Friday, February 13, 2015

Scoots Across Key West

Scooters are, in my estimation the best way to get around town. But that may be because I have been riding for more than forty years and I still enjoy it. Having said that I have to accep that riding a motorized two wheeler, even one limited mechanically to 29 miles per hour us not to everyone's taste.

Indeed there is more than one way to enjoy getting around Key West, so why choose a scooter? Well, there are many rental outfits and they will give a helmet if you choose to take one. Please do, and learn how to wear it properly. You won't see many riders wearing helmets but you don't get the 911 calls when they go down and get flown to Miami ($30,000) to get their heads rebuilt at vast expense. Funerals are cheaper all round.

Scooters are useful, easy to park though not on sidewalks please as there is lots of free dedicated parking. You can ride a rental scooter, most of which are limited to 50cc engines on a car license which is actually a bit crazy but legal. You will be in the company of many like minded middle aged "non biker" tourists and residents who view scooters as useful, not as lifestyle accessories. Just try to remember these are vehicles on city streets and you are not in Disneyland, a fantasy place where adventure outcomes are certain and locals are paid to be polite. In Key West pay attention as you ride.

Yeah, you can try and squeeze extra performance out of your ride but 50ccs gives you a cylinder the size of a travel shampoo bottle so performance is not going to sparkle no matter what. Unless you spend money, and a lot of it, building a bigger illegal engine for more speed. The basic scooter is a automatic with electric start and as easy to ride as a bicycle. Easier perhaps.

Some people in Key West personalize their rides. You would never mistake this for a rental:

Scooters are practical, useful workhorses, especially in a town that's flat and only four miles long. Stock Island is usually out of bounds for rentals.

But they are also fun, and can bring out the kid in you. The responsible one we hope, but still a kid.