Gotta Scoot

A foray into the world of the 2-wheeled amateur

12 April 2007 Out of the closet and into the traffic!

At long last, I decided this morning to traverse the 24km (48km return) trip to my mum’s house on my new scooter. A word before we begin though: I’m sure most, if not all of us, are aware of the ‘parent’ issue when it comes to all two wheeled things that happen to be endowed with an engine. How often have you heard the expression, “You’ll ride a motorbike over my dead body!”?

Well, in this post I’d like to open up this topic a little more by inviting you to post comments about your ‘coming of age’ or – should I say perhaps ‘coming out of the closet’? – with your parents and their induction into your new-found life as a dreaded two-wheeler. I’d also like to share with you my story of riding to my mother’s house, arriving and showing her my new TGB.

Let me begin by saying that I didn’t surprise my mother out of the blue with the new scoot. I had forewarned her one evening at a Japanese restaurant where we often dine when I come to visit her. I buttered up the news of my recent purchase with the standard euphemistic phrases, including, “it’s just a little scoot,” “I’d only be riding it where one rides a bicycle,” “it’s very cheap to run,” “…nothing as dangerous as a big motorcycle” and so on. Surprisingly, my mother simply remarked calmly, “well, I don’t like it!” and left the conversation there.

Anyway, here I was, braving the traffic of Epping road (my first foray into a four lane, 80km/hr arena where anything sporting an L-plate doesn’t tend to go down well with the other folks on the road. “But confidence is the key,” I told myself, determined to ride safely through the thick of it and without being perturbed by the collective roar of the traffic through which I was already ‘swimming.’

Actually, the biggest challenge proved getting my camera out of my velcro-secured pocket, turning it on and taking the snaps in the red light breaks, all with my gloves on!

Arriving at my mum’s house, I realised how much of a mental workout it is being a scooter on the road – especially a main road – by contrast to driving in a car. How often we zone out and let our minds wander when driving a car! How impossible it is to zone out when on a scooter in four lanes of 80km/hr traffic! Perhaps this is why so many scooter bloggers say that riding always ties us into the moment and gives us a heightened awareness of everything around us. Perhaps that’s the survival instinct at play and we simply have no other choice if we wish to live.

In any case, I was pleasantly exhausted when I arrived at my mum’s house. With no on-street parking, I decided to park on the garden path – how convenient!

I asked my mum to come out and have a look. Her eyes widened as she looked at the TGB for the first time. She began to question me about the usuals: under-seat storage, the top-box, why the headlight is always on, how fast it goes, why I have an L-plate on the back, and so on. While she examined the TGB and listened to my answers, my beloved feline and 10 year-old friend, Lester, came to see what all of the commotion was about. Like my mum, he appeared interested too, but rather more interested in the smell of the tyres and the footwell than anything else (I don’t suppose he’d fancy a ride in the top box, do you?) I dutifully answered all of my mother’s questions, after which there was a somewhat awkward pause.

“I still don’t like it” she muttered. I looked at her quizzically and then noticed the strangest thing: she started to smile! “I still don’t like it,” she repeated, half-smiling, half mock-frowning.

Thus it was my mum came to accept my new life as a scooterist. Thanks for your support and understanding mum! I promise I’ll ride safely.

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April 12, 2007 - Posted by | General Riding

8 Comments »

  1. Both my parents being deceased, there was no issue when I decided to get a scooter, though a co-worker at the time (who oddly enough was Australian) did express concern.

    Eighty km/h? That’s ~50 mph… but good on ya that you’re diving into the deep end right away. You’re right, confidence is the key; being a wimp is what’ll get you in trouble. I resolved from day one that I wouldn’t be shy about using my horn, though I find I don’t use it as much as I once did.

    Keep the rubber side down,
    __Orin

    Comment by Orin | April 14, 2007

  2. Thanks Orin,

    I’m sorry to hear that your parents weren’t around to share your joy (or perhaps to stress out about it completely? ;-)) but I’m glad you had that concerned co-worker looking out for you!

    Yeah I remember our riding instructor telling us, “you can forget about the horn altogether… the only reaction you’ll get from using it is people laughing at you… you gotta avoid the trouble in the first place and get away from it when you can.”

    MS

    Comment by Michael | April 14, 2007

  3. I don’t suppose he’d fancy a ride in the top box, do you?

    Doesn’t your top case have a sticker inside that says “no pets”? All of Piaggio’s do… I’m guessing some twit put their Yorkie or Chihuahua in the underseat bin of an ET, and it suffocated, the sticker resulting from the subsequent lawsuit.

    Comment by Orin | April 15, 2007

  4. Like Orin, I didn’t buy my scoot until after my parents had passed away. However, my father-in-law, a wonderful guy, but a former policeman and coroner, absolutely hates the fact that I ride a scooter. He often has stories about traffic deaths and accidents involving motorcycles. He gets very excited about the fact that I take my daughters (his grand-daughters) for rides around town.

    I’m impressed – and a little worried – that you take photos while riding. I try to focus as intently as I can while riding, saving photos for when I’m stopped. I like your photos, but be safe, OK?

    I agree with what you say about zoning out. In Canada (and the US, I’d venture) most people drive automatic transmission cars and seem to be almost anesthetized to the world they’re driving in. My own car is a manual transmission because it’s fun to drive and I feel much more connected to driving. Riding my scooter, I am aware of how vulnerable I am and I, again am more connected to the world around me.

    Really enjoying your blog and your experiences as you begin your scooter journey.

    Comment by Dave | April 16, 2007

  5. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your feedback! I really enjoyed hearing from both yourself and Orin and I’m sorry that you guys never got a chance to share your passion with your parents. I also appreciate your concern – I don’t actually take the snaps whilst in motion (that’ll be my pillion’s job when my license permits me to take one!)

    I bet riding in Canada would be similar to Australia – lots of big open spaces where it’s just you and the elements… extreme heat and cold!

    Cheers and thanks so much for reading and commenting,

    Michael

    P.S Orin! I’d never have believed a ‘no pets’ disclaimer would be anything other than comical! Funny what a culture of continual lawsuits does to society, isn’t it? 😉

    Comment by Michael | April 16, 2007

  6. I don’t think I’ll ever tell my parents. The potential image on my mothers face is firm enough in my mind to act as a stern warning. Knowing me though, I’m sure one day I’ll be riding happily along when she pops up walking accross the street in front of me.

    Comment by Felicity | April 16, 2007

  7. I guess I’m lucky that my Dad was, and still is a bit of a wildman. He raced cars, motorcycles and did things that we boys could never top. So my Mom pretty much figured that we would turn out like him to some degree.

    I was riding at 12 years old, and haven’t really stopped since, so the constant parade of motorbikes through the years have been met with little or no fanfare.

    Tattoo’s on the other hand…

    Have fun,
    Bill

    Comment by Bill Sommers | April 16, 2007

  8. Them scooters are a-okay, I says. Been riding cross them pretty highways all my life – no problems, no qualms – just the wind lashing against my helmet. You gotta choose your roads wisely. Heck, aint no reason to even see a car. Choose a quite stretch of tar and put them wheels in motion.

    Comment by LeRoy | April 20, 2007


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