Monday, February 22, 2010

Glad to be the Slowest

This past Saturday, I put together another ride. It was not one of our monthly rides and I put it together on short (3 days, I think) notice and there was rain in the forecast. Therefor, I wasn't too surprised when only two other scooters showed up. What did surprise me, was, that for the first time in our club's history, only manual shift scooters were present.
Obviously, we are not a "vintage only" club, but it was still kind of interesting to have only shifties. I had planned a route with 2 variations. One if I had some beginners showed up (which was what I anticipated), another if only experienced riders showed (which I figured was pretty unlikely.) Well, in addition to being only shifties, it was also only experienced riders.
I have only been riding scooters for less than 2 years and I really enjoy introducing people to the world of scooters and helping them to improve their skills. Our club is almost entirely made up of newer riders and that is the way I like it, but it was kind of refreshing to have a ride made up of only experienced riders.

As we wound our way through Tucson Mountain Park, I realized that I didn't have to look behind me as often. Partly because there were only 3 of us and partly because we were all comfortable negotiating corners at speed. After topping Gate's Pass and maneuvering down a steep twisty road, we eventually found our way to a long stretch of straight, mostly flat, two-lane black top, so I opened my Stella up.
It was then that I realized that I was not only riding the "slowest" scooter (In the pic above, you can see my black Stella and two P-200's. The red one is pretty modified and is VERY fast.) but I was also the rider with the least experience. I found it to be quite "enlightening" to know that I could ride as hard and as fast as I chose and still not have to worry about my compatriots.
It was with a light heart that I led our little group through a particularly dangerous section of road that has decreasing radius, downhill left turn that has claimed two scooters in the past. We finished our ride at Sir Veza's Taco Garage, where 4 member of the Green Valley scooter club met up with us. Note: If you look out the window, you can see that it started raining shortly after we arrived for lunch. I had a wet, soggy ride home. But it was still fun.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Sense of Community

I bought my scooter because it was so much fun. Once I began to make contact with other scooter folks here in Tucson, I discovered something else. People who ride scooter are good people. I like them.
I used to attend a "biker church" in Missouri. (Heart of God Fellowship" in Sibley, MO for those of keeping score.) The biker culture, both good bikers and bad, is one of brotherhood. My biker friends in the church would drop everything to help of their church or biker brothers. I wish I could say the same of other church friends.
The above pic is of Theron Spurgeon. Theron is visiting AZ from Sacramento. He posted on our club website a couple of weeks ago, that he was here and would like to ride with the club. Well, we set up one ride, but his training times were changed and he couldn't make it. Well, this past Friday, he called me, said he was wanting to head in to Tucson and ride. I had him meet me at my house so we could ride. He didn't have a scooter with him, so I offered him the Buddy to ride.
Theron in front of a saguaro cactus.
It occurred to me as we were riding, "Howard, you gave the keys to your scooter to a guy you've on met online. If he were to take off with it, you wouldn't be able to do a thing about it."

Immediately, my counter thought was, "yeah, but he's a scooterist. It's okay." And that is exactly right. On multiple occasions, I've heard members of our club offer one of their scoots to someone they had just met. When my scooter broke down, I made a technical call to Sean and he not only answered my question, but offered to drive 50-60 miles to come fetch me. I ended up having my son come get me, but I am honored by the offer. However, this is just something that one scooterist will do for another..
Theron and I had a great ride. We even had to go around one section of road, because it was flooded with snow melt. That's something that you don't see in Tucson very often. Theron will be heading back home to Sacramento next week. I know now that I have a scooter brother in California and if I'm ever up that way, I know that he or one of his scooter friends would be there to help if I needed it, because that what we, of the scooter community, do.

Ride on,