Instead of a video I wanted to share an awesome music website I found recently: http://soul-sides.com/ Delicious! If you are overwhelmed, check out his posting on the famous “Apache” song/breakbeat. http://soul-sides.com/2005/04/all-roads-lead-to-apache.html (Yea I realize this has jack to do with scooters. So what.)
Oh yea, it’s Halloween too. What better way to celebrate than going to the Tip Top (downtown) and enjoying a showing of Shaun of the Dead!! (Click on the poster for a bigger – readable – version.) Absolutely brilliant movie, unless you don’t appreciate zombie movies. It’s a rom-zom-com, or romantic zombie comedy. (See, doesn’t that alone make you want to go??) Best of all, the movie is powered by a bike.
Today (10/30) is the last EuroBike Night of the year, in Grandview. 6 PM at the Bank Block, Grandview Ave and West 2nd Ave. Despite the name, it is open to all, even scooters, and non-Euro scooters. Usually the Modern Vespa group (Easy Peasey is their name) go on a ride around 7 PM.
As the winter weather rolls in, many casual riders stop riding. To make up for the decrease in events (group rides, rallies) I will be interviewing various folks. First interview will be posted in a bit, with a Columbus rider who rides year-round, yes even in the winter.
Like all good city planners, Portland has been on the top of my travel list for a while now. Smart Park is the city’s parking system. They can “accomodate your bike [motorcycle] for only $30 per month.” Compare that to the lowest listed car rate: $100 per month. (Source: http://www.portlandonline.com/smartpark/index.cfm?c=35511&a=113934)
They recently created a “Motorcycle and Scooter Citizen Advisory Committee” which will cover topics like safety, parking, and education with speakers, data, and discussion. That and more can be found at their site: http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=40219. Their interactive google map could be better (I assume the red dots are number of spaces) but it’s wonderful to see all this attention paid to non-car modes of travel. Their “Office of Transportation” lists every option you can think of, and probably a few you hadn’t.
I have wanted to preach about this before, but have held back because I had other things to talk about. And the point of my page is not “gear gear gear.” But today I will preach. Don’t worry this won’t become a regular thing (Safety Fridays!) and there’s no gruesome pictures to scare you into wearing proper gear. Other websites do that already. This is also an unusually long post, but I figure those of you who don’t want to hear this will prefer being able to just skip onto the next post, as opposed to dragging this post out into a week-long series.
ATGATT is an acronym that stands for All The Gear, All The Time. I’m a firm believer in it, and recently was in a very minor accident which proved the worth of ATGATT. (I originally wrote this post when it first happened – I have scootered several times since and have healed up fine.) I won’t go into details, but in broad daylight, at low speeds (estimated 15-20 mph), on a road I travel daily, I mis-judged something, ran into something, and ended up going down with the scooter. The good news is I am fine.
A real post will be coming tomorrow. I have been busy with my dog, although sadly not scootering with my dog. Of course if you must scooter with the dog, give it safety equipment (shown above) such as dog-sized helmet and goggles. They really do sell this stuff! The photo below is from Taiwan, where this dog looks quite calm and the owner is at least wearing some sort of helmet. However, let the record show I do not condone this type of dog scootering.
It’s funny to see how people find my site. Lots of neon searches, including “DO YOU SOME NEON LIGHT.” (Their caps, not mine.) “Scooter met neon licht” which I believe is German for “Scooter with neon light.” I know I still have not posted the neon instructions, but it’s coming. Another great search today was “cars that run on peanut butter.” I am about to search for that myself and see if those exist!
Two events for ya:
Next Tuesday (10/30) is the last EuroBike Night of the year, in Grandview. 6 PM at the Bank Block, Grandview Ave and West 2nd Ave. Despite the name, it is open to all, even scooters, and non-Euro scooters.
And this Saturday DJ Irene will be in town. More info here: http://www.columbusunderground.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=9200&highlight=dj+irene Good electronic music. In her honor, here is a video of her. (Safe for work)
This is an old Honda scooter ad. Chicago has scooter parking regulations. Scooters in the city of Chicago are prohibited from parking on the sidewalk, as well as bicycle racks. But Chicago didn’t stop there… they have a brochure explaining parking, as well as paying!
You can find good online gear at New Enough, http://www.Newenough.com I recently got a jacket from them. Also got some gloves but they didn’t fit very well so I returned them. All the rumors are true, their no-hassle return policy is no hassle. Friendly customer service. Their clearance section (updated frequently) has lots of deals. My jacket went on sale after I bought it, but I asked them and they gave me the difference. Look for details of their policies on their site, under Customer Service. Thumbs up!
I’m gonna be honest, today I’m feeling lazy. (Translation: I have too much other stuff to do.) So I’m just gonna quote the recent scooter parking article in Columbus Alive (shown in italics)…
“Columbus City Councilwoman Maryellen O’Shaughnessy agrees that the city needs to examine scooter parking.” Yay! Support from a politician, this is key.
“What if you had one parking space [on city lots] that was allotted for scooters?” asked O’Shaughnessy, who often rides to work on a moped. “You could get quite a few in there. There are other cities that are doing this. What we need to do is study how they are accommodated in other cities.”
