While I have only met a few of our Blogging friends, I feel a sense of community that has brought us together via the internet. I go out of my way to meet people on my travels and it is my hope that one day our paths will cross. I truly feel that I have friends around the world, although we have never met. And when we do meet "one day" it will be like meeting a long lost friend.
Today I have a guest speaker, meet Norm from West Newbury, ME. He started with a 49cc Yamaha BWS scooter not long ago and has graduated through the ranks and has owned; Suzuki Burgmann, Honda Silverwing and progressed to motorcycles, Yamaha FZ6 and recently upgraded to the FZ1. He has riding buddies who own both maxi-scoots and motorcycles. He posted an interesting perspective not long ago and I have his permission to publish his post, unedited for your reading pleasure.
I think riders/drivers choose specific models and makes of vehicles dependant upon their personalities, perhaps as an extension of their egos. And when they are behind the wheel their personalities take over. I also believe that the same driver when put behind the wheel of different cars will drive them differently. Anyway, here is his post, I hope you enjoy it.
Multiple Personality Disorder:
"My friend Ed left his Honda Helix with me for the purpose of my son learning to ride. He figured the automatic transmission, low seat height, and general good manners of the highway legal 250 cc scoot would be a good beginner’s bike. What he didn’t figure was that my son would never touch the thing and that I, a 52 year old kid, would ride it in a vehicular rotation all summer long, that also included my FZ1 and my Toyota Land Cruiser.
The formula for rotation was simple really. On nice days, defined as sun, light rain, clouds, nights, weekdays, weekends, workdays, off days, and holidays, I’d ride the FZ1. On heavier rain days the scoot offered great weather protection, so that was my ride. Ammo runs and large grocery runs were also scoot days because of the Helix’s massive built-in trunk, which could handle great weights without altering the riding characteristics of the bike. I’d also take it to cash in change at the bank. The Cortech bags on the FZ1 simply don’t appreciate 40 pounds of change in each saddlebag. Sometimes, if it was just plain “sloppy” out I’d take the scoot because it was much easier to clean the outer armor of Tupperware than the innards of the naked bike. And lastly, if there was a monsoon, or I have to move my daughter out of college or, ugh, a “family” outing, I took the Land Cruiser.
It occurred to me that I wasn’t quite the same person while riding one as I was riding the others. As I enter the massive Land Cruiser I believe the car injects me with a large dose of barbiturate. I can’t prove this because it’s smart enough to use one of those teeny insulin needles so it doesn’t seem to leave a mark. What I do know is that I suddenly become sedate and my mind starts to wander. I get from one place to another but I just don’t remember how I got there. As I drive I think nothing of the other cars, the lights, the intersections, exits, and detours. I could care less of such things. I think about my daughter’s loser boyfriend, my son’s lazy summer, my wife’s request for a “just us” vacation and how I wish I were on my bike so I wouldn’t think of all this stuff. Wherever I’m going, since I’m in my car, I’ve obviously been there four hundred billion times. This experience is so mind numbing that nearly my entire brain literally goes to sleep, leaving the brainstem to run the show: breath, drive, breath, drive, yep, the brain stem can definitely handle this.
Aboard the FZ1 I come to life. I smile to the world as I zip here and there. I remind myself of a humming bird. Now you see me, now you don’t. “Hey dear, did you see that little thing buzzing next to us? I went to tell you about it and then it was gone.” “Yea, must be one of them FZ1’s. Fast little creatures ain’t they?” I see the pock marks in the road and on the face of the teenager driving the car next to me. I see snags up the road well before I get there. I “sense” warnings of all kinds like the deer in my back yard at dusk, their ears bristling at the slightest variation of sound or smell ready to take flight if need be, but feasting for as long as nature cooperates. I smell the smells of summer. It might be freshly cut grass or rotting garbage, but it’s all energizing and it’s all good! If I’m on the FZ1 then by definition it’s a good day, a ride with friends to nowhere special, a ride to work, which isn’t too tough these days, and which guarantees me a ride home as well. Aboard the mighty Fizz only a massive traffic jam or a gas station can slow him down; he’s got a little bit of a drinking problem you know.
Now the Helix! Wonderful, funny looking, red rider, zany, and “what the hell is it” come to mind when one first gazes upon this personal transporter. If you haven’t seen one then stop reading this immediately and Google it. Go ahead, I’ll wait…take your time…I’m still here…don’t worry, I won’t go on without you…alrighty then! Crazy, right! It’s a 1995 model but that doesn’t matter because for over 2 decades Honda has been making this scooter and it looks exactly the same today as it did 25 years ago. Somebody out there really likes this thing and they got a friend at corporate who keeps ordering those poor workers to make more of them…exactly the same year in and year out. I’ll bet the assembly line workers who make Helix’s for Honda can do it with blind folds on. Hell, I bet I could make one if I really tried and I can’t make anything. Even my toothbrush has undergone at least ten major revisions during the same time period! Specs, if you can call them that, are: 250 cc’s, 2 tiny wheels, a horn, signal lights, and one bigass lockable trunk. If you own one of these things you don’t brag about performance; you brag how much crap you can stuff into that trunk. And how you get 230 miles to the gallon. (Well, it’s about 70 really but that’s not as funny as 230). 0-78.2 MPH in 20 minutes and 78.2 MPH to 0 in about ten…yeah, minutes. I’m not exactly sure what it uses for breaks to be honest but I think when you apply them about ten baseball cards go into the spokes of the wheels. You will slow, but you have to be patient.
Yet, when all is said and done, I get this evil grin as soon as I sit on the thing. I don’t avoid highways. I go looking for them. I get all the way up to top speed, 78.2 MPH, and head for the left lane. I find myself tucking under the enormous windshield to get an extra 0.5 MPH. As I pass someone I turn my head from my tucked position gleaming my idiot grin from ear to ear. Most people are fascinated by this thing, and wonder how on earth it is actually passing them on the highway…till they see that grin. Then they look away. They’re afraid I think. Motorcycle riders don’t wave at me. Heck, they don’t even look at me. They figure anyone stupid enough to not be embarrassed riding this thing is dangerous. Or worse, crazy. The funny thing is I like them to think that. The funnier thing is that I think I really am crazy when I’m riding this thing. My favorite thing to do on this is race semi’s on the highway. They always play along. I guess long hauling can get as boring as, well, as riding a Land Cruiser. I wish there was some other moron out there riding a Helix on the highway so I could race him when I’m in my car. Little kids wave to me though. They know a good thing when they see it. They haven’t been corrupted by what society tells them is cool. The little scoot that could makes them smile. Their parents in the front seat tell them it’s not nice to stare. But they really just don’t want their kids attracting the attention of the crazy guy on the funny looking scooter.
So there you have it. Three rides, three personalities. Multiple Personality Disorder. And I’m a happy guy!"
Selected photos from the Victoria Scooter Rally (May, 2009)