Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Key West Two Wheelers

Standing on the sidewalk recently I was moved to remember that in a month or so people will start to leave (I've noticed discreet numbers of RVs on the road already) and the migration North will relieve some pressure on city streets, which frankly hasn't been as bad this year as some years past.
Maybe more visitors are using two wheels? That would be nice, but it would be practical too on these small streets.
I ride  a 150cc scooter 20 miles up the Keys from my  home on Cudjoe Key and that is a source of some surprise though I don't know why. The 150cc Vespa will de  better than 60 miles an hour, fast enough to keep up with traffic. But unlike my Bonneville motorcycle not si fast I am at risk of a speeding ticket...
Besides which around town a small body Vespa is a much better tool for the stop and go nature of traffic and the stop and go nature of doing chores, even though my Triumph motorcycle is easy enough to ride and park. The Vespa seen below at the Key West High School mascot, the Conch Shell.
 A friend of mine remarked to me how few people he knows who live in Old Town ride bicycles regularly "the way everyone used to..." as he put it. Some do.
I prefer scooters because they fit in better with cars in my opinion. Bicycles flit between sidewalk and roadway, tend to skip some of the more fundamental road rules which makes some car drivers crazy and yet they highly desirable so if they aren't locked all the damned time someone will walk off with your ride. A Genuine Blur 220 like the one pictured below would be delightful overkill as it is good for more than 70 miles an hour...I should get one for my commute! Except I would be much more at risk of speeding tickets, again...Must...resist...temptation...to...go...Large.
There are lots of Harleys in Key West, the ultimate symbol of the open road and at 800 pounds or more they aren't exactly lithe and lissom urban street fighters. Still they are easy to park  compared to a car and even if desirable aren't that easy to steal. The nearest dealer is in Miami. 
I ponder why more visitors to Key West don't take their two wheeled habits back Up North with them. I think scooters and bicycles are elements of a fun vacation in the tropics and are thus invisible as useful tools for daily life.
I suspect a visitor who has fun buzzing around Key West on two wheels for a few days or weeks would feel silly doing the same at home where an SUV does duty as practical transport.
It's too bad really but I doubt the Key West two wheeled trend will catch on. It hasn't yet.