Monday, February 16, 2009

A new kind of rider, part 2.

I really appreciate all the response to the last post. The topic touches something deep inside us, doesn't it? I felt compelled to take it a little further. For one thing, consider it a group reply to the comments. Your expressions are all thought provoking. This is a chance to take your comments and the discussion further down the road.

Secondly, I feel like I want to make it a little more clear where I was coming from. To help with that, I'm going to break it down to three areas. Self perception, gear, and training. Consider this fair warning, though. Use the restroom before we leave as the post might get long. I can't say right now.

Self perception

Several of you mentioned the fact that you knew of scooter riders who were "type specific". These ones are clearly scooter riders and don't want to be motorcycle riders. Even within the scooter genre, they are often brand specific.

That goes on with motorcycle riders as well as scooter riders. I've been dissed by Harley riders, squids, metric cruiser riders, pretty much all of them. Although I have to say the only time I've been on the receiving end of outright hostility has been from Harley riders. I totally recognize that in each case it's not typical of all riders in each group. There just seems to be a lot of division among the two wheeled world.

However, it's not that kind of division that I'm talking about.

In the picture above you see a scooter parked among the motorcycles. I had a chance to visit with the scooter rider. He considers himself a two wheeled enthusiast. Most scooter riders feel the same way. And it's here we find the exact point I was talking about.

Whether on a scooter or a motorcycle, most of us have a passion for riding. That's what a lot of your comments indicated, also. I saw several mentions of how a scooter was a fun way to get around. You appreciate a scooter for what it is. High fuel economy is a bonus, not a critical criteria for riding it in the first place. First and foremost you're a part of the two wheeled world. The people I'm talking about look at things differently.

Dave made an interesting comment on this. He said, "Well there are people who ride scooters and there are scooter riders".

The ones I were referring to are the ones who "ride scooters".

Bear with me, but I think there's actually two reasons these people don't perceive themselves as motorcycle riders.

In the beginning these people start riding purely for economic reasons. Harv commented on how they figure up the costs of the scooter, the cost of filling the SUV, and the savings from the high fuel mileage of the scooter. What it boils down to is putting out less money for fuel. Due to the nature of riding, though, it seldom stays there.

One of two things will happen. Either these people catch the passion, or they give up.

Guess what, folks? Spring and Summer can be nice to ride in. Bad weather eventually comes. Those riding just for fuel economy soon find out that they have no desire at all to ride in inclement weather. Heck, a lot of us don't want to ride in inclement weather, either. The difference is that we plan trips, like Mr. Riepe, blog like most of us here, read bike magazines, and so on. The ones riding solely for cheap transportation put the scooter away and never think of two wheels again until the next season.


I realize that riding in the snow or deep freeze like some of us do is sort of extreme. You think? The people I'm talking about start riding a scooter with an unrealistic picture and don't usually last longer than a few months. Next Spring they'll ride again. A scooter is a way to save money but they don't want to be uncomfortable doing it. Again, these are people without the passion for riding. The scooter is just the same to them as a car but with no roof. There's the danger. Their famous battle cry, which I've heard over and over, is

"It's just a scooter". More on that later.

Sometimes, like the Anonymous commenter from NY, though, the enthusiasm for riding catches on. The scooter was their first bike. It's still up in the air if they'll move on to a standard motorcycle. Reading the comment, though, you can see the enthusiasm for riding come through. This is a motorcyclist that rides a scooter. I sincerely hope that multitudes more find these first steps to be just as compelling.

There can be a hitch in the journey, though.

The following is my own opinion. I also realize it's really easy to over simplify things. I'm not going to write long qualifying statements on each paragraph. So generalizations are going to have to work for us. Feel free to express your own opinions in a comment.

As a very active instructor I've had the chance to talk to thousands of new riders. This includes scooter riders. I believe this explanation helps understand the reaction of the lady I described in the last post. Hear me out and see what you think.

