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

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Midwest Scooter Enthusiast

The Dead of Winter

Dead leaves blown into little huddled piles in the corners of structures. Dormant trees and grass. The wind blows dust down the street in sheets. The days are short and brisk. Most often grey and overcast. When they're bright and sunny it only means to get even colder.

This morning the clear sunny daybreak looked incredible. The thermometer read negative seven degrees. That's cold.

I stood in my garage looking at those machines occupying the third stall. I want so much to be riding. The backs of my hands actually itch from the craving. It crawls up and down my spine when I can't ride for a prolonged period. Even if one of these steeds would start, today's cold would be risking many things.

The dead of winter.

The Dead.

When a rider can't ride, that rider might occupy time reading about riding. That's a good thing. It only goes so far.

Maybe that rider will look for a winter project. Some destitute machine and a space to tinker on it. Better.

These winter months can be depressing when it gets this cold. Dangerously cold. Its the right time to shift gears from being on the machines to something else.

So I'll continue working on that vintage Vespa, the '64 GL and occupy myself with self imposed deadlines for repairing, part location and the weekly smiles of seeing it all slowly come back together. As long as I can have my hands in some project involving riding I'll bet this winter just slips away.

The Roadbum