So I am now a full-time scooterer. This is new territory for me. Let me explain my history of motor vehicles…
Like the rest of Britain’s youth, as I approached the tender age of 18 I was all fired-up by the thought of being a driver. I had lessons, built up and went for the test. Unfortunately, I do not test well. This is true of everything in life. I am a nervous tester. I hate exams and doctor’s appointments and anything where I’m going to be graded in some way. By the time I took my test I’d already been driving with a licensed passenger quite a lot. Hell, I’d driven around the Yorkshire Dales (though I did reverse into a grass bank and bend my exhaust at one point.) I’d owned two ‘cars’ (the term is generous – they were very old Renaults in unpleasant colours bought for around the price of a sandwich.) And of course, I failed my test. Actually, I can’t remember why, but it was some pissy little reasons that I considered ridiculous. So I had a couple more lessons and booked another test. And I went for it again. And I failed it again. I remember the reasons the second time. One was insufficient use of mirrors. The other was because I pulled out of a blind junction as ordered and had to screech to a halt half-way across in order to avoid becoming a new wheel decoration for a milk-tanker. He informed me right then and there that I’d failed my test for stopping. I almost lost it with him, trying to reason that if I’d gone on, I’d be legal to drive, but we’d both have been dead so it would have been of little use to me unless they have an adequate road system in heaven. So, at the age of 18 I got quite sour on the whole idea.
The years then roll by. I discovered whisky and laziness and settled into the idea that there was nowhere I really needed to go on my own that was worth all the hassle. After a while it became a case of not really wanting to drive, bolstered by the fact that I only ever seemed to have the money for lessons and test, or the time; never both.
And then I met Mrs Moosehunter and got married, and she has been insistent for several years now that I need to learn. I won’t say I’ve fought her on it, but I’ve certainly been unenthusiastic and dragged my heels.
Then, a few weeks ago, during the latest round of redundancies at work, not only did they get rid of my regular lift (I live 7 miles from work), but they also got rid of my backup lift, and even the only other person that goes anywhere near our village. Honestly it seemed like an orchestrated campaign to make my life difficult.
So the idea was bandied around (by Mrs M, my parents and even myself) that a scooter was the answer. Cheap to run, easy, convenient etc. I agreed and in the end my parents offered to buy me a scooter for Christmas and birthday combined. Yay. I did my CBT check and passed with flying colours (despite the nerves.) This I think has given me the confidence in my driving skills and the impetus I needed to get moving.
Not only have I now announced that I’ll go for my full car license again next year, but I’m toying with the idea of going for my bike license too.
So now I’ve been scootering to work for four days. I’m quite happy and comfortable with it. There are several things that I feel I should share here:
1. I’ve had my scooter de-restricted so it can go over 30 mph. I’ve now discovered that it can go up to 50 downhill with a tail wind. I’ve also discovered that uphill with a head wind, I’m lucky to touch 25. So now I’m having to pick my routes carefully according to gradient and weather. A slight change of route can make a 20 minute difference in even a short journey.
2. My scooter has a number place that ends in LZA. Mrs M thinks she’ll call it Liza for obvious reasons. I myself prefer Sasha (after JD’s scooter in Scrubs) or Mr-Death-Kill-The-Insolent-Dogs, which is nice but a bit cumbersome as a name.
3. There is no petrol gauge on the thing. This perturbs me. I know that the tank holds roughly 1.25 gallons of unleaded and that the guy who delivered it said he’d filled it up. He also reckons it does about 100 miles to the gallon. By my calculations that means it should do roughly 125 miles before needing filling. Friday is my payday and I can’t really afford to fill it before then, so I’m hoping that it lasts until tomorrow. I feel it should. I do, however, have the fear that I’ll be half way up the big hill on the way home from work and it’ll cut out. So tomorrow I’ll be filling it regardless.
4. I have to carry my laptop to work. This is on a shoulder strap and hangs behind me. It’s not over-comfortable on a scooter and means I spend my time perched on the edge of my seat. It’s not too bad but it does take me a while afterwards to stop walking like John Wayne. And the curious thing about riding a scooter right at the edge of the seat is that certain male appendages tend to pick up the vibration of the engine in that position and continue to vibrate for a good five minutes after getting off the scooter. I won’t say it’s all that unpleasant, but it is quite odd.
Hmmm. There’s loads more to talk about but now I’ve got to start work. We’ll speak again later.