Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Lucy Honda CM 450E (right) and her big brother Honda 750 V45 Magna

I have learned many things over the last nine months since getting my scooter at the end of January. I learned that I am not invincible and that I, Princess Scooterpie can get banged up & need to take it easy from time to time. I am not a super human road warrior princess - but I will admit to being a Moto Diva.  I learned that I love riding even more than I did when Motorcycle Man used to pick me up for our dates eons ago. This time I get to be the one who drives and don't have to look at the back of his oh so lovely shiny black helmet or have a numb patootee from sitting all cramped up behind him. I have met some really cool people who ride scooters and motorcycles and there is a kinship of the road travelled by two wheels. I have fallen utterly in love with riding whether it be the scooter or motorcycle.

At first I was so content with my little 50cc vino scoot. Bob a wise scooter/motorcycle friend pointed out that once bitten by the bug you will continually be on a quest for more cc's, he was right. After a couple of long enjoyable scooter tootles I realized I was very limited in where I could venture to and restricted to roads where the speed is 50 to 60 km/h. To go to scooter rallies off Island I would have to trailer Vixen and that seems like an awful lot of hassle. I have toyed with the idea of taking the motorcycle course over the years, but it never really amounted to anything until this year. Fast forward to today and I have been out riding my new to me old bike Lucy.

Motorcycle Man has been so patient and indulgent spending his time standing in a parking lot with the sun beating down on him, patiently talking me through shifting and encouraging me when I stall or do a jack rabbit start. Last night we went out for an hour and I drove Lucy to the practice lot with Motorcycle Man following behind in his car. I came to a little incline and had a 'moment', it is entirely different than riding the scoot. Now all of a sudden I have a foot brake, hand brake, clutch and shifter to deal with. I was paralyzed by throttle fear and clutch anxiety on this little 'bump'. Motorcycle Man came to my rescue, he hopped out of the car and talked me through the moment(we were on a quiet street)I made it through to the next stop, executed a beautiful lefthand turn & cancelled the signal upon completion. We had a so-so kind of ride night, it felt like 10 steps forward & 10 back, although Motorcycle Man said I did well.

Tonight we went the same route to my parking lot nirvana of safety riding. I didn't flinch or think twice about the 'bump' and stopped, clutched, shifted and throttled without a thought. I think I am over thinking  things and making it harder than it really is. I did several laps of parking lot nirvana until a newb car driver decided they need to share my space. Stops & starts are getting better, not so chunky or stopping too far away from the line. Tonight there were more positives than negatives and it felt like a good night. I rode Lucy home and we looped around the block with a good couple of turns and ginormous speed bumps - they should actually call them speed mountains they are huge! I even got Lucy up to 40km/h and she rides great! Lucy is really starting to feel like she is mine, I am getting familiar with how she handles and how to shift my weight and how to balance her. She may not be brand new and has a few battle scars here and there, but none of that matters because she is mine.


John Cloonan said...

Congratulations on your newfound machine! There is no shame in an old, battle-scarred machine. In fact, they usually have big personality. And it sounds like you're doing well on the learning curve. Wish you the best of luck with it.

Trobairitz said...

I am glad you are getting out and enjoying Lucy.

Sometimes starting on an incline still makes me think of everything I need to do. Both feet down, left foot on back brake, right hand off brake and on throttle. Sometimes I forget to lift my foot off the back brake and it takes a few seconds before I realize it.

Just think, every time you go out you will learn more and progress more.

I am glad you have a patient teacher it helps. I had one too.

RichardM said...

As the others have mentioned, congratulations on the new ride. When I first started to ride, I felt a "need" (as opposed to a "want") to go out riding every day or else I thought I would forget everything I learned. I remember when going to the gas station was an accomplishment. And as Trobairitz said, having a patient teacher helps.

bobskoot said...


good patient teachers are hard to find. Glad you are moving forward more than backwards. It won't be long now until everything becomes familiar and routine . You won't even think about it. I also think that Lucy has found a better master

Riding the Wet Coast

David Masse said...

Keep it up Dar! In no time it will be all second nature to you and you'll have trouble remembering what the heck the challenges were. I love reading about your adventure.

Dar said...

Thank you all for your encouragement! I am lucky my hub is a good & patient man!

