Scooter in Moncton

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

My wife wasn't really happy about me riding a scooter. It wasn't about the money, she said. I asked if she was concerned about how I'd look riding this. She said, as she rolled her eyes, "it's up to you." So I'm fairly certain she wasn't impressed with the idea of her husband riding a scooter. The motorbike fantasy I had a while ago didn't suggest feelings on her part one way or the other. I do know that she isn't overly excited about two-wheeled motor vehicles; she believes they're dangerous. But still, it didn't seem to be about my safety when we would talk about it.

She drove me over to Riverview, to the owner's house, a drive that was under 10km. There it was, all ready to go. I went in and picked up the papers and the keys, they gave me their old helmet (which looked as unused as the scooter itself did). I decided I'd use that one until I could get a new one. I wanted one with a chinguard since I read that the majority of head injuries that occur to people who wear their helmets involve chin injuries to open-faced or visored-but-open-chinned helmets like this one. Either way, it looked very clean, just like the scooter itself did. They really took care of their stuff.

It was time to get driving home on my scooter. It seemed strange to say that. I got some advice from the owner, but really, these things are easy. No gears, no clutch -- just twist-n-go. One thing that kind of concerned me is that I'm an avid, if incapable, cyclist and the front and rear brake handles on this thing are reversed from those of the bicycle that I had become accustomed to in life-threatening single track. Well, it was life-threatening the way I ride it.

So the key is in, the helmet strapped on, now let's see what this puppy can do...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

On the way home, I thought about it. I wouldn't likely get to the bank, anyway, but I still wanted to search this out. If I said, "no," to it, would I regret it? Surely I could live without it, but what I meant by regret was, "would I still keep looking for another one, and think back about this one wondering if I should have bought it"? And if I didn't buy this one but found another one, would it be in a similarly good condition? What would I pay for another one?

All of these questions came to mind. When I returned home, my wife went to work. It struck me that I should do this. I should buy it. But how do I get the money? I could take the kids to the bank, but I thought the tellers were closed at the branch at 3:00, and it's nearly 4:00. I called, found out they were open, and shortly after that my mother-in-law arrived. I took the opportunity, ran to the bank to get a certified cheque, and called around for insurance.

I knew my own insurance company was out, since I asked them earlier about insurance for such a vehicle and they wanted over $300 for a year. They don't underwrite motorcycle policies, so they go through something called the "facility association" which takes on drivers who are refused insurance from other companies, but usually drivers take a huge hit this way. I called the local Yamaha dealer and found the names of some other companies. The one I eventually chose set me up over the phone for insurance right away, for a total cost of $97 per year. I can save that much in gas, or so my rough calculations demonstrated. Essentially, it appeared as though this would cost to buy, but the rest of it, short of any maintenance, would pay for itself in gas that would have been burnt driving my SUV around.

So I called, told them I'd buy it, and set up a time to pick it up the next day. My mother would be in town to look after the kids while my wife and I went over to pick it up. Strangely, I was excited at being viewed as less of a man. The "grin factor" was already taking hold...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Speaking with the owner, the history of the scoot was good. But then, you have to be able to trust him, right? Actually, the story he told was that the scooter belonged to his wife (great, another shot to the manhood). She had recently been involved in two motor vehicle accidents (both in their car), and she swore, according to him, that she wouldn never ride the scooter again. He said she was scared to even get in the car. And hey, I should be able to trust an RCMP officer, no? Police don't lie, do they?

Anyway, he started it up, and it started first shot and hummed just like a chainsaw. Afterall, they make chainsaws with two-stroke 49cc engines. It ran well in the driveway, looked good, and so on. As we talked, he showed me the features (Ok, that didn't take so long) and we talked about the safety record. I figured, if he's a police officer, he would probably have seen some accidents with them. He said that he hadn't yet visited the scene of one of these in an accident. Motorcycles, sure, but not a scooter (yet). As we talked, his wife arrived home, and he left for work.

She told the same story, talked about how much fun it was to ride before the accidents, and then it came up: "Are you serious about buying?" Well, blaming it on my wife, I said, "I don't think I can free up $2,300 for a toy -- especially one of these." I figured, considering the other deals and what I had learned researching the US marketplace on eBay, that $2,000 was not unreasonable if it was in good condition. This one was. I decided I'd throw it out there, see what she said. "I *might* be able to talk her into letting me spend $2,000, but I'm not sure." She replied with, "Well, if you can get the money today, I'll let it go for $2,000."

And there it was. Now I had to make a decision. Is it worth $2,000? Will I actually buy this scooter? Something that was sure to lower my status as a man among my friends. Something that would probably be fun, economical, and all those other things people say when they're trying to be nice to people who bought scooters. I told her I'd go home and see what "the boss" would say...