I now finally understand the appeal of motorcycles as transportation. The freedom of access and ease of use make them ideal for quick trips of exploration and adventure, and they are easy to operate and maintain. Granted, what I am riding upon is not remotely in the realm of “Easy Rider” or that of a biker gang, rather, my machine of choice falls within the ilk of “Delivery Boy” or “Collegiate Campus Shuttle”. It is a not-so-sleek, two-person, under-powered, garden-variety 50cc scooter that sounds more like an angry insect rather than a hell-beast, v-twin “hog”. But you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sure, I hold up traffic sometimes; I look like a circus bear on a bicycle; I weigh 15kgs more than the machine…but it just works, and it is un-matched as an around-town buzzer.
|[Umbrella Girl not included]|
There are often moments when I miss the capacity and range of a proper car, and I would certainly go the route of buying a beater if I were to do it all over. But, all things considered, I think the choice to willing ride the least sexy option of motorized vehicles has thus far been a far better idea than I could have hoped. I can literally park anywhere, which in a town like Queenstown, is a major benefit. No one asks me for rides (though if they did, I’m actually not sure the poor scooter could handle myself and a passenger), and it costs next-to-nothing to run. The funniest thing about it though is not it’s size compared to the rider (me), or the shitty condition it is in; it’s that the horn on it is legitimately loud and just the right side of “funny but still effective”.
If I had to choose the biggest downfall of it though, it wouldn’t be the lack of speed (any who knows me will attest that the less-powerful, the better), the lack of protection from the elements, or the maddening buzzing sound of the engine…the biggest downfall is that everyone can hear me. In a car, provided the windows are up, you can have a total melt down, belligerently accosting the idiots on the road with you in a fit of paint-peeling blue streak road rage, and all people would really be able to see/hear is your reddening face, flecks of spit shotgunning the windscreen, and perhaps muffled, unintelligible yelling. On a scooter though, your face is only covered by a helmet, which is anything but sound-proof. So, while your face is covered, everyone can still see what you look like otherwise and can hear the terrible, unforgivable things you just unleashed upon the witless driver in front of you (or pedestrian – I almost ran over a group of people standing literally in the road, as though it were a sidewalk…tourists are the bane of this lovely city).
Pros and Cons of a scooter are certainly subjective at the end of the day, but I think that taken in stride and in good humor, ownership of a motorized push-toy is something everyone should experience. It is equally liberating as it is [sometimes] exhilarating, and you discover a whole new world of travel opportunities (or lack there of). So, the next time you’re asking yourself, “What do I spend all this cash burning a hole in my pocket on?” – buy a 50cc scooter. You don’t need a special license, you don’t need to take a test. Best of all, you can tune them cheaply to make them faster, while maintaining the dignity of not actually owning a Harley like every other adult having a mid-life crisis.