Gotta Scoot

A foray into the world of the 2-wheeled amateur

5 May 2007 Motorway Madness

This morning I decided to loose the car and scoot my way through the 42km of laneways, roundabouts, traffic lights, overpasses, underpasses, highways and motorways that connect my little unit in Parramatta to my school in Glenmore Park. Having only formally ridden for three and a half weeks, the prospect of an 84km round trip as the book-ends of a full day’s teaching is still a very daunting one.

What I hadn’t counted on this morning was the near gale force winds to which the humble scooterist is often prone. I had read so many entries from my favourite scooter blogs about this subject and it seems that the consensus is clear: when the wind blows, stick to sailing!

What a scary sensation it is to have a combined weight of only 182kg (scooter @ 122kg + me @ 60kg) hurtling along the motorway at a cool 90km/hr, to be buffeted by winds in all directions. Sometimes I felt knocked sideways; other times it felt as if I was slicing through a big gust one second, only to be nearly bowled over the next! In truth, I’m probably exaggerating the severity of these winds, but it did make me think twice about suavely remarking at a dinner party, “oh yes – of course I ride in all types of whether!“ In fact, the more I think about it, the more I’m realising how the ego is perhaps the deadliest factor in the rider + deadly outcome equation.

I wonder whether or not motorway riding is really the way to see the world on a scooter? Sure, motorways cut a lot of time off our journeys, and I’m pleased that when riding my simple little 150cc TGB that I can surprise other motorists with my formidable, comfortable top speed of around 110km/hr. But I’m constantly inspired by the scooter bloggers out there in the blogosphere that celebrate taking the time to make each ride special – and that usually means stopping to smell the roses.

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May 5, 2007 - Posted by | General Riding, motorways

5 Comments »

  1. Looking at all of these pictures of you scootering around at such high speeds and in such busy places it just about gives me a heart attack. I don’t really know if I’ll ever have the guts to go over 20kph.

    Comment by Felicity | May 5, 2007

  2. Michael, the thing to remember about riding on motorways is you are quite vulnerable to the aero wakes of larger vehicles. A car or truck moving through the air produces the same result as a boat moving through water… the higher the speed, the bigger the wake.

    Another consideration is the surprise you note from your fellow motorists… it’s true, they aren’t expecting a scooter in their midst. Therefore, they aren’t looking for scooters. In the U.S., the typical reaction from our marginally-skilled drivers to something unexpected is to do something stupid (and potentially deadly).

    So I would suggest you find some routes to the places you go that don’t involve motorways or other high-speed roads. You’ll be amazed at what you discover along the way…

    __Orin
    http://www.scootinoldskool.com

    Comment by Orin | May 5, 2007

  3. Michael,

    RIding a 50cc Vespa, I have no choice but to smell the roses while I ride. I always look for the less congested route, unlike when I drive my car. That, combined with leaving loads of time to get places, makes my rides a lot less stressful.

    I think if I had more cc’s I would be tempted to go faster and take highways and freeways – but to me, it would be too much like the ratrace of being in my car.

    I have to agree with Orin’s last comment!

    Dave

    Comment by Dave | May 8, 2007

  4. Hi, I’ve now taken my 250cc Vespa to high-ways in Estonia and don’t really enjoy it. So for 400 km round-trip to my home town I picked the longer but largely empty road where I could still do 90-100 comfortably.

    Orin’s comment about aero wakes is serious issue – big trucks coming past me always make me tense a bit and I really don’t like riding too close behind other vehicles as their wakes makes me flap from side to side.

    And another matter – high ways are so boringly straight. I much more enjoy smaller curvier roads. Much more pleasure there 🙂

    Comment by Teller | May 25, 2007

  5. Want to start your private office arms race right now?

    I just got my own USB rocket launcher 🙂 Awsome thing.

    Plug into your computer and you got a remote controlled office missile launcher with 360 degrees horizontal and 45 degree vertival rotation with a range of more than 6 meters – which gives you a coverage of 113 square meters round your workplace.
    You can get the gadget here: http://tinyurl.com/2qul3c

    Check out the video they have on the page.

    Cheers

    Marko Fando

    Comment by markofando | October 2, 2007


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