Monday, September 29, 2008

300km and planned solo ride

Well, I passed 300 km on the odometer today, so, as recommended in the owner's manual, I changed the motor oil and the tranny oil in the new scoot today. The oil changes were a snap, and the scooter runs very well.

I took it to fill up the gas, and was shocked to find that I got over 100 mpg, again. It's amazing to me that I've gotten better fuel economy out of a 150cc scooter than I was able to achieve with the 50cc Vino. Of course, I ran the Vino at top speed much of the time, which reduced the fuel economy. I run the Kymco at about 1/3 to 1/2 throttle most of the time, which probably makes the difference.

Overall, the last several days with the Kymco have been more than pleasant. As previously mentioned, it is easy to ride, stable, and peppy. I've tested acceleration against a friend's Jetta, which has a standard transmission, and found that my People 150 outpaces the other vehicle, even though my friend was trying pretty hard. Once we hit the top end, the Jetta took the advantage, but low end acceleration was one of the major reasons for getting the faster scooter.

This weekend I'll be riding solo up to Clearfield county to test the long distance performance of the Kymco. Route 322 is about 70% highway driving between here and there, but it should still be doable. I'll probably stop to rest and take pictures along the way, after all, it's beautiful country.

Upon my return I will post pictures and a full report on the Kymco People 150's highway and long distance performance.

Friday, September 26, 2008

More kymco impressions

It's the third day that I've owned my new scooter. I'm still taking everything in, but despite the two minor issues I've mentioned before (storage space, Kilometer odometer), I'm more than pleased with my purchase.

Aside from the obvious factor of engine displacement, there are some noticeable differences between the Kymco People 150, and the Yamaha Vino Classic. It's not exactly fair to compare the two, since, for what it is, the Yamaha Vino is a quality machine, designed specifically for low speed, urban commuting. The Vino does that job very well. That said, I wasn't riding the Vino as an urban commuter. I rode the Vino for extended periods of time, which could become very uncomfortable on my posterior. In addition, bumps in the road, particularly the occasional pothole, were terribly jarring. Fuel economy wasn't always the best either since I had to ride at full tilt much of the time, just to avoid getting run off the road.

On the other hand, the Kymco People 150 was designed to be ridden. I've sat on it for two hours straight now with no discomfort. Fuel economy is amazing, but I don't need to ride anywhere near full throttle, so I'm not taxing the engine at all. Road irregularities are no problem at all, since the 16 inch tires just roll over potholes like they aren't there.

Now that I've compared things that are apples vs. oranges issues, let's look at apples vs. apples issues.


The mirrors on the Vino were small, but even with a heavy coat on, I could see behind me very well. The People's mirrors are a little wider, but don't seem to give as good of a picture of what's directly behind me. I'm sure in time that this can be adjusted, or I could always replace them with something better.


The headlight on the Vino was great on low beam, but visibility dropped dramatically with high beams. I think the high beam was aimed a little too high. The People's high beam is very bright and illuminates the road very well, as does the low beam.


The Vino and the Kymco are both very maneuverable. It's hard to compare them on this aspect, but I'd say there's little difference between the two; however, the Kymco's larger wheels make it feel much more stable. This might be of interest to anyone in the market for a 50cc since Kymco does have the People 50 and People S 50, both of which have 16" wheels as well.


If you want a 50cc scooter, the Vino 50 is not a bad choice. On the other hand, if you get one from a Yamaha dealer, they will try to nail you with tons of additional fees. I hate to admit it, but that is what happened to me. I paid more than $300 in dealer fees for a 2006 Vino with a sticker price of $1599. I still highly recomend the scooter as a daily commuter, if that is all you are going to use it for, and I think mine is still available at Trans-Am Cycle Sales in Lititz PA. If it's no longer there, they do sell other scooters, and the Kymco Agility 50 gets high marks from what I've read.

