Friday, March 1, 2019

Motorcycles

Last year when I completed my ride to Canada on my Suzuki Burgman 200 scooter I rode slowly home and met a bunch of scooter riders I'd only ever known online on scooter forums. One of them, Eric in Virginia took to heart my desire for a replacement Burgman. Last week he texted me with a  deal I shouldn't resist. He found a 2014 Burgman 200 in a Houston suburb with 400 miles from new, and offered for a mere $2,000. I think the dealership had taken it on trade and wanted to get rid ofg it before the Spring rush. Eric said he'd love to ride it home for me -crazy- man and that is what he's doing, scheduled to arrive tomorrow, Saturday March 2nd.
It's a four year old scooter that has never been used and by the time Eric gets it home it will still have only 2,000 miles on the clock. We are a nerdy bunch on the scooter riding community but we have some amazing camaraderie. Eric's generosity won't get me riding sooner but it is an enormous morale boost to have the scooter and know I will be riding that very machine before too long.
Eric has enjoyed the ride as far as I can gather despite insistent rain. He also approves of the little scooter noting it actually offers excellent performance and keeps up easily with freeway traffic on I-10 along the Gulf coast. I have to admit it was nice to hear from Eric that he really liked my favorite scooter even though I already knew(!) what an unusually speedy performer this 200cc scooter is when pushed. And so we come to my photos of the day, a simple wander through my local motorcycle shop. Forgive me if motorcycles bore you or irritate you or frighten you; I miss riding and wanted to write just a little about it. Also I enjoyed playing with my iPhone camera in the shop... and you have to suffer for it. Sorry...
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I miss riding so from time to time I drop in on the  last shop in Key West.
 Except it's not in Key West, it's on Stock Island and it's the go to place to get motorcycle service.
 Consequently Jiri the owner is swamped with business.
 Is it such a badly paid trade no one wants to do it, he mused.
 I said it's probably because  no one is trained to do the work anymore.
 Easy enough to learn he added, also telling me about installing his own air conditioning.
 He talked to customers, I wandered around.
 I miss my scooter, but in a broader sense I miss motorcycling.
 I can't walk properly, my feet are still too swollen for proper shoes so I can't ride.
 But I wish I could. 
 I have entered a scooter phase of my life. I considered a proper motorcycle but it doesn't hit the spot.
 I think there is pleasure in the sheer simple utility of a scooter.
 But there is also a mischievous sense of fun in doing more with less. A long distance small capacity scooter? Say it ain't so!
 In a way it is a return to my youth when I criss crossed Europe and North Africa with unsuitable small motorcycles and improvised gear.
 The fact that I live in a  culture that allows only for huge motorcycles for enjoyable touring spurs me on to my madness. 
 Small is economical, small is fun, but small is not arm wrenching powerful.
 Small is easy to handle and makes a lot of sense but most people ride motorcycles as toys.
 A scooter is utilitarian and rather dull they think.
 The predictable among us seek the security of the huge V-twin, the Harley that brooks no competition, that is the default position of the unimaginative. So many machines to ride but only one will do. 
 It's like eating only your favorite dish every day, and worse it is most often done in company, crowds all riding the same thing.
 I say variety is the spice of life and in the world of motorcycles I have tried many of them including Harleys which are fine machines but not the only ones worthy of consideration in a long riding life.
 My Triumph Bonneville was the best but my clutch wrist has arthritis now and a clutch free scooter is indicated.
 Jiri's own bike is a Suzuki that has four cylinders, lots of power and is cheap and cobbled together from parts.  Just how he likes it. I want a Suzuki -a 200cc Burgman scooter not a 1200cc Bandit..
 Seen here working on a client's machine we talked of this and that, of our lives left behind in Europe.
 Jiri grew up under Communism and envied the bikes I rode on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Now we are equals in the New World.
We both like dogs.