Now, so far the title of this blog post doesn't find much support on the Internet, judging from a comprehensive two-minute Google search that I just performed.
But I wanted to be one of the first -- heck, maybe the absolute first! -- to point out the undeniable health benefits of riding a scooter or motorcycle. By "undeniable," naturally I mean my personal opinion -- par for the course in the blogging world.
I will, however, back up that claim with some solid evidence from a trustworthy source, TIME magazine. Here's what I read in the August 17, 2009 issue, in an article about why exercise doesn't make you thin:
But there's some confusion about whether it is exercise -- sweaty, exhausting, hunger-producing bursts of activity done exclusively to benefit our health -- that leads to all these benefits or something simpler: regularly moving during our waking hours.
...Many obesity researchers now believe that frequent, low-level physical activity -- the kind humans did for tens of thousands of years before the leaf blower was invented -- may actually work better for us than the occasional bouts of exercise you get as a gym rat.
I've been enjoying the Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive scooter that I got last June much more than I thought I would. And I expected to enjoy it a lot.
Much of the appeal of scootering, as with motorcycling, is the increased physicality -- compared to getting around in a car.
Starting off, I need to rock the rather heavy Burgman off of its center stand. Then I push it backward out of its narrow carport parking area using my feet (no reverse gear). Motoring along, there's some pushing on the handlebars into and out of turns, plus movement of my upper body as the scooter leans.
Coming to a stop, I put my feet down, balancing the scooter while I'm at a standstill. Taking off again, the reverse. At low speeds, creeping along, it's a lot like balancing a bicycle -- adjusting my weight slightly this way and that to keep the scooter upright. Parking downtown, I pull past a space, then push the Burgman backwards while turning the handlebars until it's properly positioned against the curb.
All in all, quite a bit of physical activity, involving considerable acts of coordination. Certainly much more than when I'm driving a car.
Being an avid Tai Chi student, I recognize that much of what I'm doing on my scooter (not to be confused with this very different kind) is the sort of balancing and muscular movements that have been proven to be beneficial to seniors and younger people alike.
"Use it or lose it" is an especially important adage for those of us over 60. Sure, there are risks associated with riding a motorcycle or scooter. But there also are health benefits, not the least of which are mental.
As soon as I get on my Burgman 650, I feel happier. More relaxed. Centered. Focused on the here and now. In touch with nature. Energized.
Scooters and motorcycles aren't for everybody. I seem to have a scooter personality, because I've driven our cars as minimally as possible since I got the Burgman, only when I need to do some errands, like grocery shopping, that require me to carry around a large amount of stuff.
When the Oregon rain and cold hits, I'll probably return to driving a car most of the time. But to stay healthy, both mentally and physically, I'll get on my scooter as often as I can.
Here's an article about the accommodations some senior motorcycle riders need to make as they grow older. Motorcycles are less disability-friendly than scooters, given that you have to step over them to get on, and few have automatic transmissions, like scooters do.
I'll share an excerpt, that I agree with obviously, since I have a Suzuki Burgman (I think this was written some time ago, since much of what he forecasts has come to pass):
Have you seen the new large Honda and Suzuki Scooters? With automatic transmissions and easy highway speed, they can ride two up with maximum weather protection and little effort. Many of the older riders, especially those with physical limitations, such as a bad back, have been riding the Honda Helix, a 250cc automatic scooter that easily cruises at 65, sold in the U.S. since the mid-80's.
My look at the future shows a blending of the scooter and the motorcycle. Are you ready for a 100-hp scooter/cycle like Vetter's Defiant, with automatic transmission, very low seat height, low weight, and a big Harley engine? How about the Suzuki Burgman scooter with its 650cc twin cylinder engine, 5-speed push button automatic transmission, and over 100-mph top speed? Look at the new Honda FSC 600 Silverwing scooter; displacing 600 cc it will easily cruise with most motorcycles. Or Dan Gurney's scooter-like Alligator motorcycle with its lightweight and low seating position.Put a Honda Goldwing (which is almost a scooter now) on a strict diet, reducing its weight to 500 pounds, add an optional automatic transmission, and you would have a perfect motorcycle/motor scooter. I don't know what to call it--a cyclescoot, a scootcycle?