If you're doing more riding than just a short commute, I can't stress enough that a 50cc scooter may not meet your needs. I'd really recomend a 125 - 150cc scooter, or even something faster. Yamaha and Honda are both fantastic brands, but dealer fees are a big problem. They aren't necesary, but the dealers and salesmen tack them on to make a little extra. If you can't talk them down, go elsewhere. Kymco, Aprillia, Piagio, and a few others, make great scooters are either a comparable or less costly price-point over Honda and Yamaha, and their dealers aren't as likely to tack on extra fees.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Second day at 150cc (plus windlight update)

I rode my Kymco People 150 about 70 miles today, and I loved every second of it. I took her out on the highway again, but today was rather windy, so I kept to about 55 - 60 mph. The Scooter itself was completely stable and didn't seem at all perturbed by the wind, but the wind was buffeting me pretty well to the point where it felt like it was going to knock me off the scooter, even with the large windshield I attached (the same one I had on my Vino). It's something to be aware of for longer rides on windy days.

I did note that the odometer seemed to be going very quickly, and I checked in at Trans-Am cycle to see if they could give me an explanation (though I already suspected the answer), and, as I had suspected, the scooter came equipped with an odometer that counts kilometers, not miles. That's only a minor inconvenience, and I've seen other scooters with the same issue.

The only other thing I noticed is this strange tendency the scooter has to exceed the speed limit. It's the scooter's doing, not mine! I think it's a factory defect, but I'm not going to take it back!

As to the windlight, it seems to not flicker brightly enough to be seen during the daylight hours. It is certainly bright enough to be seen at night; however, according to a friend, it's not as bright as the scooter's tail light. For $10 +S&H, though, I think it's still a good option.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

50cc Perspectives

There's something to be said for taking it slow. Taking in the scenery is so much easier when it isn't going past at an unreasonable rate of speed. A 50cc scooter gives one an unhindered opportunity to enjoy their surroundings, but it comes at a cost, primarily the safety of the rider.

If you are considering the purchase of a 50cc scooter, that's fantastic; however, there are some caveats. It took me very little time to realize that motorists don't care about the safety of that guy on the scooter there that they just ran off the road. 50cc scooters are a great, cost effective solution for roads with a low speed limit, say 25 or 30 mph. Anything above that speed is asking for trouble. I discovered that, only after I'd purchased my Vino, and here, several months later, I found myself upgrading.

I recommend that if you are looking to purchase a scooter, you should weigh your options carefully. If you live in a city, 50cc is a great idea. If you live in a rural or suburban area, a 50cc scooter may not be enough to get you out of the way of that soccer mom in the hummer bearing down on your tail.

Happy Day!

Well, I broke down and traded in the flying cranberry. I'd had one too many close calls with stupid motorists, so I picked up a Kymco People 150 today.

I've christened it, "The Silver Streak" and hope it is able to live up to its name, though if my highway experience today is any indication, I am not going to be displeased with my choice. Yes, that's right, I rode a scooter on the highway! She is stable all the way up to 65. I didn't go past that point since it's a brand new scooter and I didn't want to screw anything up. Acceleration is very peppy. I was actually kind of surprised. Maybe I am just so used to the acceleration of the 50cc, but even with just a touch of throttle (I don't think I've had her above 1/3 throttle yet), the streak responds magnificently.

She has 16" tires and they have very good tread on them, so stability and traction are fantastic. I don't feel all wobbly like I used to on the 50cc. I was saddened to trade in my other scooter, but I am very pleased with my new one.

The only gripe I have about the Kymco People 150 is the storage space, or better yet, lack of storage space. It has a small glove compartment, which is great, but the trunk under the seat is, shall we say. It might hold a half helmet, but that's about it. so, I will definitely be getting a top case for it, and might eventually pick up some saddlebags.

Otherwise, the seat is nice and big, which means, once I get my M license, my son will be able to ride with me in comfort.

I had been looking at the People S 200, but it was a bit more than I wanted to pay, and for the additional 11cc's over the People 150, it just wasn't worth it. The People 150 is actually 152cc's while the People 200 is not anywhere near 200cc, but rather just a 163cc. I had gone to the dealer thinking I would end up with the People S 200, since he hadn't had a 150 the last time I was there, but I was tickled pink to see the 150 sitting there.

