Many of the bloggers are commenting on the deluge of news stories of people turning to scooters to beat $4 a gallon gas prices. The more astute of you might notice that the previous link is to ScooterFix, which is the new incarnation of Crystal Waters & company's Girl Bike. Girl Bike has been one of the longest running scooter blogs, but it is nice to see that Crystal (who was at one time an official Vespa blogger) is moving to a more gender inclusive scooter platform. Of course, I kid, I kid, because I love. It looks like ScooterFix will sticking with the long-running Girl Bike tradition of covering pink scooter gear, though, so it should feel pretty familiar.
One of the other long-running standbys of scooter reportage, 2 Stroke Buzz, has been posting some learned insights into the economics of scootering. Most recently Illnoise linked to this post on Justinsominia documenting the cost of ownership for a year on a Vespa LX 150. For those you who like to cut to the chase:
In total, with the 3rd service I already mentioned above, I’ve spent $1,193.85 on maintenance over the last year, of which only the $150 brush touch up could be considered unnecessary, though at the same time I lucked out that the $260 clutch pulley replacement happened within 4 days of my warranty expiring. So for a vehicle that only cost me $4300, I’ve already spent 27% of purchase price on maintenance. Ouch. I don’t know if I’m paying a San Francisco labor premium or what, but I’m not sure I’m going back to the Vespa dealership now that my warranty has expired.Gear, insurance, parking
And of course that total does not include the cost of riding jackets, rain gear, helmets, and gloves which I’ve probably spent about $500 on. Or $500 a year on insurance. Or $60 a year for city street parking plus the inevitable parking tickets (I’ve probably gotten 3-4 so far at $40 a pop).
All that said, I love my Vespa. I wish it looked better, but it’s a tool, not a museum piece. It allows me to get to work on my schedule, and park in the city where ever I want.I don't know about the SF labor rates, but I think living in the Bay is definitely impacting his insurance rates...
Still, 2 Stroke Buzz has a good point in another post on scooter economics where he does the scooter math:
Spending money to save money is a popular American pastime (e.g. buying a Kitchen Aid mixer reasoning you’ll eat out less, or the scary trend of “Earth Day Sales”). Numbers can be twisted to make you believe anything, but don’t trust them unless you’re the one doing the math, filling the blanks with your own, honest, real-world, data. Change your lifestyle and your consumption over time and you’ll see savings, but don’t go out and finance a $5000 60mpg Vespa at 28% APR to ride on sunny weekends, because your interest on the loan is going to cost you more than the few hundred bucks you’ll save on gas. If you want it and you can afford it, get it, it’s goodtimes, believe me, but don’t blame the Saudis for your attraction to Italian industrial design.
Very good point, Bryan. Oh, and for those of you who are junkys for latest machines to come from Piaggio, he also has a good report on the upcoming Vespa 300 Sport.
Orin, over at Scootin' Old Skool, just reported today that cartoonist Dan Piraro, who draws one of my favorite strips Bizarro, rides a Vespa. Since Breathed, Waterson, and Larson's retirements / slow-downs, it is common to hear folks complain that the comics page just sucks, these days. Bizarro (as well as Mutts, Zits, and Foxtrot) makes the comics page worht being the first thing you turn the paper to.
He is also the original and only owner of the P125 (which has been kitted to 175cc) in the picture above. “For years, It was covered in crash bars, stadium mirrors, etc., and looked very ‘Quadrophenia’,” he writes. “It still has the crash bars but I’ve taken off the stadium mirrors so I can lane split here in NYC (Piraro and wife Ashley are longtime residents of the Big Apple). I’d love to put them back on, but I use it all the time in the city and need it to be more utilitarian.”
I’ve always wanted to ride in New York City. People think I’m crazy. Writes Dan, “NYC is the safest place I’ve ever ridden precisely because of the traffic and chaos that makes people think otherwise. Heavy traffic keeps speeds down and the chaos of pedestrians, bicycle messengers, roller bladers, scooters, mopeds, skateboarders, whathaveyou, keeps drivers on constant alert.”
So where’s a dangerous place? “Soccer moms on the phone, driving an SUV full of noisy kids in Dallas were the scariest kinds of drivers I’ve ever faced, by far.” Piraro grew up in Oklahoma and spent time in Dallas before moving to NYC.This is actually encouraging, since moving to the East Coast, I have been fantasizing about scooting into Gotham, myself. Great scoop, Orin!
Speaking of Scoops, Steve over at The Scooter Scoop, has a crazy post up about a guy who crammed a 600cc Honda Silverwing motor into a Ruckus frame. Now, I have long thought that the Ruckus had a sweet design, that was underserved by it's miniscule engine, but... Good Lawdie! Click the Crazy Post link for pictures and more info.
Well, sorry about the "clip show" (of other people's stuff), I'm working on my (seemingly) never-ending series of scooter gear posts. Currently in the works is a post on the various materials used in textile jackets, but technical info on this stuff is hard to come by, so it is turning into more of a research paper than a blog post.
Also, just this evening, I cracked out my oil paints for the first time in seven years. So you can look forward to more painting posts in the coming days.
Until next time, Scoot On!