Everything seems like a big step when I compare it to the scooter. I sometimes wonder if I am in a surreal dream. Every night I have come home and dragged my hub to ride for an hour as Richard said you feel the need or almost compelled to get out there. Tonight though I am feeling tired and not on top of my game, so best to chill & it's good to know your limits.

Belkwinith said...

I really don't want a motorcycle now that I have my BV 500. It is perfect for my commute and so fast off the line at lights, I gotz no worries.
Kudos to you for learning tho. You've got more patience than me!

Dar said...

Belkwinith: My original idea was to get a larger scooter, but there has been a lot of discussion with Motorcycle Man and we go back and forth on this. I still can see me wanting a larger scooter and keep the 450.

tonyc128 said...

Congrats on the new bike and a new chapter in riding. Unfortunately I'm beginning to close my book in riding both the scooter and motorcycle as I hardly have time to ride except for commuting, and I've got other means to do that. Maybe some day in the future I'll have more time and re-ignite that passion.

It's good to have such a patient teacher as MM. Have fun training and good luck on the final road test. I'm sure we'll read about it here!

Dar said...

Really Tony you are going to give it up? Seriously keep the scoot at least. You are going to miss it so much!

Yup I am lucky for MM he is a good teacher and seriously think he should look at that as a side gig.

I will definitely post my journey.

Circle Blue said...

I am delighted to hear you speak of your progress. Your joy comes through in your writing. I love it!

Thanks for the share.

bobskoot said...


Re: Scooter vs Motorcycle debate

I have gone through the same thoughts as you. I have always ridden motorcycles. Started in the mid 60's, until around mid 80's when family thought it too dangerous so sold my bike. Then 17 years later I wanted to get back into riding so purchased a scooter, Yamaha BWS 50. long and short moved up to Kymco Xciting 500 and also had a Suzuki motorcycle. without going into the debate, I think the maxiscoot route (FOR ME) was not good. I even rode my Maxi to Oregon for the scooter rally so I have multi day touring exp with the large scoot. I won't go into great detail here but, I just love to change gears and I decided to sell all my scoots and just ride m/c's. We can talk more about it when we get together

Riding the Wet Coast

Dar said...

Dear Bob,

My hub tells me that once you get the hang of shifting and know how the gearing works you feel engaged with the bike. I get what he is saying because my van is a manual shift and I use the gears a lot & don't even think about it.
I am sure it will become second nature.

Dar said...

Circle blue /Keith

Progress is steady and I am really enjoying the challenge. I can hardly wait to get out on the bike. They says it's easy to write about what you are passionate about. Scootering and motorcycling is almost like breathing for me, I experience so much freedom and a sense of being carefree. The only time it becomes kind of a grind is when I am slogging through a cold rainy winter day, that is when I long for my cage, but I suck it up & get through.

SonjaM said...

Dar, this reminds me of my beginnings. I thought I would never get the hang of gear shifting, hand and foot braking, all to be done at the same time... two hours after PLT (parking lot training) I was ready for the road, and loved it. Like Bob said, it is way more fun an action, also it keeps you alert, while automatic gear might get boring. But too much shifting is also annoying hence the scooter is a must in the city ;-)

Dar said...

Sonja you are right, once I get into a little more all will gel. I can remember thinking the same thing when I was learning to drive a standard, then it became second nature.

Deb said...

Thinking about your motorcycle it really brings home the fact that motorcycles offer SO MUCH MORE POWER than most maxi-scoots and there are SO MANY MORE CHOICES out there!

I used to ride a 1985 Honda Shadow 500 AND always drove standard shift cars until about 10 years ago. I can relate to the feeling of being "with the machine".

I am so glad you are adapting to the shifting so well! You are blessed with a great teacher to get you going! COOL! Would love to meet and ride with you guys in Vancouver! Always wanted to visit there!


Dar said...

Deb, I think the motorcycle is going to give me more range & some other options with respect to longer trips. I think looking at a motorcycle for you might open new possibilities. You can still have your love of scoots.

For my other readers of Princess Scooterpie my friend Deb here rides a 50 cc Ruckus scoot and is feeling the same cc'itis that i have. She has a great little blog about her Ruckus adventures. Her blog is on my blog roll, have a peek.