I will continue to provide info about the scooter as I break it in, and even after that. So far though, I am very impressed with the fit and finish, and with the handling. The storage issues are forgivable in light of those factors.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lighting up...

One of the biggest problems for scootsters, bicyclists, and motorcyclists (shall I add pedestrians to the scenario?), is visibility. How do we increase our visibility in reasonable ways, and how can we do so without breaking the bank?

Well, I found a neat little do-dad through the forums at MajestyUSA that helps accomplish both goals. It's called, A windlight, and you can find it for sale at New Enough. The company that makes it is HJC, and it's really quite cool. It's a plastic housing which holds a tiny turbine and 8 LED's. The housing attaches to a helmet with some adhesive tape. Once enough air flows through the turbine, it starts to spin, which lights up the LED's. The LED's don't just stay lit, they pulse, which is much more eye catching than a steady light.

Let's look at the Pro's and con's of the device. We'll start with the positives.

Positive Aspects:
  • No batteries
  • Uses wind energy, which should satisfy most eco-freaks
  • Innexpensive (it cost me $15.00 once the shipping and handling was figured in)
  • LED's flicker, which will catch the eye of following motorists
  • Lightweight, does not add significantly to the weight of the helmet
  • Comes in two colors.
Negative Aspects:
  • Plastic seems cheap.
  • Unit is slightly bulky
  • Unit somewhat resembles the camera emplacements on skydiving helmets
  • Unit does not light up until the rider reaches 25 mph* which means it is not like other helmet lights that work in conjunction with the brake lights of the vehicle.
The skinny:

All in all, this is a great product. It's less expensive than other helmet lights, yet practical in its own way. The other helmet lights I've seen have a transmitter that connects to the brakelight, which means they activate when you hit your brakes. That's cool, but they cost between $50 - $100, which is not so cool. And, the upside to the Windlight is, it lights up at speed, rather than when stopping, which means, it helps with visibility while moving.

The cheap plastic construction is concerning, and it will be interesting to see how well it holds up to bugs and such that might fly into the turbine. A grill over the turbine might have been a good idea, but it would have changed the airflow, which might have changed the speed of turbine rotation, reducing the energy output, and increasing the spead one would have to travel in order to activate the LEDs.

If you can afford to, combining a helmet brake light, and a windlight would be a good idea, since you'd have a light while at speed, and another one while stopping, once you drop below 25 mph*. If you can't afford to do that, I think a Windlight combined with reflective clothing is probably the best option.

Now all I need is a headlight modulator...

*The product advertisement says it activates at 25mph, though in m testing, I found that it started to work at 20mph, though not as brightly as at speeds above 25mph

Friday, September 19, 2008

Me? A dealer? I don't really think so.

I just got a funny e-mail on my G-mail account. The text was as follows:

Dear Sir ,

Nice weekend!It is glad to write to you with keen hope to open a business relation ship with you.

I'm BBL Wang,a sales manager from Meiduo Co., Ltd. is one of the best professional company to develop and manufacture gas/electric scooter, established in 1996, we have 50cc/125cc/150cc/250cc scooter with EEC/DOT/EPA and exported worldwide.
In order to diversify our existing market, we are interested in supplying our high quality products to you on favorable terms and conditions. Upon receipt of your inquiries.
For more information, we would like to let you know our company web site as below.

If you are interested in our products, please contact us at any time.
Hope to hear good news from you.
We thank you very much for your attention and look forward to your reply soon.

Sincerely Yours,
BBL Wang


Wow...So, I can partner with them to sell the same types of scooters I have cautioned others against buying? I'd be willing to test their products and review them, but I don't think I'm up for taking a huge chance of ruining my own reputation by signing up as a re-seller for an untested (and from what I can tell from some quick internet searches, unreviewed) product?

I responded stating that I'd be happy to review their products, but I haven't the wherewithal or interest to purchase a franchise. Heck, I'd be excited to do product reviews for some of these companies. From what I've read, not all Chinese scooters are junk (though it seems to be the predominant theme), and some can actually be 100% reliable and of superior build quality. If they wanted to prove to me that they have a superior product, I'd be more than happy to put one or more of their scooters through it's paces, put several thousand miles on it, and see how well it holds up. That might take me a while on a 50cc, so maybe they could send me a 150 or 250...Heck, I'd take a 50 as well, just so I could review them all.