People starting to ride scooters for fuel economy are car drivers looking for a cheaper alternative. They are still thinking like car drivers. These are the people that we've blogged about. We call them bogies, or The Enemy, or brain dead people in boxes, and so on. There's reasons we write and talk about these things. These car drivers, in turn, are a part of John Q. Public. Like ideas riders have about drivers, Mr. and Ms. Public have definite ideas about motorcyclists, or "bikers". You know what these are.

Like in any other aspect of life, the group is judged by the actions of the very visible few who chose to think only of themselves. I don't have to go into the whole list here. You know what's on this list, though, don't you? Loud pipes, stunting, and other irresponsible behaviour top the list. On a more subtle level, I've probably done things myself that didn't exactly put us in the best light. Maybe you have, too. Like riding too close to the back of a car that we feel is holding us up. Once we get the chance we pass quite aggressively. What double yellow lines? While not in the same class as some other things riders do, those who don't understand motorcycles could easily misinterpret these actions in a negative light. Mr. and Ms. Public may or may not have their own personal experiences in the regard. I'll bet they have plenty of family and friends who are more than willing to fill in the blanks with their own biased stories.

Now Mr. or Ms. Public is on a scooter. Once there, they start to realize that they're on two wheels. Dangerously close to being associated with these "undesirables", they hold that image at arm's length. Reason and logic should dictate that there's a whole big group of responsible and courteous riders out there. Whoever said the human race was logical and reasonable? All people can think about are the images burned into their brains. They want cheaper transportation but God forbid anyone would associate them with any sort of two wheeled low lifes.

I can still see this lady visibly retreating from me and what I'm saying. It's horrible to her that anyone would even think this middle class business woman would even remotely be connected to "those people".

Thus the stiff arm routine. "It's only a scooter" becomes the defensive line. Most people can't relax and enjoy being what they are. Don't believe it? Ok, how many people around you can you think of that are clinging to their "status" symbols? Come on, quick, think of exceptions. Ok, admit it. Appearance is everything to most people. This is where it gets dangerous for those riding on two wheels. That's where we'll go in the next post.

Stay tuned. We're just getting started.

Miles and smiles,

Dan




32 comments:

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Irondad:

Among the great points you've made here, two stand out. The first is that some scooter riders are cagers looking for a better fuel deal. And you are right... They won't last. But by the same token, a staggering number of "bikers" are cagers looking for balls and persona. They get eliminated through a far more Darwinian process.

You're second point had to do with responsible behavior. I would love to own a scooter. But I can tell you now, that I do things on a motorcycle that I would never do on a scooter... Like breaking triple digits when a decent opportunity presents itself. (I know... I know... I hear it at home all the time.) And the old double line dancing is not a unfamiliar tune either.

You covered a lot of territory in this post. It was interesting that you mentioned getting dissed by the Harley crowd. The only group of riders to ever give me crap were Harley riders... And not a lot of them either. (We have Harley riders in our BMW riding group, and scooter riders too. Giving people a hard time for their choice of ride could get you the boot from the club I belong too.)

This is turning out to be a great defining discussion.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Steve Williams said...

Another great post Dan to get the brain firing on all cylinders first thing in the morning. The ideas you outline are right on target.

I keep going back to the idea of the difference between owners and riders. Owners are all about the machine and their egos and self perception are absolutely tied to it. And they seem more likely to reject everything else. Riders are all about the ride and are more open to anything with two wheels and a motor if it gets them out there.

I wrote a blog post about this a while back called OWNERS AND RIDERS. It also shows how long we both have been blogging... (insert slight aging groan)

Personally, whether by accident or choice, I tend to see a lot more riders these days. Denial keeps the owners invisible...

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

Dan

The wises sage Pogo put it best
WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AN HE IS US
This applies to all two wheelers.

After looking in to motorcycle safety sites an taking the course.
I first thought that the line that some people should not be on two wheels was a bit harsh .

But now I agree whole heartily . The scary part is that some of them are riding.
As an instructor you know this all to well

Attitude is part of human nature an trying to change it short of using a two by four between the eyes can be up a hill road

Dave said...

