Thursday, April 22, 2010


Small bikes are great. They are light and agile and force the rider to make the most of their capabilities, but big bikes have their own unique charm as well.

In a recent entry, I praised the virtues of riding slow and enjoying the countryside. While this is very true, I am very pleased to note that I have two bikes, which allows me to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Spring is here in full force, and with it comes fantastic riding opportunities. Both my scooter and my motorcycle open up different riding options. As I become more comfortable on the Saber, I find that running it through its gears and taking it around corners and over hills and such is exhilarating. It is capable of greater speed and acceleration than my scooter could ever attain, and while it does not handle nearly as nimbly, it offers other benefits.

One such benefit is the ability to easily carry a passenger. While the scoot has passenger pegs and space on the seat for a passenger, it really isn't designed to carry two adults, at least not American adults (yeah, we tend to be a bit on the heavy side). Today; however, I was able to finally convince my wife to ride with me. Admittedly, we only went around the block, but she actually admitted to enjoying the ride. It was a bit different for me, since I have never ridden with an adult passenger, but she did well with remaining still so as not to offset the balance of the bike, and the ride went without a hitch.

I hope that in time she will become more comfortable with the idea of riding, but we have made a start. Up until now, she was terrified of getting on a motorcycle at all. Now that she has ridden once, she is willing to try again in the future.

I'm hopeful that in time, she will become comfortable enough with riding that she will be able to ride along on her own motorbike or scooter, rather than on the same bike with me. Certainly, having her ride with me was fantastic, but having her ride alongside on a second bike, would be a blast.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Within the last week or so, I have had opportunity to speak to several people whom I have influenced to take up riding or take up scooting.

One of my co-workers recently bought a Suzuki Savage 650 due, in part, to my glowing praise of two wheeled transport. He is still adjusting to the manual transmission, but I am sure that, given enough time, he will become more comfortable. Now he just needs to ride his bike to work so I can get a look at it.

My best friend is still riding his Wildfire R8 50cc scooter, which still runs and started right up this spring. He has had no more problems with the transmission since it was replaced (one should hope not!), and he and I have ridden together several times already this spring. Tomorrow will be another opportunity I am sure.
My boss is considering buying a motorcycle, though I am trying to convince her that a mid-size scooter might be a better choice since she is uncertain if she wants a manual transmission. Unfortunately, she has fallen prey to the common misconception that all scooters are slow and are not for riding on the highway. Certainly, a 150 may not be well suited for such use, but a 250cc or larger engine will be up to the task. Perhaps I should introduce her to the Piaggio BV-500.

The last person on the list is another colleague. He is a gentleman who works for the maintenance team at Friendship. He rides a 2003 Nighthawk 750 (pictured with my Sabre above), and after seeing my scooter, he was full of questions. Since he is an experienced rider, I let him take her for a little spin, and he was even more interested. So, I think I may have brought another scootster into the fold.

If only I could make money convincing people to take up motorcycling and scooting, I'd be a happy guy. Unfortunately, my mechanical savvy isn't quite up to the point where I could start a scooter shop, and I just don't have the killer instinct to be a salesman (tried it once, failed miserably).

Maybe I could write a blog or something...oh...wait...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Planting time

It's that frenetic yet paradoxically peaceful time of year when every living thing is actively pursuing the furtherance of their particular species. Trees are abloom, insects are buzzing about, there is a pair of mallards that are scoping out a nesting site in one of the gardens at work, and the Amish are plowing their fields using the same methods they have for centuries.

Unfortunately, my good camera seems to have given up the ghost, so I am stuck with the 2MP* camera on my phone, but if one looks closely, just a bit to the left of center, there is a dark brownish blob on the lighter brown of the field. That blob is an Amishman with his team of mules, plowing a furrow.

It was a brisk morning which made the ride very pleasant as I took the long way home from work. I still find that peaceful rides in the countryside are more enjoyable on the scooter. The smaller vehicle does not come with the temptation to goose the throttle and rocket up to 65mph in the span of a few heartbeats. It allows one to take a peaceful ride, unencumbered by the need for greater velocity, and unimpeded by the pop and growl of loud tailpipes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

No Speedo? No problem

Shortly after purchasing my Sabre, I became aware of a glaring issue; The speedometer did not work. I took it back to the shop where it was purchased and the mechanic tried to fix it, but only succeeded in fixing it for a mile or so.
I have a replacement sensor and cable waiting to be installed, but cannot afford to pay someone to do the work, nor do I have the right tools to remove the headlight assembly so I can get at the plug.

I needed another option since I will be traveling on the bike this summer. I have a GPS, but buying a mount for it would cost nearly $40.00. I do not have that kind of money at the moment, so I needed another solution. Then it hit me: Velcro!

A modified rectangle of Velcro on the back of the GPS and a contoured piece on the bike itself, and voila! Instant speedo!

I tried it out on the highway, and it stayed put perfectly. I had to yank on it a bit to get it unstuck!

I also gave my scooter the same treatment, though without quite the same results.

I had previously used the suction cup post stuck to the plastic lens above the speedo as a mount but found that not only did this obscure too much of the built-in display, it was not secure and the GPS was prone to pop out.

With the velcro just above the speedometer, I am able to see enough of the readout to compare it with the GPS speed meter, and I can see my clock and gas gauge. Additionally, it also sticks very well.

Now I just need to get a power port on both my scooter and Sabre so I can use the GPS for extended riding.