I'm not holding my breath though.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fall Foliage Ride

October 18th will be the date of our Fall Foliage ride. We have not yet nailed down a route, but it should run through Southeastern Lancaster County.

We hope to have a better turn out than we had over this past weekend. I'm not aware of any major events happening that weekend, so there should be no conflicts, except perhaps from work, but you can always just blow that off (kidding).

The nice thing about this area is that there are so many places to ride and so many things to see. We are also thinking about a Lancaster County Covered Bridge tour, perhaps for the spring.

Yes, you may be looking at this post and saying, "I thought he said it was the 20th?" but no, you're imagining things.

Actually, it's my bad, I had the date wrong in my head, and I've edited the post to show the correct date.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Just a recommendation. If you're not feeling good, don't ride a scooter to work.

Since Saturday evening, I've been feeling under the weather. I went to work on Sunday feeling kinda icky, then called off yesterday because I couldn't stand up straight without the help of a nice solid wall. Today, I had no choice, and I thought I was feeling better until I got about a mile down the road.

Thankfully the air was cool and kept me alert, otherwise I might not have made it to work. As it was, I was praying for safety the whole way to work and said a prayer of thanksgiving once I got there. I don't know what kind of bug i picked up, but it's no fun.

Scooting home was a little better. The air was a lot cooler so it really slapped me awake and helped me to be a little more alert.

Now that I've had the experience though, I will say, if you're sick, stick to four wheels, or just stay home. I know I will probably forget that advice sometime in the future, but for now, that's where I stand.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

foggy morning

Lancaster County is beautiful in the early morning. A shroud of mist, like so much cotton batting lies over the cornfields and in the stream valleys. Tendrils of fog snake across the road, their insubstantial fingers grasping, yet easily whisked away by the breeze of my passing.

The horizon is lit with a warm golden glow, holding the promise of the rising sun; Summer reaching out to take a final stand against the chill of autumn and the frigid grey overcast of winter.

Birds flit amongst the mist, seeking an early morning meal, as lights come on in the houses along the road, heralding the coming of another day.

I zip past on my two wheels, lost in the feel of the wind and the beauty of the morning. If any hear my passing, none make an especial effort to watch.

I am one with the morning creatures, lost in the mist and the fog, flying, while still firmly on the ground. I have never felt so alive as in this moment.

The moment passes, my destination is upon me, but I shall return again to the call of the road and the hands of the wind. The mist will again lay itself upon the fields, and I will ride.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Great Ride!

We ended up with only four riders total, but we had a blast. The weather could not have been better. The sky was a brilliant blue with tons of poofy grey and white clouds. We didn't have any trouble with rain.

The four of us stopped about five times along the way to rest our respective hindquarters, and had good conversation and some good laughs.

Gerry and I are going to plan a fall foliage ride for October. We'll focus the ride more on the Ronks, Strasburg, and Pequea areas most likely, though we may amble down toward Quarryville. Look for more information on this to appear on this blog or on Scoot Lancaster!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Informal Scooter ride

I just returned from a short little scoot with some other folks who appear to have a little informal scooter club that meets on Wednesday evenings here in Lancaster just to swap stories, chat, and look at each others' scooters. We met at a gentleman's house where he has five(that I could see) vintage scooters in various stages of repair.

I was glad when Gerry from Scoot Lancaster showed up. I was starting to wonder if I was going to be the only person there with a 50cc. He came in on his Yamaha C3. I finally got a chance to look at it up close. It's a nice little scooter, and it's a bit bigger than mine.

I will say, you know you've got the smallest scooter at a gathering when someone calls your scooter "cute."

All in all, it was a great little ride. We scooted over to the Friendly's in Centerville to enjoy some ice cream. Gerry and I were on our little 50's and the three other folks who went on the ride all had 250's. I must say, I wish I could afford a Vespa. I was really impressed by the clean lines and classy styling of those scooters.