Oh I forgot to add some times attitudes are given as well as taken

For all we know the lady’s attitude that was mentioned was given to her by coworkers an the like with lines like

Why don’t you get a real bike … …

An Dan you came up to her wile she was having a bad day .

An pointed out something she was all too aware of.

She took the attitude you were just another biker trying to rub it in
that she is just starting out an didn’t know the ropes.

It just gos to show how tricky this thing called human nature can be

cpa3485 said...

Dan, I thank you for your keen insight. You have made me think long and hard about my own feelings about this and many other topics you have written on.
I must admit to some feelings of inferiority because of riding a scooter rather than a motorcycle. I am not at all sure where the feeling comes from, but it is there. The good thing is that the feelings are short lived. When I ponder on it a bit further, I realize that the feeling is silly. I actually am quite proud of my machine and the usefulness it provides to me.

I actually sold my car last year and got rid of a large car payment. The desire to change to a scooter was partly for financial reasons. But more than that, my wife and I just decided that we really did not need 2 cars. As we have gotten older and the kids have moved out, our transportation needs were not the same. The scooter has provided a wonderful solution to our needs at a greatly reduced cost to us.

I was however a bit surprised how much I would enjoy commuting to and from work on the scoopter. I am most decidedly "hooked" on 2 wheel tansportation.

Maybe part of the feeling of being "2nd class" comes from my previous image of scooters being the little 50cc jobs with a top speed of maybe 35mph. Maybe it comes from the fact that it is a twist and go, and the perception that only a vehicle that needs gear shifting qualifies as "1st class". But then I think these thoughts are silly as well.

I think all of us use transportation to fulfill specific needs and. Desires. For a few years when we had the kids, we had a minivan. It fulfilled a purpose at the time. Don't need it now and won't go back. I read Jack Riepe's blog and dream about long distance touring and maybe I'll do some of that someday, but he has a different need and desire than I have right now.

I am actually quite impressed with the quality and dependability of my 172cc Taiwan scooter. It has faithfully fulfilled and even surpassed my needs as a commuter. I full well recognize that it is not meant to do the things that a tourer would need. If I get into touring someday, I'll need another type of machine. That may or may not happen.

For now, I am quite content.

Bryce said...

I have a good friend who rides a motorcycle, actually one of many from his stable of collectibles

His newest motorcycle is a top of the line Vespa, in yellow. The scooter is as well equipped as any modern touring motorcycle. the price was just a shade of C$10,000/ I think it is the GT250 which is similar to the model Steve Williams
owns. My friend already has 21,000
kilometres on the clock.

For fun I sat on it. With my feet flat on the "floor" my knees
were higher than the height of the handlebarss! Like virtually all motorcycles available today, this machine DOES NOT FIT ME!

My friend also has, a WWII Triumph constructed for the Canadian army as well as a number of Jawa motorcycles both in full racing trim as well as with sidecars.

His point to me was the devices
are all about transportation; getting from one place to another.

How you the person do it is your choice, just do it.

He rides as much as he can year-round.
On the cold snow days, he'll drive the 40 kilometres to work
in a basic Hyundai Accent two door coupe, with manual transmission. Otherwise it is two wheels. And he does do the ATTGATT, and always has.

bobskoot said...

Irondad: with reference to my prev comments & those of my PAL, Mr Jack Riepe you cannot put all scooter riders/owners in the same barrel (at least NOT if Jack is 'round) LOL When I got my first scooter I expected to meet all these "younger" people, but it turns out that most riders are of the mature variety. Mostly wear ATGATT and are not afraid of peer presure to purchase a more manly machine VS those younger ones who are in it only for economic aspects, or those who cannot afford to purchase a 4 wheel vehicle. I like to further define the problem as being "owners" on 49cc "mopeds" as here in British Columbia anything larger than 49cc require a class "6" motorcycle endorsement which is very strict up here. It is a perceived problem that scooter riders have NO training and don't have to jump through the same hoops as a real motorcycle rider .

and to JACK R:

"I would love to own a scooter. But I can tell you now, that I do things on a motorcycle that I would never do on a scooter..."

your scooter is coming . . . BMW 800cc superscooter should be on your local shelf soon

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Anonymous said...

