... to experience ... to share ... to photograph ... people to talk to ... to live...to scoot...to ride

Thursday, April 02, 2009

why ride?

There's something about riding a scooter that is unique unto itself. You're part of a smaller, special group of riders who buck the norm of the 2-wheeled world. Going fast is not necessarily the goal; riding in style is; or maybe its just riding on a scooter that is. And although my fashion leans toward the practical: full face helmet (with butterflies), armored jacket, leather gloves, armored overpants, and tall boots, I feel different. Occasionally I like to have a long scarf to flap in the breeze *yes its a safety hazard to some extent* but hey, Snoopy is my hero.

What's so cool about meeting complete strangers who happen to ride a scooter? I don't know, but it is. Maybe its the single common thread of scooter ownership that allows me to overcome my shyness / lack of social skills / sphere of quiet that usually surrounds me and actually provides a way to say something witty, like 'nice scooter'. Wow. She speaks. But then the next sentence comes more easily... 'so, do you like you scooter?' 'where'd you get it' etc... and before you know it, you're talking to a complete stranger who happens to belong to the same brother & sister hood as you.

I happen to be able to go the speed limit except on long steep uphills, so when I pass other motorcyclists, there's usually the wave and then the startled look. (Hey, was that a scooter that we just passes?) I like that. Still, I'd like a scooter made to ride on dirt roads. Lately, I'm feeling guilty about taking my Ariel on our washboard infested roads - she's a real trooper but its not what she's made for. I need to stop railing about what it can't do AND focus on what it can do. What can my scooter do - ride beautifully, turn nimbly, glide through curves for starters. Riding back dirt/gravel roads is not a strength; nor is going the speed limit at 9000 feet ... so what to do?

Riding a scooter is also an attitude, expresses an attitude, shows an attitude. And since outward expression is usually subtle on my part, it fits me. I know its there. Like the marvelous taste of true vanilla ice cream. Or the intricate sewing on an all white wedding quilt. Its subtle and you have to pay attention to catch the surprise.

I wonder if scooter rallies and motorcycle rallies are similar. I wonder if the people are similar. Is there such thing as having a scooter soul? Or to be in love with the idea of scooter - meaning that it has a certain definition in my mind and the reality is slightly distorted to fit that definition? *damn the reality*. Of course, there are realities - such as putting on the gear morning and evening, watching vigilantly for other vehicles, bad bumps in the road, and elk and deer making spontaneous jumps, and staying warm. And the reality of more freedom than when riding in a car.

Being part of the motorcycle crowd seems different and not. For one thing, its a crowd. One of the many - which is still special since riding a motorcycle is a minor subset of motorized transportation. Is the attitude different? For some riders, its about the speed. And for many others, its about the ride and and riding. So it seems the worlds of scooter and motorcycle intersect... now, what is the essence of that intersection?

Scooting is not a competition, imho, and has some overlap with bicycling. You don't get anywhere very fast on a bicycle; although its easy to become fixated on light equipment and identifying who can ride faster (maybe its the predominance of international-grade cyclists in this area). And since just about everyone rides faster than I do, it seems like a game of ego. Or maybe its because I am the slowest one so my ego is hurt... nahhhh. Riding a bicycle gives me time to spend within the quiet surrounding me.
So there's another intersection ...

Scooting, motorcycling, bicycling. Three worlds that on the surface only share the fact they are two wheeled. Many members of these communities, from my observation, view the other with varying degrees of dismissiveness (or worse) (there are exceptions) and yet they share common elements.

For me, riding brings much joy and peace and
allows time to interact with the environment around me and feel the beauty and harmony from riding well. Air has pressure when you ride. Gravity is felt going around curves. A field of wet grass is pungent. That is the essence of riding.

About Me

Join me in my adventures as I learn to ride a scooter and experience the world through two wheeled transport.