Saturday, December 3, 2011

One More Time.

Gary France over at Flies in your Teeth  posed the question, "How and Why did you get into motorbikes?" And, he asked for responses. I have written about this before, but I suspect it won't hurt to revisit the story one more time.
Once upon a time I drove to work everyday. It was the way of things. I drove everywhere. I've always loved driving. I will drive just to drive -- drive and look. Of course, I am an apple that didn't fall from the tree in this regard. When I was growing up my Dad would take the whole family on "rides". We would be gone for hours just riding around and looking.

Downtown I saw bicyclists commuting to work in all sorts of weather. I admired them for their dedication, but also for doing their small part to decrease our dependency on oil. My knees and bicycles don't mix very well or I might have tried to follow their example.
After one of my knee surgeries the surgeon suggested I start inline skating. At first I thought he was joking. Next, I thought he was just insuring his offspring had money for college. Eventually, it became clear that he was serious. I have come to love inline skating and skate often. I mention this because it has a bearing on how I came to start riding. The route I take to get to the trail I most often skate takes me past a lawn and outdoor equipment store that also sells go-karts and occasionally scooters. For the longest whilethey had a beautiful little blue scooter setting right out in front of the store. It occurred to me that if I bought that scooter I could ride it to and from work like the cyclists rode their bikes.
This was Lil' Blue my first scooter. It was a  2t 49cc Adly.
I suspect I would never had taken action on this idea if my very mature and increasingly tired Ford Windstar van hadn't started showing signs of an impending major and very costly repair. Since I didn't want to buy a car before Spring it occurred to me the little blue scooter I saw five or six times a week might be just the thing. It would allow me to divert miles away from the van while saving money on gasoline at the same time.
Safe at home after playing in the snow.
When I bought the scooter I'd expected to endure the commute. At the very best, I'd hoped to find satisfaction in doing my part to decrease my country's dependence on oil. In no way, shape or manner did I imagine I might actually enjoy the ride. But, oh me, oh my, I most certainly have.

I must admit buying the scooter was more impulsive than I make it sound. Yes, all the things I've said about the van are true, but  you know what? I really wanted that scooter. If I'd truly thought about it, I'd not bought it. Here I was, a nearly sixty year old man who experiences brain storms that while not seizures have seizure like qualities, preparing to ride on two wheels. What was I thinking? I don't know, but it turned out to be the absolute right thing for me to do.
Happily, the brain storms happen quite infrequently now, I still have them from time to time. I actually had a major one just yesterday, but the frequency has radically decreased since I began riding. A coincidence? I don't think so.

I've learned on those days when I'm having a bad brain day, a day when I struggle to get my thoughts moving in a good orderly direction, going for a ride brings a clarity and order to my cognitive chaos. It still seems rather counter-intuitive that it could be a good idea to ride when my mind is so muddled, yet it is.


  1. Great story Keith.....maybe biking saved your life to, to some degree.

  2. Roger: I almost quoted you on that :)

    Actually, it didn't save my life, but it certainly made me alive in a way I hadn't ever expected to be again.

    Thanks for stopping in.

  3. Talking about a late bloomer. There is no age limit on riding I guess.

    I admire your dedication to do your part on being energy efficient. I admit, this is not why I came to riding...

  4. Nice post Keith. Like you, I posted something early on about why I ride. Gary's invitation has got me working on a fresh post too.

  5. I must admit that trying to save gas money was one of my initial justifications for starting to ride. And since the bike gets over three times the mileage of my one ton truck, it was easy to achieve. The problem is, I usually take the bus and the bike uses a heck of a lot more gas than the bus fare which is currently free for university affiliated. So my argument fell on its face. I've looked at scooters for a while but decided that I wanted a bike since I was under the impression that you couldn't travel across the country on a scooter.


  6. I was 48 the first time I rode a motorbike by myself for the first time. Never too late to start.
    I'm not sure if a motorcycle/scooter purchase can ever be completely free of impulse. When I first started riding I was told choosing a bike is a gut feeling, more than a logical process. Impulsiveness seems to fit right in there. I imagine your right about riding calming the storms. It's probably the focus of riding that clears out some of the chaos. I dunno, I find it clears the cobwebs for me.

    Me. I have no noble thoughts on saving gas, shrinking my carbon footprint or whatever. I just ride cuz it's fun. True for bicycles and motorcycles. :)

  7. nice post Keith. Perhaps I should expand upon mine and get it up there as well.

  8. Keith, your story about starting to ride is unlike most that I have read. Many got the bug as a child when riding with siblings or friends and soon bought their first bike, many started young and gave up riding when they married, some were introduced to biking through their spouses. You however were different and were attracted in more advanced years to a small scooter that you passed regularly and then just went for it. How splendid is that? Having experienced one life changing event already, I cannot imagine you thought that the day you actually stopped to buy that little blue scooter would have quite the second life-changing impact it so obviously has. I think I read it somewhere else, but somebody said when they ride, all of their mixed-up brain cells suddenly start pointing in the same direction once more. That certainly applies to me and I suspect you too. In fact, it might have been you that said it. I am very glad that you found motorcycling for it clearly gives you a lot of pleasure.

  9. I had read this account before and really like it. It is great that it has helped you so much. Something so little as such a large impact on quelling the feelings and emotions. So what ever happened to the cute little blue scooter with the large windshield? :)

  10. I sold it to a man in his 70's who had never rode before, but always wanted to. He was going to put it on the back of his RV. I made him meet me at a parking lot and ride before he bought it. He did fine. I made him a good deal. Sadly, he hasn't done anything with it. Makes me sad to know it's just setting there behind his house.

    Funny thing is Heather always thought Lil' Blue was the ugliest scooter she'd ever seen. She loves the look of Billie. This is a good thing.