There is a large number of motorcyclist that got into motorcycling just to be "associated with two wheeled low life’s." So there is a part of motorcycling community that would promote such images but only on the weekend. I think most of us like being seen as different and because the spectrum of motorcyclists is so large the term "motorcyclist or biker" will always have a connotation.
I also think it is easy for a cager to miss me while I am riding and if I think I maybe in danger I will hit the throttle. All the cager sees is a bike fly past with no clue of the danger and thinking that the bike was always doing 100 mph.

Eurastus said...

I too became a motorcycle rider by moving through the scooter ranks. I still own my Vespa GTV and go on rides with my wife on her own Vespa LX150. I think the scooter makes a perfect around-town machine and I enjoy it greatly, but I do ride my motorcycles more frequently.

As a long-time cyclist (of the pedal variety), I had been commuting the 20 miles each way to work, but found it took just too much time, especially in the afternoons. I decided a scooter was just one step up from a bicycle, it kept me out of a car, and could reduce my commuting time (including showers at each end)from 3 hours a day to 90 minutes.

The scooter was great.

Soon, however, I wanted more range and to feel comfortable at the higher speeds of the freeway, and have now purchased three motorcycles in the past year and a half.

I see all three types of transportation (bicycles, scooters, and motorcycles) in the same vein. None of them are cars, all save fossil fuel, and all get me out with the wind in my face.

No conflict here; we're all on two wheels and all riders get the friendly wave regardless of what they're on.

Unfortunately, I can't give up the car entirely. We still have at least three months out of the year when the roads cannot be relied on to be free of ice. I ride when I can (temperatures be damned) but won't ride on ice. Thus, I still need a car, though I wish I didn't.

Eurastus travels slowly

Orin said...

Irondad, I got a scooter for the gas mileage and the possibility of working up to an R-series BMW at some point in the future. I did not (and still don't) have any desire to be a "Mod" or anything like that (though it seems a lot of people who read my blog think otherwise. Whatever. I took the motorcycle safety class because my racing experience taught me that knowledge is power on the track, and on the road.

I get into a lot of conversations with people who seem to want to get a scooter but don't want to hear about educating themselves to ride safely and confidently. Fine. For everyone's sake, these people are better off not riding.

I'm happy to say only one other person has sneered and asked when I'm going to get a "real" bike. However, that person was riding a Honda Silver Wing, a maxi-scooter. Go figure.

I dunno, I think people should ride what they love, and love what they ride... by riding.

__Orin
Scootin' Old Skool

Orin said...

Irondad, I got a scooter for the gas mileage and the possibility of working up to an R-series BMW at some point in the future. I did not (and still don't) have any desire to be a "Mod" or anything like that (though it seems a lot of people who read my blog think otherwise. Whatever. I took the motorcycle safety class because my racing experience taught me that knowledge is power on the track, and on the road.

I get into a lot of conversations with people who seem to want to get a scooter but don't want to hear about educating themselves to ride safely and confidently. Fine. For everyone's sake, these people are better off not riding.

I'm happy to say only one other person has sneered and asked when I'm going to get a "real" bike. However, that person was riding a Honda Silver Wing, a maxi-scooter. Go figure.

I dunno, I think people should ride what they love, and love what they ride... by riding.

__Orin
Scootin' Old Skool

fasthair said...

Mr. IronDad: I really don’t want to get into all of this to be honest with you. I might come off looking like an ass on a Harley… not that you are calling me that. But you talk about how some these scooter riders don’t want to be seen as “bikers.” These people never will be, and as many have said, never want to be motorcyclist. Personally I don’t give a damn if they do or don’t, who cares.