Well, I'm still lookin' forward to Saturday. Here's to hoping we don't get rained out!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ride guidelines.

I wanted to put out some basic guidelines for the scooter ride.

First and foremost, the ride organizers are not responsible for any damage or harm that may come to the riders or their vehicles or any other personal belongings they may bring with them, etc. etc. and so on and so forth ad infinitum. Riding a scooter or motorcycle is by nature a dangerous proposition, so it is expected that riders will understand that a group ride holds its share of additional dangers. I hate to sound like a jerk, but I have to cover myself and the others involved.

We ask that the ride be considered a non-smoking event. Not only is cigarette smoke unpleasant for non-smokers to inhale, riding on top of a gas tank with a cigarette in one's mouth is not exactly condusive to safety...just sayin'. :)

Please use discretion with the use of foul language. We want to provide a positive image of scootsters and we don't want to sound like a gaggle of outlaw biker wannabes. :0D

We will ride together, with a lead rider and a sweeper, and possibly a middle-man should we have enough riders to warrant such a thing. Since our ride includes 50cc scoots, it is expected that the ride will not exceed 35mph most of the time. If you are riding a faster vehicle, we ask that you not exceed the speed of us slowpokes. :)

We will ride in a staggered formation since lane sharing is not allowed in Pennsylvania. We will not ride on the shoulder since I do not wish to have any flat tires from debris. At stop lights, we should pull up side by side and close behind in order to trip the magnetic sensors.

I will add to these guidelines if necessary and I'll have a printed copy for all participants to sign. Unfortunately, I really need to limit our liability.

Above and beyond anything else, the ride is supposed to be fun!

Sooo...once we get done with the formalities, we'll have a blast!

DISCLAIMER: The above guidelines are not necessarily set in stone yet and may be subject to change.

Funny Accessory!

Tell me that ain't a hoot! LOL! I'm so wierd sometimes, I even shock myself! In case you can't tell, it's...well...a bell. Y'know? "Ching-ching, ching-ching!"

I'm going to a retro/wierdo theme on my Scoot. Can't wait until I can get myself some whitewalls. That will just be too funny.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

One more week!

Well, it's a gloomy, soggy day outside, but I'm plenty excited just the same. We'll be meeting in Lancaster at 10:30 next Saturday for the first ever (as far as I know), Lancaster scooter ride. Here again is a link to the route. I may tweak it one more time if State street in Ephrata is in better shape than it was the last time I went through there. Again, anyone with a 50cc-200cc scooter is welcome, and It's not really a big deal if larger displacement scoots tag along, but I don't want to steal any thunder from the New Holland Burgman rally.

I plan on the ride taking at least 3 hours, though it could be less, but I kinda doubt that.

On a side note, I'm seriously considering starting a scooter club for Lancaster County. I don't want to start anything really formal. I have a job, a family, and I try to be active in my church. I don't want to sacrifice any of those things for a club, and I don't want my hobby to start to feel like work. I already work more than enough as it is.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I'm kinda pooped. So far I've put in about 48 hours this week...and tomorrow I get to put in 14 more hours tomorrow. It's been one of those weeks. We have 7 staff at the group home trying to fill the roles of 12. I am so looking forward to having Saturday off.

I am thinking I might visit the Hay Creek festival with my family. My best friend shows a couple of his engines there every year, and we went last year. My son really enjoyed it. Of course, if it rains, we definitely won't do that.

The other option is to just take my kid to the movies and relax, but that would be too easy.

Unfortunately, we're expecting rain on Saturday, So I'll probably end up doing a lot of inside stuff.

On a different note, I have a little project for myself. I need to rig something for carrying my shotgun on my scooter so I can just use the scoot to go hunting. For deer season it will be no big deal since I'll simply use my .357 and it's really easy to carry with its shoulder holster. I've got a few ideas. One would be to get a sheath for an ATV and adapt it. I could also get a single gun hard case and strap it to the side of my scoot. Whatever I do, I don't want to scratch my side panels and I don't want to feel lopsided as I'm scooting down the road. I'll keep you apprised at the project progresses.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Is it possible...

