Thursday, June 19, 2008

Zoom Zoom

Got a little nippy going through the pass, eh Har?

Yup. Just call me Scooter.

After four years of oft-contemplation, two years of yearning, and six months of gas prices so aggravating and criminal that I could no longer stomach paying $50+ to fill up a f#*king Honda Civic -- uh, that's FIVE iTunes albums, for those who track their spending by the album -- I bit the bullet and bought a scooter.

Weeks of research, a visit to a local scooter dealer, and heavy scouring of the Craigslist both here and in surrounding cities, finally led me on Saturday to Acworth, Georgia, on the outskirts of Atlanta. There, I took a big gulp, forked over something shy of $2,000, and drove back to Chattanooga with my uncle as the proud owner of a 2001 Yamaha Riva 125cc.

For those of you ignorant of scooter culture -- and who could blame you -- "125cc" means "fast enough to stay out of trouble, and slow enough to stay out of trouble." It tops out at just under 60 mph, and I'm not required by TN law to get a motorcycle license, because it's just that pathetic. But it also gets, supposedly, 80 mpg. Hell, even if it's 7-10 mpg shy of that, that still means more than triple the in-town gas mileage of my Civic.

In other words, everytime I would need to fill up my Civic, this Riva will save approximately $100 in gas. OK, but since I still occasionally need to drive the car, let's just say the scooter will save me, oh, $75 a month in gas. In other words, the scooter needs only survive for two years to pay for itself.

And scooters are making the news in spades. Here's a CNN story. Here's an NPR story. Here's another. And another. Although this has been on my mind a while, I can't exactly claim my purchase is boldly going where no man has gone before.

The decision to Scooterize myself was made somewhat easier by the fact that, whatever the Dork Factor of riding a scooter might be, I'm pretty much already peaked out on the Dork-o-Meter, unless, like Nigel Tufnel's amps, the Dork-o-Meter goes to 11.

I was the last person to throw away my Jams. I have been photographed wearing wife-beaters in the past year. I truly love Hawaiian shirts. The only thing I don't do is wear colored socks with my shorts, but that's mostly because it's due to come back into fashion.

No amount of Gooberphobia can negate my ability to buy five more albums a month with the gas I save. Hell, this afternoon I learned I can comfortably and perfectly fit two Starbucks Caramel Frappuccinos in the front compartment, transport them 2.4 miles, and deliver them with nary a spill. And last night I drove downtown, picked up two pizzas and two salads to go, and delivered them back home in mint condition.

Go ahead and laugh, but I'm in love.

My first act to celebrate my financially ingenious decision will probably be to purchase the new Hold Steady album. But first I have to go fill up my 1.7-gallon tank. Or, in car language, I gotta spend $7 for my next 140 miles or so.


"Fat Bottom Girls" is from the album Say It An-Tig-Uh-Nee. I got this from a friend's CD mix, and I can't find it on iTunes or "Motorcycle Drive-By" is from Third Eye Blind's first album, 3eb. It's available in the usual places.


John said...


Leave it to you to be the one to get all progressive and retro on us (that's oxymoronic, my AP students will tell you). My dad had a Vespa when I was a kid and had my brother in law not crushed it in the garage with his VW Jetta, it'd be worth a helluva lot on craigslist. You'll love the scooter. I've been trolling craigslist for an eazy go for around the campus driving, myself. Roc Evans shouldn't get to have all the fun!

John said...

To see a picture of Billy's new scooter, click here:

Billy said...

That's some cold shit, dude. Cold.

I much prefer if people watch this video demonstration.

Bob said...

And he's riding the damn thing to the Yellow Deli and back. Don't worry--they'll own it soon.