It’s the image of them being better then me, a motorcyclist. Not a Harley rider, but a motorcyclist, that burns my pipes. Now I’m not one to point fingers but, it’s the RUBs that are the worst offenders at this. One minute they can be sitting next to me enjoying a Shasta and the next not even pretend they have even met me when I see them in their Power Suit. One other little thing I think you’ll notice. That Harley rider that snubbed you? Yah, he was the same person sitting next to me having a Shasta. OK I’m done. See I told you I didn’t want to get started on this.

On a happier note. That picture of your bike in front of your house looks just like the one I took of mine on the last ride a week ago. Well except my picture had a Harley in it and the snow might be a little deeper and my bike was sitting in front of and old gas station. But other then that it looks like the same photo. See you around the next curve…

fasthair

Lucky said...

Dan - once again, an excellent post... and judging by all the responses, you may have hit a nerve too!

So does anybody still ride without any ulterior motives? Personally, for me it's simply fun. No attitude, no leather, no neon lights, no chrome, and my car actually gets better mileage than my bike (and no, it isn't a hybrid - it's a diesel). You're more likely to find me discovering a country road at sunrise than heading to the watering hole at sundown.

Why others get into motorcycling, scootering, or whatever? Don't care, really. Their choice, not mine. However, I do have a problem with other riders dissing what I ride or why I ride it. In my case, it's come from Harley riders and - believe it or not - GoldWing riders. Never had a problem with scooterists, at least, not yet!

Cheers,
Lucky

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Irondad:

Do you mind if I enter into a brief dialogue with some of the other folks who posted here?

CPA3485 -- I am flattered to death that you have read my blog and deduced that I am a long distance rider. The truth is that I take two long-distance (if you want to think a four-state circuit is a long ride) trips each year. Typically, my average ride is a day trip that clocks in at 200 miles. On a horrible arthritis day, 77 miles round trip is an achievement. Considering nearly all of my day trip destinations can be reached by back roads, I wouldn't hesitate to do them on a scooter.

I do want to ride cross country at least once, as I want cool pictures of my bike against cacti, buttes, antelopes, and women wearimg only a smile and an invitation on a beach someplace. But until then, I'm happy.

I would never regard a scooter as inferior to a motorcycle. In fact. I am troubled that you think a scooter is inferior (in some ways) to a motorcycle. I ride a 14-year-old K75. This is a 750, now regarded as a kid's sized bike in the industry. I've had experts tell me why my bike is inferior in design and performance to so many others. I just smile and invite them to kiss my ass. If I had an extra $40,000, I'd own my bike in five other configurations. How's that for type specific?

If I owned a scooter I would have the greatest temptation to load that sucker up for a weekend and find all the things thas I've missed in a 100-mile radiis around the house. Don't let your needs define the function. Let the fun and the thrill define the function. You'd be surprised to find how your needs change. I am a re-entry rider. I was afraid of this bike 4 years ago. You could throw a shaving kit and a change of clothes under the seat and have an adventure for less than $100 bucks!

To Bobscoot -- If I had an extra $8000, I'd have a BMW C1 in the garage now! If they can mount an 800 cc engine on that, I'll find a way to get the money.

Jack
Twisted Rods

irondad said...

Jack,
I wasn't going to go down the road of bikers looking for stuff, but I totally agree it's true with a certain type of rider.

Like you, I prefer a bigger bike for the kind of riding you do.

By the way, as to your other question about engaging in side discussions, ummm, go ahead, since you already did! Actually, anyone can feel free to use this for discussion. It could be fun.

Steve W,
Thank you, but sorry to make your brain work so early! Riders versus owners is a very astute way to put it. Yes, we've been around a bit, haven't we?

Dave,
That's always a hard part of being an instructor. Having to tell someone who's really enthused that they shouldn't ride. Unfortunately, some ignore the counsel or the other signs and do it anyway. Good for you on taking your riding seriously and getting training.

I sure hope I wasn't guilty of kicking the lady while she was down. Maybe she did take it that way.

irondad said...

cpa3485,
Don't ever let anyone make you feel inferior for riding a scooter. You are a rider!

Bryce,
Your friend might say his bikes are just for transportation, but he sounds like a fanatic to me!

