Sunday, May 01, 2011

Vespanomics: Scooters to Save the Planet!

A cool chart shows how some U.S. cities are promoting the use of scooter to help relieve traffic congestion and reduce gasoline consumption:

The chart comes from a blog post at Mashable.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Motorbike Diaries make good reading

I just discovered a set of entertaining blog posts from an American who is riding a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (a k a Saigon):

The Motorbike Diaries - Vol. 1 In the first episode, Sherry (a 30-something American woman who fled the corporate world and a life in New York City) describes what it's like to trust your life to a speed-crazed Vietnamese guy who shuttles you around Saigon on the back of his 125cc motorbike.

The Motorbike Diaries - Vol. 4 The story of the first day that Sherry rode solo in the city!

The Motorbike Diaries - Vol. 8
In which Sherry demonstrates she has become a real scooterist (in less than two months!).

The Motorbike Diaries - Vol. 9 Sherry shares photos of how Vietnamese scooterists use rain gear very cleverly while they are riding.

P.S. For my own first-hand view of scooter traffic in Saigon, see this video.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Greek Islands Scooter Rally

I finally committed and booked my air ticket to Athens, Greece, for the Modern Vespa Greek Islands Scooter Rally! Wow! A small group of scooterists will spend about 10 days scooting around (on rented scooters) in May 2009. (Interested? See the Yahoo! Group MVGISR for details.)

After some thought, I decided it would be best for me to take my own helmet. I have a full-face HJC FS-10, which I really love for its integrated sun visor. It fits my head well too. So I did a Google search for motorcycle helmet, air travel, and found that many people have hand-carried their helmets on planes, both domestic and international.

Then I did a search for bags to protect the helmet (and also to make myself less weird-looking, carrying a helmet in airports). The cheapest one I saw is $13 (U.S.). The one I like best is $30 (U.S.). When I was at AmeriVespa last July, I saw a guy with a backpack designed to carry a helmet. It looked very odd -- imagine the size and shape of a full-face helmet sticking out from your back! Uh-huh. So, no backpack for me.

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

My first new tire

At 3,330 miles on the odometer, I realized that the tread on the rear tire was pretty ... gone. Worn flat. So yesterday I went to my dealer and had a new one put on. He recommended a Michelin tire instead of the Pirelli that comes standard on the LX 150. I said sure.

Total cost (including service) was $97 (with $48 of that for the tire).

I did not replace both front and rear, mainly because the front tire still has very deep tread.

The dealer warned me to ride cautiously for the first 30 miles on the new tire. He said the surface treatment of the tire might make it slip, but this surface will be gone after 30 miles.

I have had my scooter for 13 months now!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Today's Florida ride

Finally, a day with no rain in the forecast!

Waterfowl near YankeetownIt did get a bit hot (91.3 °F), but we're used to that here. I set out rather late, about 9:45 a.m., and returned home about 3:45 p.m. I came and went via Williston Road (State Road 121) which is nice but not terribly interesting.

South of Williston, I turned west on County Road 326 (nice road) and went out to Gulf Hammock. At the end of the road there's a boat ramp that looks just perfect for kayakers. The stream would take you out to Waccasassa Bay.

Then I took U.S. 19 south to Inglis and C.R. 40 west to Yankeetown. That Highway 19 is just too boring! It's a good, wide road, and fast, but duller than dust. I saw a giant group charity ride going north as I drank some water at a gas station in Gulf Hammock. Looked liked about 100 bikes, maybe more. A couple of the guys came in to get gas. When I asked them where they were going, they first said, "Uh, I dunno." Then one said, "Up and around Chiefland, then back over to Williston." That's a long way on 19 -- not a fun ride.

I ate a patty melt at the sandwich shop in the Shell station in Inglis after my loop around Yankeetown. I considered eating at the Hickory Island Restaurant across the road, but I wasn't all that hungry. Looks like a good place.

At Gulf Hammock, FloridaFrom Inglis I took C.R. 40 a short way to C.R. 336 North, and that took me to C.R. 337, which goes through and past Bronson. I'm marking 336 and 337 as super-nice roads in my book! Not many curves, but they run through the Goethe State Forest, so the scenery is not residential or industrial. Sweet! There's a curvy little road west of 337 that I'll have to check out some other time. Hiking trails too. Actually I was in the forest on my outward-bound leg too, but not as long.

In Bronson I turned east on Alt. 27 (big road, similar to 19) and rode that southeast back to Williston. It was hot, and I was just ready to head home before I got to feeling worn out.

Total miles: 160.4

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Best maps for riding

If you're not familiar with Mad Maps, you should be. The company sells a variety of printed maps that show you excellent back roads and scenic byways, with accurate mileage counts and helpful notes about roadhouses, attractions, and so on.

Map Maps Regional Scenic Tours Florida
They have regional maps, state maps (above: Florida), rally runs, and a series called "Get Outta Town" that shows you several nice rides around a selected major U.S. city. I bought the Atlanta one (see below) to help me navigate around Atlanta on my recent ride from Florida to Tennessee.

Mad Maps Get Outta Town AtlantaOne other awesome map resource I discovered while planning my trip was the U.S. Highways Web site. You could spend hours here exploring the non-Interstate highways of the United States, including historic Route 66, among others.

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