Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Fruitville Pike is usually busy in the afternoon and evening, but today I was headed north and the traffic started to bog down just north of Delp road. Coming down the hill and through the next light, it seemed that there was some hold up. At first I thought it was construction, but the traffic wasn't moving like it would if there was someone directing traffic. then I thought it might be a school bus, but the wait was too long.

I rounded the corner and was greeted by the sight of a fat English bulldog wandering around in the road. A good Samaritan had stopped to try to coax the canine out of the road, but when she would try to move her car to get it off the roadway, he would follow her.

I pulled the scooter to the side of the road and together we were able to get the dog into the grass. I sat with him while she moved her car. He was a friendly bugger, and really seemed to enjoy the attention. A few minutes later, his owners showed up to claim their missing mutt.

After the day I'd had, it was nice to do something purposeful.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Three years with Kymco...

...And there's no turning back.

The Silver Streak is just about to pass 15,000 miles (24,116 kilometers on the clock), and is still purring along. It passed inspection like a champ, only requiring new tires, and still gets a consistent 80 miles per gallon on ethanol laced gasoline (89 on ethanol free when available).

Kymco started out as an engine and parts supplier for Honda in 1963 (ref. Scooter underground). As I recall, and I don't have the time to look it up just now, Honda cut them loose in the early 90's because they had grown enough as a company and no longer needed Honda's oversight or help. It's an interesting business model that one does not see happen very often, but my understanding is that this is normal Honda operating policy. If true, it's obvious that the move didn't hurt Honda any, and has proven a boon to folks who want a quality motor-scooter, cycle, or ATV at a reasonable price point.

With that in mind, one could reasonably say that when one purchases a Kymco, one is buying a Honda engine, with a reasonable pricetag, and slightly inferior fit and finish.
  • The engine works like a Honda, lasts like a Honda, and purrs like a Honda.
  • The bodywork is plastic, looks plastic, and feels plastic, but it does what it is supposed to do.
  • The suspension is good for a small bike. It has enough give for average bumps in the road.
  • Handling remains excellent. The bike is light and nimble making cornering a blast.
  • Braking remains reliable. Rear brakes are always worse than front brakes, especially when they are a drum, but that is by design since no one wants to lock up that rear tire in a pinch. The front disc is adequate and provides enough stopping power.
The most common question I receive is "Do you still have your scooter, and how is it running?" This should answer the question. I'll still say, it's not a Vespa, but that's a good thing. It didn't cost me nearly as much out the door (less than half the cost of a Vespa 150LX), and it's just as reliable. Yes, it's not as nice to look at (Vespa's do have that Je ne sait quois), but if you want that, get a "Like 200i", and you'll be a happy camper for several thousand miles. Buy yourself a nice flat screen with the money you'll save...ok, three or four flat screens...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Life's continuing journey

Nissan (pretty sure it was them), had an ad campaign more than a decade ago that featured an Asian man and a small dog (pretty certain it was a Jack Russell), of which the theme was "life is a journey, enjoy the ride." It seems too profound for a car commercial, and the deep wisdom is there, regardless of it's original purpose.

Life's journey takes us many places that we don't necessarily wish to travel. When riding a scooter or motorbike, it's a bit more enjoyable, but for the most part, life's journey doesn't always take us through the fun twists and turns of mountain roads, but rather through the heartache and frustration of urban traffic.

When a family member has a chronic illness, or a child makes ill advised choices or a parent (or other loved one) passes away, these, among other experiences, test our mettle, resolve and integrity.

Sometimes faith is the source from which we draw our strength. Sometimes it is family. Others may look to distracting pursuits (anything from food, to sports, to video games, to television, or whatever), as a coping mechanism. Some of us look to a combination of these and may have other ways of dealing with stress.

These times of heartache are always rough...I wish life were easier.