Bobskoot,
I thought I was taking pains to make sure everyone knew we weren't lumping scooter riders together. I'm talking about a specific type of person who rides a scooter. Even then, my goal is to find ways to help them learn to take it seriously.

Anonymous,
We do reap what we sow. It's interesting that people work so hard to be a part of an "image" and then get upset when the public reacts in kind.

Eurastus,
Thank you for sharing where you're coming from. Sounds like you're doing what works best for you. By the way, it's good to hear from you. I keep checking your site but haven't seen anything since you announced the arrival of the new BMW. Will there be more to come?

Orin,
You hit the point of what I'm talking about. Ride what you love and love what you ride. The folks I'm talking about don't feel the love!

By the way, I got your riding question about wind. Watch for the next post here. I'll take a detour.

Fasthair,
Go ahead and let it out! Better here than when on a bike and putting yourself in danger of the anger demon striking.

Of course your snow is deeper. Isn't it always a competition? :)

Lucky,
You're exactly right in that everyone should be allowed to ride for what they get out of it without explanation. I just think people should do the actual riding part right.

Take care,
Dan

-Tim said...

Dan,
Your insight is endless...
I know a lot of people who are in both camps. One of my friends rode his Vespa 125cc from SLC down to Los Angeles, and up the coast to Seattle.
Yet I also have another friend who bought a scooter for the fuel economy.
But, I still haven't run into anyone like that woman you met.

cpa3485 said...

To Jack and others;

Please do not feel sorry for me. I really did not intend to communicate a feeling of inferiorityy. I am sincerely having the time of my life with my scooter. The little beast is quite capable of being an urban commuter and with a supposed too speed of 75mph I can get around very adequately.

I have taken a few short jaunts out in the county and plan to do a lot more of that. But I really haven't had a lot of time for that nor do I have the resource of some riding buddies yet. I actually plan to help start a local scooter club around here, and it should be a lot of fun.

I guess maybe I am just a bit jealous of you and your ability to have what appears to be some great friends you can ride with on longer trips and to posess a machine that is very capable of trips like that.

Maybe also it is my own perceived image that I have a relatively small machine compared to a lot of bikes out there. Although in my opinion, some bikes are ridicously big, I am actually, like I said before, quite content. I just think that sometimes it is quite natural for people to always want something a little bigger and faster than what they currently have. I actually feel that the machine I have now is perfect for my present needs. If my needs or desires change someday in the future, so be it.

BTW: that client of mine with the BMW cycle did come by when he picked up his tax return and let me see his bike. It is an R1150 and it is really
SWEET !!!!
He's planning a trip out to Moab Utah later this summer with a group of friends. I feel a little bit of jealousy again. LOL

Tinker said...

Welcome to the New Kind of Rider,
same as the old kind of rider.

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who divide people into two groups and those that don't (just as there are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary, and those that don't.)

Its the need to figure people out, so we can organize and classify them, that tends to hack people off, case in point, see this discussion. (no, I don't think you are culpable in any way, for initiating the discussion, we all do it, more or less, its how much more or how much less that makes us truly crazy.)

I re-entered the world of two wheels a couple of years back, too, but it wasn't motorcycles or scooters, it was bikes, as in BICYCLES. Now the first great division, is where you buy your bike. If its Wal-Mart, people will go out of their way to spit on you. And then, for some its a vintage bike, or a racer that is the status symbol, and there are the sort that wear lycra and a multitude of Polysyllabic materials, instead of just plain clothes to get around.

Then its commuters vs racers/time trialers/triathloners, etc, etc.

These are ways to keep the groups small and weak, because if they could not keep them small and week, they might have to admit, that ordinary bicycles, are a much more sustainable solution to transportation.

So, can't we all get along? Somehow?

And who cares that one guy got his ride at Wal-Mart and another got it at Race Ace, while another got a vintage Raliegh from Craigslist.org?

