapel Hill is one of the best motorcycle hangouts in NC. It's a low-key place--no burnouts, no attitude, few if any poseurs--just real riders and every type of motorcycle imaginable. On Sunday mornings about 100-200 riders gather there for coffee and breakfast, a tradition that's at least a decade old. You can find just about any motorcycle ever made there, along with riders that have hundreds of thousands of miles of experience aboard them.









Usually we're on the BMW. Today we decided to show up on the scooters.



That takes confidence. Not just to ride the 45 or so miles there, but just to have the guts to hang out and say, "Yeah, that's my scooter. All 50 cc's of it."



The laughs were good-natured, and folks seemed genuinely interested in the bikes, though the Super 9 was easily the attention hog.

The ride was easy. By cutting across the countryside in western Wake county and eastern Chatham county, we were treated to horse farms and lakes. We returned home after 140 miles of easy riding through rural countryside and urban weekend traffic. No sweat.

Dowco Standard Roll Bag

These are on sale at www.cyclegear.com for $16.00. They are regularly $40.



They provide plenty of cargo room for under $20. Enough for raingear and other goodies, or jeans/t-shirt for an overnight trip.

Dimensions are 9 1/2" high x 14 1/2" wide x 9 1/2" deep with a 0.5 cubic foot volume. There's one pocket on the flap which also has a reflective strip on the rear-facing opening. It's not waterproof but survived today's rainshower just fine--the contents were dry after about 15 minutes of riding in light rain. If you need more water protection, wrap it or the contents in a bag.



The REI bag is a handlebar-mounted ditty bag and map case. I added it so that I could bring along a cue sheet for today's 140-mile ride around the countryside. With some fiddling about I'm sure I could've mounted it somewhere up front instead of on the Roll Bag but this seemed tailor-made for putting it here.



So far it seems to be well-made. It has plenty of attachment point D-rings and can be converted to a shoulder-slung bag. The built-in velcro straps attach underneath the seat for easy mounting, and you can still tilt the seat upward to get to the cargo area as well as the gas/oil fillers. Just hold it up with your left shoulder and fill the gas as you normally would.