Most people dream of extravagant vehicle purchases should they ever win the lotto. Private Jets, Tanks,Yachts, Thoroughbred Race horses/camels, Hot Air Balloons, Ferrari's...all chariots fit for a cashed up King. Not me. I always see myself splashing out on a top of range Vespa. Something like a GTS300. Considering the engineering in the standard scooter isn't much more than a lawnmower crossed with a microwave, they arent that expensive. I think the RRP on the above mentioned Vespa will give you change from $10k. A friend pointed out said affordability, which quickly got me thinking I should action this idea now....not when some mythical numbered balls roll my way.
The first step to becoming a scooter rider in the state of Victoria, Australia is to get your license. This involves a 1 day course riding around on bikes that where previously used by circus clowns, but sold off for OHS reasons. At the end you are issued your learners permit for motorcycles and despite probably having never ridden one you now legally can. The requisite license photo shoot is taken by instructor Gavin. He informs you that 'Glamor photography is a bit of a hobby of mine' and then advises you to 'adjust your collar to highlight your neck'. This experience leaves you more freaked than the 40 minute talk he gave at the end of the course on the dangers of riding . His main message from that monologue could be summed up like this "Motorbikes/Scooter are really dangerous and you will probably die. Wear a helmet. Now here is your license". Thanks Gavin!
Having a scooter is great. I remember my first ride like it was yesterday...even though it was wasn't yesterday but January 11th. I watched Quadrophenia, put on my Ben Sherman and took my Mod fingers to the throttle and cruised the streets of inner city Melbourne with gay abandon. Why abandon has to be so camp is beyond me, but it won't shut up about equal marriage rights at the moment.
The maths of scooter ownership quickly adds up. My commute to work is now reduced from a train and a tram taking 60mins door to door, down to an average of 20 minutes or less on the scooter. Public transport was making me pay over $6 a day to use their so called "service" whereas $6 will buy nearly 2 weeks worth of fuel. You look cooler on a scooter. Its a more sexy form of commute. Offering people a dink on your pedal powered bike, or sharing a seat on a bus doesn't get the ladies. Scooters do. Many of my single male friends think I'm effeminate for mounting up, but I haven't had this many looks from ladies since I worked in the lingerie section at a Myer sale. Maybe its the idea of little-bit-bad in Black motorbike jacket? A diet version for the bad boy calorie conservative. Perhaps its the mystery behind the black visor helmet, wondering what sort of elaborate counter cultural hair do this masked bandito of the bitumen possess? The mystery is that there is no hair under that helmet! Some worry about helmet hair....for me it is helmet scalp.
As our cities become much less hospitable to the commuter, scooters will only grow in popularity. There is no better feeling than having the light lawnmower-like roar of the engine under your bum as you duck and weave away from trapped car drivers in peak hour traffic. The scooter is the eco transport choice, and I envisage a time where I will lead the world's most sustainable Biker gang. Hordes of street savvy Mod Asians following me around the city standing over local cafe owners to give us discounted espresso.
As the great philosopher Roxette said "Come on, join the joy ride."