Monday, June 9, 2014

Great curves

One of the things I've been looking for on my recent ride around a bit of the northeast,  is great roads for riding a scooter.  My Kymco is admittedly not terribly fast, and scooters in general,  discounting the maxi scooters, aren't designed for highway riding.

No, the basic, small-engined motor scooter is designed with city driving in mind, or perhaps puttering around rural by roads.  So the secondary roads are what I've targeted. Here follows a list of what makes a road a great scootering road:

  • lower speed limits, especially important for the smallest scooter engines 
  • smooth road surfaces, because let's face it; scooter wheels are tiny and feel the bumps
  • Scenery. After all, motoring on a slow bike isn't much fun if there's nothing to see
  • Quaint little towns or even big towns. A bit of history is a big bonus here.
  • Curves and hills. Honestly, uphill isn't as fun as down, but you gotta have the twisties.

Many of these roads have been mentioned already, but I've compiled them here in a list for easy reference.

The first was route 287 north of Williamsport, PA. It was twisty and the surroundings were fabulous. The road conditions were decent as well. There were a few small towns to spice things up, and the speed limit won't be an issue for smaller engines.

The road through Letchworth Park was interesting in a few places, but as a riding road,  it really doesn't cut it. Sure, by all means, visit the park. The scenery is breathtaking.  Just don't go there just for the ride, the speed limits take all the fun out of it. The exception here might be 50cc scooters. I can see one of those being a blast here.

Route 20 across the middle of New York state is not terribly twisty, but it does go through some neat towns and there are some great hills. The speed limit will keep smaller engined scooters on the berm though.

Route 8 from Utica to Warren County, NY has potential, but there are some 55 mph zones, making it tricky for small displacement engines. Still, the mountains are amazing and he road surface is fairly good. There are plenty of small towns, but not a lot of gas stops, so be prepared. Also be prepared for horrible road surfaces after the Warren county line.

Adirondack Road on the east side of Schroon Lake is so curvy and hilly and twisty. Caution is advised due to sand on the road, but with a bit of care, this road is worth it. Stop in at the Adirondack Country Store in the morning for blueberry pancakes.

Route 9 between Pottersville and Chestertown can't be missed. Beautiful waterfront riding with absolutely smooth road surfaces and fantastic corners combine to make this one of my favorites on the trip. Even after Chestertown on into Lake George, Rt. 9 is worth the time, though the speed limits go up to 55 in places.

Route 346 in Vermont is short but breathtaking. The church below says it all.

Route 112 through Worthington, and then left onto Montgomery road turned out mostly smooth and twisty. The Westfield River follows much of it, and the Berkshire hill towns are wonderfully quaint. Of course, then you hit the Westfield city line and the road turns into the moon.

Route 23 from Woronoco, MA, all the way to the NY state line is a fantastic ride, with the exception of parts of great Barrington, which are also transplants from the moon. The road is twisty, mountainous, and passes through delightful hill towns with speed limits that are generally scooter friendly even for the smallest displacement machines. This was probably my second favorite on the whole trip.

Routes 23, to 9s, to 199, to 209 to the PA border. This set of roads was a blast, with a few small rough patches. They are not the best routes for a 50cc scooter, or even anything less than maybe a 110, because of the 55 mph speed zones. Aside from that, the ride is great. There aren't that many twisties, but it's still a beautiful ride and there is plenty to see.

Then there was route 209 in PA north of Stroudsburg. They've repaved it through the Delaware Water Gap, which has moved this road from one of my least favorites up toward the top of the list. The rest of 209 wasn't bad either, but this was pretty good.

And my favorite stretch of road, what I might even call the perfect scootering road, is route 895 between routes 61 and 183. The speeds are perfect for scooter riding, the curves are gentle as are the hills, and the surroundings are simply breathtaking.

The final road on the list, of which I am ambivalent, but deserves mention, is route 419 between Shaefferstown and route 183. It's a bit straight, and there are a few rough patches, but the farmland and towns all around are worth the time.

So, there you have it; some great roads from my perspective on the seat of a Kymco People 150 scooter. Your mileage may vary depending on construction and the seasons, but as of the date of this writing, you have my recommendations.

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