Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Scooter Madness

With the throttle wide fucking open, and the little bike leaned hard to the left, it's hard to understand how any self-respecting man could refuse the temptation of a lightweight, big-bore scooter. 250 cubic centimeters is plenty of displacement to rocket a shopping-cart sized vehicle to ridiculous speeds. Add in the ability to turn 360 degrees in a space not much bigger than 10 feet square and you've got a vehicle that's nearly ideal, to those of a certain mindset.

Lady Luck's Vespa, the smallest bike in our stable, has been sitting mainly idle for the last several months. This was partly due to a lack of time, and partly due to a recall on a bit of the exhaust that could really hose things up if it failed.

As such, it's been mainly big-bike fun for me of late. Some might say 600 cubic centimeters does not make a big bike, but those people are assholes. Compared to the Vespa, the Speed Four is ungainly.

Last night we took the Vespa in to get the recalled part replaced (it only took them 2 weeks to get the part! What service!). Due to sitting for so long, the little demon didn't want to run. It would start, then die if we let of the throttle at all.

Because of this, instead of Lady Luck riding the Vespa to the dealer, she had me do it. I was, as you might imagine, more than willing to take on this new challenge.

Once the massive 250 cubic centimeters of raw Italian power were suitably warmed, the Vespa ran just fine.

Naturally, that meant that the dark forces of scooter-hooliganism descended upon me. Lane changes were not mere shifts to the left or right, they were death-defying feats of pure abandon. Stoplights became instruments of torture as I waited endlessly for the green lights to let me launch the little bike far past the reaches of the lumbering cages around me.

Every time I take the Vespa in for service, the techs ask how I like it, and every time I respond that I like it so much Lady Luck won't let me ride it most of the time. As I always tell the skeptical, riding a scooter is like piloting a fast, street-legal go-kart through the wilds of Phoenix.

There are some thrills that one can only experience on a full-size motorcycle. Hitting the ton on a completely stock bike comes to mind, as does accelerating hard up mountain grades. All the same, unless you're some kind of Satan's Helpers poseur, you owe it to yourself to find a scooter and ride the hell out of it.

Of course, if you're anything like me, it might be best if you save it for special occasions. Otherwise, you could get into trouble.

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