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Conversion of a scooter nerd

by Kenny Lindsay

To all the panicky idiots who waited in line for gas recently — some of whom probably didn’t even need it, making it that much harder for people who actually did need it to put a couple bucks in the tank — you may want to read this. If you’re one of those people toolin’ around in a two-ton truck that runs on unleaded (not diesel) for no apparent reason other than social status and looks, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

About a year ago, my boss and I began rummaging over the idea of getting a YES! Weekly scooter for the company and finally, a few months ago his son pulled up in the van with a brand new, shiny red Buddy from Scooter Nerds. When I was 14 years old, I was into motorcross big-time, so it’s no surprise I tore out of the door like a little kid on Christmas to help him lift it out of the van. It wasn’t long before we where all zipping around like Stuart Little on his red motorcycle —’  except of course we had a real helmet instead of ping-pong ball.

After about a month of hogging our new toy I decided I wanted my own and thus began my research. I discovered Genuine Scooters ranked pretty high on consumer reports, are very easy to maintain and get between 80 to 100 mpg! I did the math, compared mileage between a scooter and my ’83 Bronco II, talked to the crew at Scooter Nerds about financing and came to find out my monthly payments would be less than what it would cost to fill up my vehicle per month, and it would essentially pay for itself. Then the gas scare happened and pissed me off so bad I headed downtown and by the end of the day, I had a new Rough House scooter delivered to my driveway by my new-found friend Ryan from Scooter Nerds.

My new scooter’s a real looker, like a cross between a dirt bike and a roadster. It didn’t take long at all for me to realize what a difference the little amount of fuel I was consuming compared to the amount of money I was saving, and it also felt good to know I was kind of stickin’ to the man, as well as greatly cutting back on the emissions created by my old truck — I only use it now to haul mulch, lumber or whatever else my sticky paws can get ahold of (like the wheelbarrow I found on the side of the road last week).

For out-of-town trips, my wife and I will use her little Focus or if I need the car for work, she’ll ride her new bicycle to her job.

Because of the Rough House’s beefier front suspension, bigger treaded tires and greater ground clearance, I’ve already blazed a shortcut through the woods behind my house. I damn near bit it in the mud the other day while exploring for another shortcut that would knock off about two-and-a-half miles for a trip downtown and for the first time I noticed the bike lanes running down Spring Garden Street.

I get a lot of questions from friends and acquaintances about scooters now that I have one and if you’ve been considering picking one up, hopefully this will help you decide… in fact, in my opinion, if you live close enough to work and have the opportunity, you’re stupid not too.

So back to some common questions: Do you need to register it, get plates, insurance and have a valid driver’s license to operate one on public roads? No, not if it’s a 50cc or lower, but yes if it’s a bigger model that you would be able to take on the highway (if you’re crazy enough.)

How fast does a 50cc go? Straight out the box and after breaking it in, I’ve gotten my Rough House up to 45 mph, even with an adult passenger on the back. There are plenty of upgrades and modifications that can be done for better performance. My man Ryan knows them all and if your dealer performs the task, it will not necessarily void the warranty — double check with your specific dealer though just to be safe.

Can you get a DWI? Yes.

Can you get a speeding ticket? Yes.

Do you need a helmet? Legally, I’m not positive, but if you have some sort of sick death wish, go ahead and let your hair hang down.

The only downside I’ve found with my scooter is the uneasy feeling of driving in traffic and I’ve become especially observant of people’s terrible and unsafe driving habits. The most common I’ve noticed is speeding, and on one of my routes to work I drive by my nieces’ elementary school where there have been numerous times that I have been unable to keep up with vehicles in front me. To any 5.0s reading this; that’s Pilot Elementary School in Adams Farm.

The other unsettling fact is the amount of impatient buffoons that will find it necessary to ride your tailpipe, completely disregarding the fragility of human life. On the bright side, there are plenty of people like Ryan out there who know how to improve performance, enabling you the option to put a little distance between yourself and these jackasses.

Keep in mind: Drive defensively. Make sure drivers see you, wear bright clothing, slow down or don’t go until you see the whites of their eyes. And of course, wear a helmet. Also, keep in mind that your maneuverability can surprise other drivers, so try to take it easy around turns; no one wants to hit that parked that came out of nowhere!

For more information there are a ton of blogs and clubs you can join online. You can find one of our local scooter clubs at www.scooterinvasion.net or feel free to shoot me an email and hopefully I can point you in the right direction. Happy scootin’!

To comment on this story, e-mail Kenny Lindsay at kenny@yesweekly.com.

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