Behind the Scooter

Practically, it has it's good points–I can park almost anywhere and it takes about three bucks to fill the gas tank for I'm not even sure how long.

And the less quantifiable benefits are lovely as well. In the afternoons when I'm zooming home from work--speeding down a hill, zig-zagging a little just for grins, the wind in my face, my hair blowing back–-it's a nice little ten minute wind-down from my straight-laced desk job. And when I pull up somewhere-–even in my college town where scooters are fairly common–-I'm generally greeted with smiles and friendly curiosity. After all, I'm a scooter chick, one of the cool kids, "yeah baby" and all of that....

At the same time, the drawbacks of not having a car as a back-up are a-plenty.

For starters, it's been chilly. We're still getting to the lower eighties in the afternoons, but the mornings have definitely been autumn-y. Fifty degrees is pleasantly refreshing when you're just nipping from house to car, but on a scooter going 30 miles per hour it's just cold.

It also has made me a super-defensive driver. I don't ride at night really, which means I just haven't gone anywhere after, oh say, eight. And anything I might have needed on the busier streets of town has been nixed as well.

Not that I couldn't do those things, I just don't.

Having been the victim of two bike crashes that were nasty enough to be getting on with (once I got hit by a car, the other time I went head-over-handlebars and turned my elbow into hamburger) I'm very aware of my vulnerability on a vehicle that has low visibility and no walls or air bags. At every four-way stop I make eye-contact with each of the other drivers before I go; at two-way stops and open intersections I keep my hand poised on both brake and horn. I generally hesitate to use the horn on my car for fear of being needlessly rude; on the scooter I use it at least two or three times a day. Last, but not least, I know where every pot hole is between home and work, I know every bad bump, and yesterday I discovered some new funky ridges in the road to avoid as well. If you want to know the condition of your city's roads, ride them on a scooter.

The scooter also doesn't haul things. And while that may seem obvious, several times this week I've caught myself thinking, "Oh, I'll just nip out to the dog park after work and let the pups have a run," and then immediately realized, "Oh yeah, bummer, no way to get them there...."

Overall, it's been completely livable, and more fun than not, but as a full-time, all-the-time vehicle? Call me what you like, but I'll be a happy girl when my car (and my Sweet Husband) are home again.