Who care if the other guy has enough money to buy a $10,000 bicycle, and you can barely afford a $70 retread. the question is can we get enough money spent on two wheeled transportation to revolutionize the transportation system before we all go broke or run out of easy supplies of hydrocarbons. (Remember, NO WAR for CHAIN LUBE!).

The problem is we'd rather continue this kind of argument than get together and implement a system like Copenhagen, with separate bike lanes, separate lights and signals, and safer roads.

(Insert other goals for M*o*t*o*r*c*y*c*l*e*s, as you idealize them.) Pax vobiscum...

American Scooterist Blog said...

Its easy to tell the difference. If they smile back at the gas station or wave on the road, to me they're a true rider. If not, then the image they bought owns them with interest. That's enough satisfaction for me right there.


Harv

Bryce said...

Dan:

The only real similarity between
scooterists and motorcyclists
is this: both machines
have rubber tyres, and all of them have only two wheels each. (Trikes and sidecar rigs not included).

Otherwise they are different.
And too most of those who use a scooter for transport are either not aware or are not concerned
about the accident factor.

Good ole gravity works the same
whether you're falling from a moving object or tumbling from a ladder leaned against the side of your residence.

16 feet per second per second is the same in all cases.

The surface you strike is just as hard falling from a scooter as a motorcyclist.

You as an instructor need to impress upon those students who are planning upon
riding only a scooter that the consequences of having a falling off from a scooter can give
the same disastrous results as falling from a motorcycle or
even a ladder.

None of us ever figure we'll fall
from a ladder or a motorized two wheeler. However, you, me and others on list; we can
try and educate this new breed of rider to the hazards.

Agent22 said...

wow! sounds to me like what that woman said to you really hurt your feelings. do you need a hug to make you feel better from the mean lady?

I would like to suggest maybe your "skin" isn't as "thick" as you claim it is if you are still bothered enough to write about this woman again.just a suggestion.not an attitude.

please don't write a long article on it.
I always say to myself life is to short to stress over things.especially things you have no control over.
I seriously doubt these "new kinds of riders" are going to read your article and all of a sudden change the way they think and operate.
but i could be wrong they might, i just seriously doubt it.

if you want to read what scooter riders are saying about your article here is the link

http://scootdawg.proboards59.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=20507

irondad said...

Tinker,
I got the joke about there being ten kinds of people and the binary thing. No matter what we like or don't people are going to try to classify other people. It's the way we're built. Good or bad. I have to honestly admit that I'm guilty, too, despite trying not to be.

There is a positive place I'm trying to go, so bear with me.

Harv,
Well said.

Bryce,
You're get it exactly. Wait for the rest of the story.

Agent 22 and A. ScooterDawg,
Thank you for the link. It's interesting to see the feedback. I'm also pleased anyone even bothers to read and comment on the posts. I have to agree that the posts have seemed a little long without getting to an exact point. This isn't really a rant about the way the woman acted. I'm merely giving examples of what I'm encountering. I warned everyone up front it might happen.

I'm going to a positive place. You'll just have to bear with me. Let me know what you think when it's all said and done, please!

Take care,

Dan

Stacy said...

It doesn't sound like Dan's the one with the thin skin here...

As a long time reader, I'm going to give Dan the benefit of the doubt and let him have a chance to say his piece. It's usually worth it.

irondad said...

Stacy,
Thank you for the loyalty and support! I'll try not to let you down. :)

Take care,

Dan

Dru_ said...

To the anyone that is active in the scooter community, these new riders aren't a shock, nor are they terribly rare. I've seen a few people respond that it's about the type of bike.

It is not.

I've seen other responses here about the thin skins. It's an argument that been had repeatedly.

It has nothing to do with thin skin.

There are even people that want to place a chip on the shoulder of scooter riders.

Nope, still not it.

If you pay much attention to the scooter community as a whole, what you see is a diverse group of riders that run the gamut from new riders to old school folks that have always loved scooters to folks that come to scooters from 'real bikes'. This probably isn't a surprise, but what is a surprise is the nearly universal disdain for the 'economy riders'.

