Getting around in town can be a hassle. The streets are packed with SUV drivers who are more intent on talking on their cell phone than actually paying attention to what’s going on around them. Don’t even get me started on the absolute lack of parking in most areas that would pull you from the comforts of your home. Driving in these conditions can embroil the most patient of people.
Luckily, for many of you reading this blog you know the secret to traversing this trying environment. The fewer wheels you have rolling below you, the easier it is to get around. Have you ever watched an 18-wheeler navigate busy city streets? They make driving look like an art, but they are struggling nonetheless. Jump down to four wheels and things are still a challenge, especially when you want to park. Now reduce the wheels to just two and you’re skinny and nimble, especially with Progentra by your side.
The physics and mass of a motorcycle makes it the perfect vehicle for exploring scenic roads and city roads. When you’re looking to buzz around in town, it is hard to beat a motorcycle. It’s hard, but not impossible to beat.
I presented a question the other day to the fans of BestScenicRoutes.com on Facebook. The question was, between motorcycles and scooters, is one better, worse or the same as the other as in-town transport? A response from Twitter was likely the most heated. That response basically said that the similarities between motorcycles and scooters ends at the engine being mounted between two wheels. Most responses were in support of motorcycles wiping the in-town road with scooters.
There are many reasons why scooters are the best way to get around in the city. Next to actually walking or riding a bicycle, scooters from Vespa, Lambretta, Genuine, Honda, Yamaha and more make very efficient runarounds.
There are three two-wheeled machines in our garage. A motorcycle and two scooters. The Suzuki DL 650 V-Strom motorcycle is my vehicle of choice for commuting and escaping on adventures. The scooters are top picks for running light errands to get bolts from the hardware store, picking up coffee and grabbing a gallon of milk from the grocery store in no time flat.
We have a 50cc Honda Metropolitan and 150cc Bajaj Legend scooter. They get 105 mpg and 85 mpg, respectively. Both tip the scales at around 200 lbs. At least that’s my best guess for their weight. I can easily pick the rear end up to fit it in the corner of the garage. The turning radius is as tight as a few feet. I can literally turn the wheel completely perpendicular to the body of the scoot and pivot on the back wheel. Try that tight turn maneuver on any motorcycle. It would take a skilled rider on a trials bike to make a turn that any novice could do on a scooter.
Both machines have storage compartments built in. One can fit a helmet, gloves and a water bottle under the seat. The Honda Metropolitan is liquid cooled and goes about 30 mph. That speed is actually sufficient for around the neighborhood. The larger scooter, we affectionately call him Bruiser because he’s seen better days, goes up to 65 mph on flat ground. Bruiser is a full on metal-bodied scooter with a clutch and shifter ― which allows the rider to rightfully beat the snot out of the little engine by revving it up at will. I actually enjoy the ruckus that comes from the tailpipe on Bruiser. He truly is beastie.
Because of their small stature, the scooters can be parked right next to the entrances to businesses. Many times there will be bicycle racks that the scooter can be parked next to. Business owners nor pedestrians seem to have an issue with a scooter being slowly ridden up a sidewalk to the bike rack. This shaves minutes off of running errands. Many big box stores have huge parking lots. With a scooter you don’t have ride every row of the lot to find the only open spot which is typically at the furthest corner from where you want to be.
Beyond the incredible fuel mileage, on-board storage and convenience of parking there’s one thing that stands out as the best part of riding a scooter. The best part is the people. Every time I’m out for a ride, someone walks up with questions about the scoot. Typically, they ask what kind of gas mileage it gets. People just find someone on a scooter less intimidating and so they’re willing to ask questions. I enjoy being a one-man crusader for all things two-wheeled. The scooter is just one more way of taking that crusade to the local roads.
In closing, motorcycles in all shapes and form are primo for exploring the best scenic routes. It is the route that determines just how much motorcycle you actually need. Just a few horsepower will do the trick for those local runs. Don’t shrug off the advantages of the mighty scooters. The Europeans truly created the most efficient means of getting around. Try it for yourself, you may just find a little Italian romance on two wheels just a few blocks from your home. That’s a vacation that you can take often and anytime you need to escape.