Gotta Scoot

A foray into the world of the 2-wheeled amateur

10 April 2007 Maiden Voyage

What an incredibly long day it’s been. After so many hours of riding, getting lost, discovering new streets and different ways of looking at the same trees; after the smiles, the thrill of racing off the mark at traffic lights, the stopping off at the roadside to take a photo – after all this and much more, how hard it is to sit down and put into words what an amazing day it’s been.

I could barely contain my excitement this morning when I finished my knowledge test at the RTA and was finally handed my shiny new gold license with a “R LRN” appended to the “C” underneath the “class of license” category. Who would have thought that it all came down to having a few letters on the license? …not to mention this swanky looking L on the back of the scoot.

I imagine that any biker or scooterist will tell you the same thing – nothing compares to that first ride, the maiden voyage if you will. Unfortunately, living in the heart of sydney “urban” Parramatta suburbia, I can’t pretend to have ridden off into the countryside, past mountains and lakes and beaches with gleaming white sand. All of that will come with time and practice, so stay tuned to this blog! 😉

My journey with the humble supermarket and an interesting discovery. Yes, that’s right – I needed soy milk, damn it! and I wasn’t going to get in that car and drive when the new scoot beckoned. Anyway, I dexterously navigated through the back roads and even onto a main road before arriving at the local IGA carpark. Not being trained in the ways of scooter parking, I navigated my quietly purring TGB through the maize of cars, looking to conservatively park in an ordinary car space, before spying this motorcycle which had been defiantly parked over painted caption on the tarmac which read NO PARKING. What a valuable discovery: ‘no parking’ means parking for a scooter! Thumbing my nose at the ‘tin tops’ around me (only pretend smugness at this stage), I maneuvered my scoot alongside the bike. Later on, when I returned from the supermarket, the bike was gone and the gaping ‘NO PARKING’ remained.’

I must admit, writing this several hours later, the rest of the day is a blur. I suppose this is a kind of paradox – that remember being acutely aware of everything around me, but now that I’m home typing this, it’s hard to recall what I was thinking. I remember riding around back streets and getting rather lost. I remember numerous smiles from pedestrians (especially the ladies) as I flew by with the false impression of going somewhere important. I remember freezing in the middle of the day when it was 24 degrees celsius! I remember the sense of solitude that doesn’t even come close to driving in the car alone. I began to experience what Steve Williams means when he says, “I ride for the heightened awareness of the world and life.”

I’m so amazed that even in the most mundane such awareness might be possible.


April 11, 2007 - Posted by | Learner riders


  1. Congratulations, Michael – I can relate to how good it feels to be finally scootin’ around!

    As for the parking, I know what you mean – I love riding onto the sidewalk or in that little space between the parking spaces and the wall of a building. I even park by the “no motorcycle parking” sign at the local shopping centre – I figure, heck, it’s a scooter, not a motorcycle!

    The best thing for me is, that great feeling, when I first started scooting, hasn’t diminished one bit. Sounds like that will be for you as well!

    Comment by Dave | April 11, 2007

  2. Michael, you should look into the particulars of parking regulations where you live… in Seattle, parking tickets are considered a major source of revenue. I know I’d hate to park my scoot and come back to find it having been towed.

    Congratulations on your first ride! In the last four years, I’ve found the slogan in the Vespa brochure to be completely true: “every trip is an adventure!”

    Keep the rubber side down,
    Orin O’Neill

    Comment by Orin | April 11, 2007

  3. Thanks for the wise words, Orin. Funny you should mention this now. My girlfriend was out on the scoot yesterday afternoon and she discovered that in our area, if there’s a parking metre, you still have to buy a ticket and hang on to it (i.e put it in your pocket instead of the non-existent dashboard). In the even t that you are booked, then you have to send the ticket in to revoke the booking. Sounds like a lot of hassle! 🙂

    Comment by Michael | April 11, 2007

  4. Michael, it’s a good world that you just rode into. Good job on getting the gold license! Now that the paperwork and lessons are done, the real-world learning begins.

    Enjoy what riding does for your soul. You’ll see what I mean.

    Have fun,

    Comment by Bill Sommers | April 12, 2007

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