People that buy the cheapest scooter they can (Pep Boys, the local small engine repair shop, or one of the oh so reputable online vendors selling chinese built scooters that barely run, don't pass emissions and can't be registered in many states).

They don't have gear or training, and in their mind they are riding an overgrown bicycle. It is not a motorcycle to them.

Some of these economy riders get bitten by the bug, and move on to better products, some ride for a month and quit when it is harder than they think. Others deal with the discomfort and continue riding but never embrace the ride for what it is.

This is not necessarily specific to scooters, with cheap 250cc cruiser's and sportbike knock-offs from cf-moto, and and handful of other chinese manufacturers, the problem is percolating out to other genres of bike.

The issue is education, pure and simple. So long as that entry level bike is out there, being sold by vendors that have no interest in teaching safety, this won't change.

It is *OUR* job as riders to provide the education, and at times, the students are going to be both unwilling and hostile, and that's where the thick skin comes in.

Educating a rider that buying a cheap bike isn't the whole part of the economy. Budgeting for a helmet, jacket, boots, gloves and rain gear should be part of the process. The above list could easily equal the purchase price of some of these scooters that you find this new rider on.

Dan understands this fully as an instructor, but I've been on the sales side of this equation. Selling reputable scooters against the junk scooters can be tough when a Kymco Sento and a Geely look identical to the user but carry price tags that are $1000 apart for the same engine size, and then telling the potentil rider that they need to budget another $500 in safety gear. It is not what they want to hear, and they can get hostile.

I personally know of two cases where this situation was clearly played out.

In instance one, a young rider decided on a sport bike. Asked around and was told repeatedly to start with a ninja turtle (Ninja 250) to learn to ride before moving up to something with more power. It was not what he wanted to hear, and so he bought the image, a GSX-R 1000. It was totalled within 4 weeks and he spent 8 weeks in a hospital bed.

In the second, a 30 something young lady stopped to ask me 20 questions about my scooter(s). She wanted one for economy reasons. I preached the best entry level product on the market and safety equipment (Buddy 50). She went cheap and bought a cheap 50cc online, and her boyfriend assembled it when it arrived. Fortunately, she did buy good gear (NewEnough), because 3 weeks later the engine seized at 35mph on a busy street.

Sadly, these are not unusual stories, we've all seen and heard them, and it is a situation unlikely to change in the near future. It is on us to be the guidance.

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Tymkiv said...

To Jack and others; Please do not feel sorry for me. I really did not intend to communicate a feeling of inferiorityy. I am sincerely having the time of my life with my scooter. The little beast is quite capable of being an urban commuter and with a supposed too speed of 75mph I can get around very adequately. I have taken a few short jaunts out in the county and plan to do a lot more of that. But I really haven't had a lot of time for that nor do I have the resource of some riding buddies yet. I actually plan to help start a local scooter club around here, and it should be a lot of fun. I guess maybe I am just a bit jealous of you and your ability to have what appears to be some great friends you can ride with on longer trips and to posess a machine that is very capable of trips like that. Maybe also it is my own perceived image that I have a relatively small machine compared to a lot of bikes out there. Although in my opinion, some bikes are ridicously big, I am actually, like I said before, quite content. I just think that sometimes it is quite natural for people to always want something a little bigger and faster than what they currently have. I actually feel that the machine I have now is perfect for my present needs. If my needs or desires change someday in the future, so be it. BTW: that client of mine with the BMW cycle did come by when he picked up his tax return and let me see his bike. It is an R1150 and it is really SWEET !!!! He's planning a trip out to Moab Utah later this summer with a group of friends. I feel a little bit of jealousy again. LOL

Jessica Brazil said...

Dan The wises sage Pogo put it best WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AN HE IS US This applies to all two wheelers. After looking in to motorcycle safety sites an taking the course. I first thought that the line that some people should not be on two wheels was a bit harsh . But now I agree whole heartily . The scary part is that some of them are riding. As an instructor you know this all to well Attitude is part of human nature an trying to change it short of using a two by four between the eyes can be up a hill road