Read the full article at: http://www.columbusalive.com/?sec=living&story=alive/2007/1018/l-cylinder.html
As you may or may not know, I’m trying to get scooter parking here in Columbus. Several of us are volunteering our time* to learn what other cities do, and we hope to put together a “best practices guide” that will show Columbus examples to follow. (I know, I know, wouldn’t it be great if we just did our own thing without copying others? Maybe someday.) So eventually that guide will go to City of Columbus Transportation engineers, although of course it will be useful for other municipalities, here in Central Ohio and beyond. Leave a comment if you’d like to help, you don’t have to be in Columbus, you just have to know how to google. 🙂
There’s a transportation focused blog (for Columbus) that had a short posting on scooter parking in San Francisco, one of our example cities. Good photos too. Go read it: http://xingcolumbus.wordpress.com/2007/10/01/motorcyclescooter-parking-contd/
* It’s really kind of sad that no group or company has put together a comprehensive guide. (Yes I’m looking at you, Piaggio and the Motorcycle Industry Council.) There is this group (http://www.ridetowork.org/) that has some information, but it’s not comprehensive and it’s a 501c4. This type of guide should already exist, so that we can focus on just getting a petition going and lobbying our politicians. Instead we also have to educate the traffic engineers.
This Sunday at 10 AM there is a group of scooterists (and at least 1 motorcycle) going on a trip to Hocking Hills. It’s famous for its twisty turns. “Sunday, October 21st, is our first annual Hocking Hills ride. We will be meeting at the White Castle on High Street and Arcadia at ten o’clock in the morning. As always, all scooters are welcome. We plan to ride slower than usual but there will be places where we hit 55 mph. Expect the ride to take most of the day, I imagine we will be back [to Columbus] not later than four o’clock.”
Let them know you’re going by posting on the board: http://www.modernvespa.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14492&start=200
And since it’s Wednesday, here’s a completely unrelated video. I tried to find a good one of motorcycles in Hocking Hills, but the ones I found were boring. This song is called Magalenha and is by Sergio Mendes. Definitely not boring.
Scooter parking is lacking here in Columbus, Ohio. Heck, even motorcycle parking is lacking. The exception would be OSU. CSCC also has some designated motorcycle parking, but it’s not as extensive as OSU’s. Last spring when I looked into CSCC parking they had not worked out the motorcycle parking permit (stickers) so it was all free.
On the other hand, OSU has maps, permits ($15 year round), and even two covered garages. The garages also have visitor motorcycle parking, complete with a meter you feed. A video about this is in the works, but for now, here’s a link! http://tp.osu.edu/maps/MotorcycleMap.pdf (Student car permit prices for one full year range from $75 – west campus only – to $556. Faculty and staff car permit prices range from $76 to $606.)
I’ll keep this short and to the point. Check your tire pressure. With the cold weather, or just the fluctuations in temperature (70s, then 40s, then 60s) your tire pressure might need a look-see.
Also, in the cold weather your neck may get cold fast. Your head too, but I seem to have more problems with my neck. If your jacket (winter) has a big neck cover, that’s good. But if not, get something to cover your neck. I’m gonna try rockin a baclava (bought it for snowboarding) and neck warmer combo and see how that goes. Remember that as you scooter along the wind chill does a number on ya. Ride safe!
Scooters save gas money. My previous car got 30 mpg, considered good here in the U.S. Hybrids are supposed to get in the 50s. My scooter gets in the 80s, at worst. How do I know this? Do I trust the Kymco ad? No. I calculate the gas mileage, and you can too. It’s not hard to do. (Rap album here I come!)
Write down your mileage when you fill up. Write down how much gas you put in your vehicle. Keep doing it at every fill up. Divide the difference in mileage (miles) by the gas amount (gallons) to get your mpg (miles per gallon). Don’t just do it once, an average is more accurate. C’mon people, it’s just a little math, don’t be scared!
Here’s a tip for when you fillup, don’t stick the nozzle all the way into your scooter tank. Continue reading
Wear them. Not beanie caps, not half helmets. I don’t even like the flip-up ones (aka Modular).
For kicks I’m moving the usual “Friday fun video” post to Wednesday.
There’s a connection between scooters and ska. I don’t know all the details, but if you are surprised, just trust me. (Something about the time frames in England, I bet, but I’m not getting into the whole Mod vs. Rocker thing. I don’t even know about all that!)
Cold Weather Ideas:
Obviously you can bundle up to deal with colder weather. Many jackets come with liners you can add that help. You could wear snowboarding pants over your jeans, but it’s better to just get some decent motorcycle pants.
If you don’t like the idea of wearing stuff, (EDIT: If you don’t like that idea …) you could instead try a lap apron. A lap apron attaches to the rider, so it’s also known as a scooter skirt.
Yesterday (Monday) was Columbus Day, so even though it’s not a real holiday, I took it off. Why not, I live in Columbus! And now back to your regularly schedule posting: daily Monday – Friday.
Sadly this really doesn’t help my Columbus peoples much anymore, since our heat wave is breaking…
Hot Weather Tip:
I wear my jacket no matter how hot it is. Some people wonder how I can stand it. With my mesh (summer) jacket, once it gets around 90’s it’s awfully hot. I soak my T-shirt in cold water, and then put my jacket on over it. I find this works fine, so try it. You may not need that expensive special vest after all. (They sell vests that you can put in the frig/freezer to cool you off.)
Stay hydrated out there!
This post was inspired by this photo. Sadly, I do not have such a setup for carrying my bicycle on my scooter.
Now what else can we carry? One excuse people make to not get a scooter is that they need their SUV to carry their 3 bags of groceries. (I realize some people have legitimate reasons for needing a car, at least sometimes. That’s not who I’m poking fun of here.) Here are several photos, probably originally taken by someone else, but provided here from Columbia Scooters (Portland Oregon). (I’m just going to ignore the total lack of proper gear.) Continue reading
My mostly-fun purple neon lighting is 95% cool and only 5% safety. However, there are many other things you can do to help yourself stand out at night.
Granted, it won’t mean that the cagers will see you, because they may not. But every little bit helps. (I’ve read that people in accidents with big yellow school buses say “I never saw the bus” so you can see what we’re dealing with!) Here are a few ideas. Continue reading