Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Getting Used To A Slower Pace

For about a month, I rode the Vespa in to work instead of the Triumph.  The Vespa, since it has a 250cc motor, is technically freeway legal, but I take surface roads instead.  80 miles per hour on a scooter, even a big scooter like the GTS, is a bit too thrilling for me.  Especially because that's the upper limit of it's speed, and traffic here generally moves slightly faster than that.

Rather than be a sitting duck on the freeway, I buzz along the city streets to work, and just enjoy the extra torque of the big motor (as compared to a 150cc scooter) on quieter roads.  Slow is fun, especially when there are interesting things to see along the way.

The Triumph, however, let me know it was getting a bit lonely and jealous of the Vespa, so I decided I'd resume riding the freeways on the Speed Four and let the Vespa chill in the garage for a bit.

Apparently, my traffic and speed tolerance went way, way down over the last month.  I read a journal of a bicycle tourer recently, who said that riding in a car, experiencing the speed and peril of fast traffic, after several months on a bicycle was absolutely terrifying.  My experience was similar. 

It was hard to keep my speed up, because it just seemed too dang fast.  I had to keep a close eye on the speedometer to keep from holding up traffic.  And other drivers are maniacs, swerving from lane to lane and invading my personal bubble too often.  The ride home was the same.

This morning's ride in wasn't as bad, but still a bit too thrilling.  Makes me think I might start riding the back way on the Triumph, at least while it's cool outside.  A bit of tranquility while riding is a good thing.

Or, maybe I'll keep riding the freeway and get my nerve back.


Richard Machida said...

" ... and traffic here generally moves slightly faster than that."

Really!? Faster than 80! I guess I need to get out more. Traffic around here will rarely reach 65 and is frequently much slower.

Trobairitz said...

It is amazing how used to the slower pace we get. Back roads sound like a good plan as long as they don't come with too many red lights.

Lucky said...

Richard - I take it you haven't visited Phoenix. ;) Granted, non-HOV-Lane traffic grinds to a halt during rush hour. I generally avoid those times, though, so people are free to haul ass - and they do.

Trobairitz - lots of red lights, but since there's no traffic, frequently I can just start coasting when I see a red light, and hit the gas again when it changes.

irondad said...

I am just having a hard time with this mental image. If this happened to you then I am never, ever, going to ride a scooter. Or a bicycle for that matter!

Lucky said...

Irondad - I've mostly gotten back up to speed, so to speak. I know you've witnessed the fun of a Phoenix freeway. After a few weeks away from that, enjoying quiet roads and low speeds, diving back into the fray is rather disorienting.

Luckily, I have a pretty high thrill tolerance.