Defying those who told me, when I mentioned my upcoming maxi-scooter purchase, "But motorcycles are so dangerous!," I am still alive -- and indeed thriving -- after three days of riding my Suzuki Burgman 650 (Executive version).
Credit goes to me, some great Team Oregon safety/skills training, and a terrific scooter.
As shown, the mirrors can be folded in with a touch of a button. Handy for darting between lanes of stopped traffic and squeezing into other tight spaces. Like our carport, when both cars are parked there.
Every time I ride the scooter I learn something. It's a lot heavier than the Yamaha Seca II I had about fifteen years ago. You need to plan ahead when you park a Burgman 650, because you're not going to be pushing it uphill (unless you have some friends with you).
Doing errands is an adventure on a scooter, not a chore. Sure, the thrill will lessen over time, but it's unarguable that getting around is lots more fun on two wheels, especially if they're motorized.
Today I mailed a package at the post office, exercised at our athletic club, and bought some oh-so-delicious Oregon strawberries from an outdoor stand.
Scootering slows you down, pleasantly.
I'm usually in a mild rush as I check off errands on my to-do list. On my Burgman, as with any scooter or motorcycle, there's a rhythm to starting and stopping that has to be followed.
I arrive at the post office. Turn off the scooter. Lower the side stand. Get off the bike. Open the compartment under the seat. Take off my gloves and dark glasses. Remove my helmet. Put gloves and helmet in the compartment. Take jacket off and store it under the seat also. Do my mailing business. Come back to the scooter and reverse the process to "gear up."
It's much different from opening a car door, sitting down, and driving off (in our Prius, it isn't even necessary to get a key out).
This may sound strange, but the lengthier steps needed to get on or off the Burgman feel like a kind of foreplay to me. It's so much fun to ride, I don't mind putting on pants, jacket, boots, helmet, gloves, and dark glasses before I start the engine.
Once I turn the throttle and the scooter starts moving, Burgman and me are in the moment together. If it takes a few minutes to get the passion underway, no problem.
Especially when the goal is safe scootering, the two-wheeling analogy to safe sex.
In the athletic club locker room I was wearing my Olympia Airglide 2 pants. Sitting on a bench to get changed, a guy asked me what I was riding.
"A Suzuki Burgman..."
"650," he said, finishing the sentence for me. "Great bike."
We had a nice conversation. The guy obviously was a knowledgeable motorcyclist. He said he'd just gotten back from a business trip to Utah, which doesn't have a helmet law. He was appalled at how casually some riders were dressed.
"I wear full gear all the time," he said. "Even when it's 100 degrees."
"Excellent," I told him. "I'm planning to do the same."
Yes, putting on a motorcycle jacket, pants, and boots isn't as easy as just jumping on a bike in shorts, t-shirt, and athletic shoes (which is how I was dressed most of the time when I rode a Honda 55 in high school and college).
But healing from preventable injuries if you have an accident is much more of a pain. Literally.
Anyway, scootering and motorcycling is so much fun, it doesn't matter what you're wearing. You'll have a smile on your face (most of the time, at least) regardless of how you are clothed, so it might as well be safely.
Ah, almost forgot about the strawberries. The roadside stand didn't have any bags, so I walked away with an open quart container filled to the brim.
I put them in the underseat compartment. Drove the eight miles home. Found that precisely one strawberry had rolled out of the container. Try doing that on a Harley. Scooters rule!