Monday, January 29, 2007

Midwest Scooter Enthusiast

Where Are We Going?

There seems to be a new scooter culture evolving and folding itself into the fabric of the US today. Its got its long time collectors but in some cases these vintage-only riders are coming face to face with what companies are bringing to our shores in since the mid nineteen nineties and they don't like it. New scooterists are buying into modern models due to the ease of use. Twist and go. Electric start. These latest automatic machines are adequately powered, unlikesome of their predecessors. My 1978 Honda Express 50cc comes to mind. A slow machine with a top speed of 27 mph.

Many of these new scooters have the advantage of underseat storage. Some can be equipped with luggage racks both on the legshield and behind the seat. The largest models are simply motorcycles with automatic transmissions. They're roughly the same size but generally have lower seat heights. Another huge selling factor when all the shifting motorcycles are becoming taller and broader.

You've got machines designed with enough power to reach traffic flowing speeds, available storage built right into the vehicle from the start, legshields and windshields to protect the rider and make the whole experience of modern day two wheeled riding that much more enjoyable. Suddenly the advantages that these fuel efficient "scooters" become serious contenders for work commuting.

And they are loads of fun.

New rider's clubs are forming. People are finding a sense of togetherness in their scooterist friendships. Rides are being done for charities.

Where does that leave the diehard two stroke left grip shifters? The people who look upon the new scooterist with an eye of disdain.

Well you can certainly join us. We welcome your knowlege of the history of scooters and the people who've been riding them longer than some of us "newbies" have been alive. We would love nothing more than to listen to your stories and learn what you have to share with us. To us there is no Us and Them. It is only We. You see, we are scooterists. We could have easily chosen to ride the classics, and some of us do own a vintage model or two. To us the point is to ride. The point is to unite and grow in the knowledge of the history of the American Scooterist both locally and nationally. That history is something you vintage riders have lived.

We're the next generation of scooterists. We prefer not to exclude any other scooterists from our midst as a general rule. The only reason there is [to us] to have a scooter is to put miles on it and see the sights. To enjoy ourselves in one of the few ways people can be together and still be alone with their thoughts.

We're going for a ride. We don't know where we'll end up. Care to join us?

The Roadbum


Biker Betty said...

I haven't heard this year, but last year the local stores couldn't keep enough scooters in stock. I just found a corner in the motorcycle place I frequent that has a fairly nice selection of scooters to choose from. I had fun looking at them all. At this point, my interest is peaked but I don't plan on trading in my current motorcycle anytime soon. I'm now checking out scooters so I can see what all you scooter enthusiasts are talking about. They are pretty neat.

One of the ladies in my motorcycle group does ride a Bergman 650 and she absolutely loves it. She's all the time showing us all her neat features, especially the compartment under her seat. It's almost too high for me.

Seems you find elitists in every group. In motorcycles it's ususally some Harley riders who won't acknowledge anyone but their own. I just recently read that some of them won't even recognize the lesser models of Harleys. How about that? Older riders are resenting new riders, thinking them lesser species, lol. Oh well, if they want to be like that, let them live in their own little world.

On the road, I happily wave to scooters and motorcyclists alike. If they don't wave back, not my worry. Sometimes while in traffic I'm concentrating so hard I don't notice the wave till they're almost past me and then I feel bad. But if traffic is that bad, my concern is where I'm at.

Great blog. Very interesting posts. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

Biker Betty said...

PS: I've added you to my sidebar, hope that's okay.

Betty :)

American Scooterist Blog said...

Biker Betty: Thanks for linking me. I'm going to be setting up mine the same way soon.

Here's what's funny about Harley owners and people in general; everyone says they're all for "diversity" but deep down they aren't. Give people half a chance and they'll show their true colors. Take a group of Harley owners and its just as you wrote, that they will find ways to divide themselves from themselves. Time marches forward and the old standard is replaced by a new standard but the divisions tend to remain. Its human nature. Politics, religion, neighborhoods and income levels all serve to give us reasons to seperate ourselves into smaller and smaller groups. You might think that's bad but what it really has to do with is individuals keeping in touch with the groups absolutely most like themselves. Its about trust. People don't want to be too unique either. They may have different reasons (or so they tell themselves)that makes them uncomfortable around X or Y but not Z. They want to find others as closely like them as possible. Hence the ever shrinking circles even within broader hobbies. Think of it as a social safety net. The only way to break the chain is to cordially invite people outside the "circle" and let them decide for themselves. As a Harley owner for the last fourteen years (among other bikes) I think I've managed to rub enough people the wrong way by living against the grain that I might've found a little insight. Or I could be all wet haha.


Bryce said...

Not all of the modern scooters have lower seat heights than their vintage counterparts. An LX is taller in the saddle than a P or PX. That under seat storage really raises those seats.

Biker Betty said...

Now there's a thought I never thought of either. What used to be a small group, like Harley owners, is now growing very big with popularity. I never thought about that the older people in the group might be feeling uncomfortable with new people joining in. Hmm... You've brought up some good points. Thanks.

Combatscoot said...

A fellow in my group, Fred,
contacted a vintage scooterist to see if he wanted to ride with us. The guy didn't want to talk to him because he thought Fred was a police officer. Fred had a hard time understanding this person because he sounded like he was high. The guy said he wanted to ride with us, but hasn't called Fred back, or showed-up to any rides. He owns a Tattoo shop, and seems to be the only vintage scooterist in Tallahassee. I stopped in one time to visit, and he wasn't particularly friendly.
Oh well, his loss, I guess.

American Scooterist Blog said...

Bryce: I did say "generally". There is a lot of variety in both the motorcycle world and scooterworld. My LX150 has a taller seat than both the Harley and the Yamaha so the point is definitely valid.

Combatscoot: From what you've written maybe its not such a bad thing? Hard to say sometimes.


CodyandMichelle said...

We're newbies to two wheeling, and even though I started a SC, Michelle and I would still rather ride together and not part of a SC. We are just more comfortable that way. I don't really go out of my way to acknowledge the bikers as most don't acknwoledge me. I could care less. I will wave to fellow scooterists. It is a very diverse world and everyone is into their own thing. I respect that. I treat others as I would like to be treated, but when people get downright rude about it. I give it back in spades.
I've been a bodyboarder surfer for many years now, I still hear stories on how bodyboarders and standup surfers hate each other. I've never had a problem, but that's cause I diffuse the situation right away by saying something, like "great ride on that last wave" or what a great day it is to be out on the water. It's all about attitude, keep it positive! Michelle and I haven't really experinced the negativity from HD or other motorcycle riders, and you know what, we avoid places where we are probably not welcome. It won't kill us not to go to a place filled with HD riders on a certain day of the week! Have we found new friends by scootering? Absolutely, do we hang together outside of scootering, not generally speaking. It's cool to have things in common that you can share, but if it's only one thing, well that's cool too.
Hey with my wife we stay married because we have many things in common, scootering included. To me common interests and the passion in which you carry out those interests, not love, is the glue that holds relationships together!
Sorry Harv, I kind of went off on a tangent, the bottom line is, we can't all get along, and you know what, thats ok too! Just as long as know one gets hurt!

American Scooterist Blog said...

Cody and Michelle: I think you stated what I was trying to say better than I did!

Being welcoming and letting people have the option to say yes or no is the heart of the matter for me. Vintage riders need to remember that when they're gone it'll be up to us to carry on what they hold so dear.

The Roadbum