More scooter stuff.
There's something I wanted to add about the connection between riding a scooter and a motorcycle. It seemed better to do it as another post rather than in the comments. In the meantime, I had a couple of other interesting experiences today which are relevant to the subject.
The reason I made a distinction between scooters and motorcycles in the first sentence is that there are physical differences between the two. Most critical is the smaller diameter of the wheels. I felt the need to bring this up as a clarification to what I wrote earlier. Riding a motorcycle well directly translates to riding a scooter. I really should have stressed that it's even more critical to have good skills on a scooter. Here's why I say that.
There's more moving mass that tends to make a larger motorcycle more forgiving. A lot of riders aren't as smooth as they should be. Things like larger wheels, more rake and trail, weight distribution, etc., absorb abrupt inputs. At least enough to sort of dampen the immediate effects. Scooters, by contrast, are set up differently for weight distribution, wheel diameter, and handlebar width, among others.
I guess what I'm trying to say in a seemingly long winded way is that not being smooth on a scooter can have more dire consequences than on a motorcycle. Before they're even aware that they screwed up a scooter rider could dump themselves on their heads. Being smooth reigns supreme on a scooter.
This knowledge comes from personal experience. Not that I've crashed a scooter. I've just spent a lot of time on them lately. Since there are more scooters being used in our classes I have been trying to spend more time getting familiar with them. Fortunately I have a great relationship with a certain motorcycle dealer manager. Comes from buying a number of bikes, I guess. He also happens to be an enthusiastic advocate of motorcycle safety training. These folks make a bunch of scooter sales. There's always some units available for me to go out and play with. I'm learning a lot about how they handle. The goal is to become more skilled at coaching scooter riders coming through the classes.
One of the big differences I'm finding is how I coach the presses in a swerve, for example. On a training bike I try to get the student to execute assertive presses. After all, it's a swerve and not an "S" turn. Using that same kind of press on a small scooter can make for wide eyes, let me tell you. Small presses make for big movements. On a different level road irregularities and things like gravel affect scooters more. There's other examples but you get the point.
It was while I was visiting my friend Lon that I saw a couple of scooter related things that made me shake my head. Sophie doesn't know it yet, but I'm exploring the options for replacing her. I'm leaning more and more towards wanting ABS. After watching the cop bikes on the airport runway I'm more convinced than ever how awesome a tool this is. I'll tell you about the cop training in a post pretty soon. On the other hand, I'd kind of like to see just how many miles Sophie will go. That's why I was at the shop and how I came upon the following people.
One was a guy who came in to look at the Schwinn / Kymco line. He wanted to look at a 49 cc scooter. I was joshing with him that he should go for at least 150 cc. I was told that the scooter was for his 15 year old daughter. The reason he wanted the smaller size was that he was under the impression that Oregon doesn't require a driver's license for that small size. The thought was that his daughter could sneak through back roads and neighborhoods on her way to summer school.
I reminded him that she still needed a driver's license but not an endorsement. I tried to get him to get her into a class. She could do it at 15 then get her endorsement when she gets her license. It was like talking to a wall. Another case of "just a toy".
The one that really got to me was when I saw I guy I know ride in on a Honda Reflex. He was wearing a novelty type helmet, ( believe it or not, through a technicality, some of these helmets can be DOT rated ) shorts, and flip flops. You'd think by looking at him that he was some ignorant playboy out for a ride. Far from it.
This guy is a forensic scientist specializing in vehicle accident reconstructions. Not too long ago he had been telling me how dangerous Jeep Wranglers are in crashes. If anyone had firsthand knowledge of what happens to riders without good gear it would be him. Yet here he is riding like that. I gave him heck but it was like water off a duck's back. It's amazing how people have such a capacity for self-rationalization.
You know what it all boils down to. Two wheeled riders are the same no matter what they ride. There's those who take responsibility and those who don't. We all need to keep doing what we can to influence attitudes. After that it's up to them, good or bad. What's that saying?
Something about having the courage to change what we can, accept what we can't, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Had a great ride today. I've got some pictures to share. There's also some great stories from the police motor training. Bees are figuring into my rides big time lately. Katie's almost out of the dark tunnel Stay tuned. It might not seem like it from my recent posts, but I'm actually still riding to work. Time to pay some attention to that aspect. That might even have been the reason I started this blog!
Miles and smiles,