Is it possible to be both impressed and depressed at the same time.

I was not quite blown away by Sarah Palin's acceptance speech tonight, but I was impressed. On the other side, I'm a cynic, and something tells me that somehow, between now and the election, everything will fall apart.

Let me be clear. I do not feel comfortable with John McCain. I think he's weak on issues I feel strongly about, but on the other hand, Sarah Palin appears to share my views. I could pull the lever for McCain/Palin realizing that were McCain to be suddenly incapable of finishing his presidential term, there would be someone waiting in the wings whose views I agree with.

I was very impressed by Sarah Palin's poise as she was giving her speech. I was glad she was willing to stand up to the attacks on her family and record. So many other conservative politicians don't seem to care when they are attacked. They sit back and take it. Sarah Palin comes out with all guns blazing (which she could literally do if she wanted to).

What's really funny about this is that the media is feeling bad for Barack Obama because the golden child has been slammed by a woman. And yet, it's depressing at the same time.

Historic times

It's amazing. We live in historic times. Whatever happens in November, we will have either a president from a minority, or a female vice president (and with McCain's health, possibly a female president not long after).

Either way this thing goes, this election will be an historic event.

I'm watching the Republican convention at the moment, more out of curiosity than anything. I'm registered as a Democrat, though I'll probably switch to some third party before the next primary. I didn't watch any of the DNC coverage since it just wasn't interesting to me.

The first woman to run for vice president on a Republican ticket has just taken the stage, so I think I'm going to log out and watch.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Gas price complacency

In talking to a couple of different scooter sales guys, it seems that scooter sales have slowed a bit since gas prices dropped to around $3.50. I bought mine when gas was around $3.50 since I was finally able to convince my wife that we could not afford to pay $40.00+ a week to fill my car up with gas, so I don't really understand why $3.50 isn't a big deal, but $4.00 a gallon is.

A scooter makes a big difference in the gas outlay. It's been a blessing for my family to not have to pay so much for gas. I still use my car about once or twice a week, but my scooter is not only cheaper to operate, it's a whole lot more fun.

Since gas prices are starting to creep back up again, I wouldn't be surprised to see scooter sales take off again. When the cold weather hits, it will be interesting to see what happens to the scooters that have been purchased over the last few months. My guess is that we'll see a bunch of 50cc scoots up on Craigslist since many middle-class Americans are too short sighted to think far enough into the next year and will be unable to see the benefits of keeping their scooter until they can ride it again. Additionally, many will be unwilling to ride during the cold months because it's just plain...well...cold!

I'll admit, cold weather riding can be brutal. I've only had some small experience with it since I bought by scoot in April, but that was enough for me to learn that I needed to bundle up good to ride in the cold. Even bundled up, it can still be a little uncomfortable. I may swallow my claustrophobia and get a full face helmet for the winter months, just so I don't freeze my chin off. I'll keep my Fulmer 3/4 helmet for the rest of the year though since I like the feeling of the wind on my face.

Back to the topic at hand, it's kinda sad that our society is so addicted to having bigger and better things that we drive ourselves into debt to do so. I have nothing against another person having a bigger vehicle than I do. That's their choice, even if I think it's excessive. I haven't necessarily been the best example of frugality, but I do think there comes a point when one really has to cut back and consider the future, instead of simply living in the moment.

Hunting season!

It's here! One of my favorite times of year. The first day of Dove and Goose season.

I know, I'm evil because I hunt defenseless birdies.

Now that we have that out of the way, there are some foods you can only get from nature. Dove, goose, venison, rabbit, and duck aren't exactly foods one can acquire economically from their local supermarket, so I go out and get them for myself.

My son and I went out this afternoon for a little while and trudged around a local field (with the landowner's permission). We didn't see anything since it was a little hot, but maybe we'll go back later this evening before sunset.

There's a certain something about being out in the fresh air, whether it be on a scooter, by the side of a stream, in the middle of the woods, or out in the middle of a field. Add being outdoors to the age old tradition of taking game from the wild to provide for one's family and one has the perfect combination.