I have come to the conclusion that it takes a certain amount of raw courage to ride a two-wheeled vehicle of any description through the urban landscape. I’m beginning to think I should save up the bucks for a puke green motorcycle jacket and then attach, oh, two or three dozen megawatt strobe lights to it. And then maybe, just maybe, I will be able to get through a journey without some dick in a four-wheel vehicle coming close to hitting me because they just didn’t see me.
Heaven help me when I start riding my bicycle.
All the books on “proficient motorcycle riding” talk about the concept of countersteering. It’s something that isn’t exactly intuitive; according to the books, to countersteer you turn the handlebars on a motorcycle in the opposite direction from the way you want to turn.
Maybe it’s necessary on a motorcycle. I dunno; all my motorcycle-riding experience has been from the back of the seat. But on a scooter, it’s definitely not necessary. You hardly ever need to turn the handlebars at all, in any direction–just shifting your weight or leaning over will turn the scooter the way you want it to go. Maybe the countersteering business is necessary if you’re making a sharp turn at high speed. I’ve never done that, either.
I want to take the CHP motorcycle class. I want to learn how to ride an honest-to-gosh motorcycle. F’zer has said he wants to take the class, too, but I’m suspecting more and more that he really doesn’t. So maybe I’ll just sign up for the class by myself. It’d certainly be cheaper that way. I wonder if the technique for riding a motorcycle is radically different from riding a scooter? Other than the fact that a motorcycle is built like a boy’s bike and a scooter is built like a girl’s bike, that is.
I’m seeing a lot more scooters on the road these days. I think the lure of 50mpg (or better) travel must be sufficiently great that people are finally seeing the scooter as a really good, really practical means of urban transportation. There are only three real drawbacks: No protection from the elements, limited cargo (and passenger) carrying space, and the fact that there are a lot of dicks out there in four-wheeled vehicles upon whose consciousness a scooter does not impinge. Maybe as there are more and more of us on the road, that last drawback will change. I hope so. I have the feeling that someday I’m going to get knocked off the Vespa, though, and I don’t particularly like that feeling.
I used to just ride around, mostly way up in the hillside neighborhoods, for the fun of it, but I haven’t done that in a long time. I wish I could find some nice, relatively safe, relatively long ride to take just for fun (and some other scooter riders to go with–I’m sorry that my friend Heather, who used to be known as Scooterwitch, moved back east before we ever got to take the ride up to Ojai that we’d talked about). The dealership used to sponsor rides now and again, but either they don’t do that any more or my name’s off their list. There were a couple people who used to show up for those that I’m sorry I’ve lost touch with.
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