Scooter in Moncton

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A couple of years ago, I woke up after having a dream of owning a motorbike, and thought, "That's cool!" I told my wife about it. I wasn't expecting a good reaction. Afterall, I had told her dreams in the past about owning various vehicles such as an ultralight aeroplane, a gyrocopter, and so on. All of these were met with answers such as, "Sure, as soon as the divorce is finalized," or, "Over my dead body." I didn't expect it to go well.

But not this one. She said simply, "Hm. That's cool." The wheels of the bike began to turn.

Over time, I though about which bike to buy. I began to scour the want ads looking for a cheap set of wheels. The more I thought about it, the more my personality came into my mind. I have an addictive personality, and I'm a bit compulsive, too. Now it has been years (about 25) since I last rode a two-wheeled, powered vehicle and that was a Honda XR80 in a cottage area. I'm heavily involved in mountain biking, and fairly frequently ride my bicycle to do errands, so I'm accustomed to riding in traffic, but the motorbikes are a fair bit heavier, and they go faster. And I know that if I bought something that could do 200km/h or faster, I'd eventually, if not right away, push to see how fast I could go. Given my lack of experience, that's just setting myself up to get killed.

The dream came and went. And came again, and went again. Then I saw one of these Yamaha BW's scooters in a local hardware store's parking lot. I laughed. I always laugh when I see one of these. But curiousity got to me, and I had to look at it. While looking it over, an older gentleman came out of the store with a helmet. I realized it was his scooter I was looking at, so I felt caught. I had to talk with him about it out of courtesy, I figured. The more I talked to him, and seeing the grin on his face, the more it inspired me. Cheap to buy, very cheap to run, and he also talked about what he called the "grin factor".

I thought about it off and on since then. Last year, I actually though seriously about it, but couldn't bring myself to do it. What would the people at work think? I'm in a testosterone-filled environment, and like it that way. But a scooter? Get a real bike, for frig's sake.

But a motorbike requires a motorbike license, and therefore testing, and all that stuff. But in New Brunswick, a scooter with an engine smaller than 50cc is good to go with a regular driver's license. Buy it, insure it, and ride. Also, the automatic transmission means no clutch, no gears.

And then I realized a couple of other things. What better set of training wheels? Get used to something that is underpowered, that can't go fast, and learn how to ride a motorbike on that. Then, as I get more comfortable and develop some discipline, maybe riding a bike would be safer in the end. And it would also let me decide if I even want to keep the dream of a motorbike. And my kids like looking at motorbikes. If they ever get into them, it would be good for me to have some experience to draw from to help them survive, wouldn't it? And in NB, a 14 year old kid can get a limited license to ride a scooter, too. It almost seems to be making sense. I thought some more. And decided, if the right deal came along, I'd seriously consider it.

More on the story to follow in future posts.


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