My red scooter...
A couple months ago, I sold my Ford Explorer and purchased a shiny red scooter. I call it my "Hog". It's a 50cc Chinese-made, no-name brand hunk of sheer beauty. It gets nearly 100 mpg and, when I tuck tight, reaches speeds anywhere between 45-55mph.
I've already been pulled over by a cop. I missed hitting a deer by 10 ft. I've crashed on gravel (though I recovered so quickly it may as well not even happened). I've ridden it in 40 degree weather with a winter jacket, my daughter's scarf, and skiing gloves. I've passed a car going down main-street in downtown Lowell where it splits into two lanes--nevermind that it was a Ford Escort that had blue smoke billowing out the tailpipe. This sucker has been a blast.
There's no insurance. When I fill it up it costs anywhere between $3.80 and $4.00. I only have to register it once every three years for $15. I take my daughters on rides in the Methodist church's parking lot just down the road. I get to smell the fresh cut alfalfa on a regular basis. I have already had to pry a horse fly out of my eye on the only day I decided to ride without a helmet. (that solitary incident was enough to make me a helmet believer)
There's only one drawback. My helmet is almost as big as the scooter I'm mounting. It's red and black to match the colors of my hog. But it's drastically over-sized for the kind of low-risk riding I'm accustomed to. It's a dirt bike helmet, I'm almost sure, made for some thrill seekers who live a jump away from imminent death. I sometimes feel like my wearing a helmet riding a scooter looks as ridiculous as a casual jogger wearing a helmet on a paved bike trail.
But, all in all, I'm excited about my purchase. I've been trying to consume less these days. I won't call myself "green" yet, but I see the logic of heading that direction. I love getting by on less. I love the way it makes me feel and how it makes me think. My appreciation for the little things in life undergoes a revival of sorts. It takes me twice as long to get to work in the morning, but I don't mind. I certainly am more awake when I meet someone for coffee at 6:30am after 12 minutes of freezing my putuchkee off. And my hair, my well manicured hair full of Suave sculpting product, is in a continual state of disheveled disarray. The wearing of an oversized helmet can do some pretty crazy stuff to your hair. I've given up on trying to manage it by deciding to wear a hat that I conveniently store in an covert compartment hidden under my seat. I've heard that hats make you go bald, so the better part of my life has been hat-free, but it's a choice between saving a buck and going bald or spending a buck and being Fabio. I've chosen the former.
There are days when it stinks to ride in the rain or meet someone in a neighboring town 6 miles away for lunch, but on the whole, it's worth the occasional inconvenience to curb my American appetites.
So if you ever want to pull a "Dumb and Dumber", straddle me, and take a ride on a country road, give me a jingle and we can bond. (This is an offer for males only) If you are female, I'm sorry to appear chauvinistic, but I made a vow on my wedding day to only allow my wife to straddle me. If I'm remembering correctly it went something like this: "for rich or for poor, in sickness and in health, I vow to straddle you only so long as we both shall live." That vow has direct implications on my scooter passenger standards. Accept my apologies if this offends your worldview.
Well, I must be going.