Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Scooting Life

Scooters in the US are a subset of the motorcycling life. And motorcyclists for the most part ignore or dislike scooters which are viewed as underpowered emasculated and not ridden by real men. I grew up riding in Italy where Vespas and motorcycles each play a role and the riders of one may also be riders of the other.  Because I am a contrarian I have taken to riding scooters in my old age. Also because arthritis in my left wrist makes using a clutch painful and modern scooters like cars tend to be automatics and the left hand is mostly idle. At my age I have nothing to prove but I take pleasure riding a small engined scooter too far and too often thus shocking passers by. Like my August trip to Niagara Falls in 32 hours on my Suzuki 200.

Wytheville, Virginia, August 19th, dawn. 

It was fun though no one believes me! Next year I plan a repeat trip perhaps to Alexandria Bay. My friend Val knows why, because she grew up there plus it’s 1500 miles from Key West and I’ve never been. All this by way of explanation. I’ve now downgraded even lower to a - wait for it!- mobility scooter. Sounds  like old man stuff indeed! 

Notice the walker hanging off the back to give me complete mobility and independence! I am a happy camper. Thank you Therese for gifting me a month’s rent. My friends are extraordinary.  This isn’t a substitute for exercise but with a top speed of a leisurely jog and a range of twelve to sixteen miles I am set. It has lights turn signals and an indoor horn. It is comfortable and it sets me free. Thank you Island Mobility on Stock Island. Craig was a pleasure to deal with. 

This machine is slick. It fits in my apartment better than my manual wheelchair. It rides bumps and lumps just fine, it fits on sidewalks and takes me into the aisles of Publix with the greatest of ease and no fuss. 

It’s easy to use, just turn it on and press F for forward and ...R for reverse! It’s the black bar visible in the photo above. It doesn’t beep in reverse (thank heavens)  and comes with a mirror. It’s exactly what I need until I get my driving privileges back. 

Work is three miles from home along North Roosevelt on a waterfront sidewalk ideal for the purpose. I know this isn’t sexy but it has changed my life. For some a leather jacket a Harley and a handgun are signs of masculinity. For me it’s having fun with what I’ve got and my first instinct was to be an explorer with a whole new perspective of my town. I am blessed with curiosity and a desire to experiment and this is just another way to do that. 

This is going to be a blast. I’m half pedestrian half electric cyborg. 

I’ve also got permission from my scooter buddies on Adventure Rider (advrider.com) to participate in scooter tag which is not normally allowed for mobility scooters... remember I was talking about how segmented riders tend to be? Well I have permission to participate owing to my extraordinary circumstances. 

Pretty cool huh? I have great friends all over the place. I may have weak legs but I’m a happy lucky man. Oh and Rusty got his stitches out from the visiting vet, Dr Edie. 

No strenuous walks till mid January when his tendon should have healed. Excellent news. We’re doing well, both of us. And my wife is managing. I did some shopping for her. And got it home in one piece. 

Getting there, but by bit. I always said I’d get whole again. And I will. Doubters are banished!