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Requiem for a Scooter.

October 19, 2011

It can never be fast enough.

-James Taylor, “Two Lane Blacktop”

Shortly after renting the apartment, I bought a cute little 49cc scooter.  The idea was I’d be able to see the island on it, scoot around sipping gas, exploring, that sort of thing.

That would have worked well, except:

a) It was about as fast as a 1981 Cadillac Diesel Eldorado.

b) Guam traffic runs, on average, about 50% over the speed limit, except when there’s a pedestrian speed trap.

And yes – that’s how they do it, with a bold yellow vest which says “POLICE”.  The guys hiding in the speed trap don’t have to wear vests when they run out and surround the speeder.

Finally,

c) No gearbox.

It was a cute little scooter, though, and I was determined to make ago of it via Chuckspeeding.

For the uninitiated, I’m a terror when it comes to things-with-motors.  Started tearing them apart at age six, modifying them at age ten, and building stuff from scratch by the time I’d hit Jr. High.  One of my earlier cars was a Nova SS.  My dad forbade me to modify it, knowing my predilection for speed.  I bought the parts anyway, and when they went away on an overnight trip, I tore into the engine 20 minutes after they left the drive.  Had the car up and ripping around the streets of Detroit 5 hours later.

Anyway, this little  scoot was due for a serious internal makeover.

Everything save the crankcase, crank and connecting rod was modified. Power output was more than doubled.  Race parts and custom fabbing galore.

That’s a ported/polished big valve big bore cylinder head on the right, complete with a hand shaped combustion chamber to get the compression ratio “right”.  The end result?  A scooter which would keep up with (and sometimes pass) cars on Marine Corps drive.  A scooter which would run with scoots 2-1/2 times as big.  A scoot which, on more than one occasion, buried a 55 MPH speedo.

I rode the little sucker all over the island; it never let me down.

In the end, though, it had two very basic limitations.

#1 –  To a guy accustomed to being able to break the tires loose on his daily driver at 100 MPH, a vehicle which tops out at moderate speeds is just too damned slow.

#2 – It’s a scooter.

I thought we’d bond, the scooter and I, like so many of my things-with-motors have.  Nope.  Never felt it.  Something about not being able to shift, and the kindergarten chair riding position did not appeal to me.  I tried, but it just wasn’t happening.

So – I bought a bike, chronicled earlier in the blog, an adventure onto itself.

It dawned on me this last weekend that I’d not ridden the little snot once sine getting the bike.  Six weeks had passed, and it had become the equivalent of Lane Meyer’s Camaro in “Better Off Dead” – an abandoned hunk of metal and plastic hunkered down in a carport.

So…an ad was posted on Craigslist.  A nice young girl called on it today, showing up an hour later.  New to the island, she was shocked by the cost of scooters.  My price was less than that of what most people were selling junk for.  My price was less than the time and speedparts.

I could see the gleam in her eyes – whatever price I’d posted was simply not enough for this jewel!  She shouted, “I”LL TAKE IT!” before coming to a stop on a very short test ride.  She paid full boat – no dickering.  She thanked me profusely; I followed her home (to be safe) watching how she rode cautiously and carefully, yet honking the little guy up hills with confidence.

They’re a perfect match, this young woman and machine.   I have learned an important lesson over the past few months:

I’m not a scooter guy.

I won’t miss it.

 

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Len Bloom permalink
    October 21, 2011 3:08 pm

    How’s the bike running? She hasn’t made an episode lately.

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      October 21, 2011 4:42 pm

      Len –

      I’t s pretty much done, and like a Honda, it’s dead reliable. Makes it a bit dull, actually. That – and we’ve had a spate of gray weather save for the past weekend. Since it was a beach weekend – no riding.

  2. October 21, 2011 7:58 pm

    “Lane Meyers’ Camaro in Better Off Dead.”
    Major win in that reference!
    Sorry I haven’t been replying lately; it’s the depths of college football season.
    Will do better.

    Greg P. In WV, wearing a sweatshirt in the 45*F temps these days…

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      October 21, 2011 8:09 pm

      There are very few movies I’ve memorized lines from – this is one of them.

      Was wondering where you wandered off to! Glad you’re back!

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