Wednesday, October 28, 2015

and so it begins...

This morning, I became a student again after seventeen years out of college. I'm attending the Motorcycle Technology Center at York Technical institute.

Thus begins the fulfillment of a dream. Working with my hands is extremely fulfilling and something I've wanted to do for years. I'm not 100% certain where this will take me, but I'm going to keep writing as I am able.

I'm considering taking my writing to the next level, or opening my own shop. At this point, it's too soon to say.

Today was more of a meet and greet, setting up ipads and accounts and so on. I'm not sure what tomorrow will bring, but I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

It's a scooter thing...

It's funny how different people are moved by different things. As the weather grows increasingly cooler, riding a scooter invariably raises some eyebrows. The other day a co-worker was baffled by the idea that anyone would want to ride a scooter on a cold day. It wasn't something I could explain. The closest I could come to an explanation was to amend the Jeep motto to: "It's a scooter thing, you wouldn't understand."

Those of us who know the joy of riding a scooter or motorbike on a clear, crisp, autumn day, understand what it is that draws us to do so. It's something we can't really put a finger on. 

Yesterday was a long day at work. I rode to one location near Leola, PA, worked for eight hours, then set our for another home in South Lebanon. I had an hour and a half between shifts, which allowed me to take my time. 

Taking the scenic route on an autumn day lends itself to breathtaking views. Perhaps this is part of what keeps me riding as the seasons change. Riding a scooter or motorbike has a way of connecting the rider to nature. Of course, it the weather really turns or there are wet leaves on the road, the connection can become very personal, but we won't explore that for the moment. 

Yesterday's ride didn't disappoint. Lancaster and Lebanon counties are lovely in the fall. My route ran past the Middle Creek project. The reflection in the lake surface was breathtaking and the fall air was so fresh and clean. Maybe this is indeed that inexplicable something that draws riders out in cooler weather. The beauty and the chill air make me feel uniquely alive. 

While it may be impossible to completely relate these feelings to the uninitiated, we who enjoy riding motorcycles and scooters in all sorts of weather understand. We know the freedom and the rush. We know how it makes us feel especially alive. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

All hyped up and nowhere to go

Earlier today I read an article decrying the stupidity of the Hydrogen car. Of course, the article had many kind things to say about electric cars, while ignoring that many of the issues they had with hydrogen vehicles are also problems facing owners of electric vehicles. Let's face it, both plug-in electric and hydrogen electric vehicles rely heavily on fossil fuels at some point to obtain their energy.

Either way, buying a car is not a truly "green" thing to do. Think about it: to build any car, resources must be mined or extracted, processed, and formed into the various parts. The larger the car, the more resources are needed. Certainly, recycled items are now being used for plastic parts in some cars, but that's just a small piece of the pie. Even the smallest cars available here in the states require more resources than any scooter.

Scooters and small bikes, like the Honda Grom pictured above, use fewer resources to make, not to mention the resources needed for operation and maintenance. Thinking that you're doing a favor to the environment by buying a car, is a delusion. Frankly, thinking you're doing a favor to the environment by buying a bike is only marginally less deluded, but still has less impact in the long run simply by nature of the substantially smaller amount of resources needed.

Scooters and small bikes are versatile, inexpensive, and practical transportation. Most passenger cars carry one person most of the time. This just does not seem practical to me, which is why I personally rely on my scooter far more than my car. It just doesn't make sense to run a five passenger vehicle that gets 20ish mpg when a scoot will get me (and sometimes the dog too), to whichever destination is needful. Certainly, there are times that a car is preferred, such as blizzard and monsoon conditions, but even then (as previously discussed in my Nissan Leaf overview), an electric or hydrogen car would cost more in the long run than I could easily justify.

Hydrogen vehicles may eventually get less expensive, but for now, they cost about as much as electric cars which makes them little more than a political fashion statement. I'm a simple guy and can't make that kind of statement on my income, so I'll stick to my 14 year old Jag (she turns 14 this month), and my lovely Honda PCX.

Sure, scooters aren't the equivalent of the popular kid in school. Some might even think them to be the geek or nerd, but in the end, geeks and nerds tend to have a future past highschool. Electric and hydrogen cars are popular with people who want us to think we should be "saving the planet." I know, as do my many bikey friends, that those of us on two wheels can stifle a laugh when the pious Prius driver's pass with their cages festooned in earthy-crunchy-save-the-planet bumper stickers. We know that their "carbon footprint" is a sasquatch's compared to the tiny rabbit trail we leave.