Weather: Sunny and Hot, 92Â°F (33Â°C)
Scarlet O’Baron’s odometer reads 528 miles as I type this. We have been commuting together for almost two weeks now. I have definitely become One with this machine. The extra power afforded by the 250cc engine makes Scarlet the perfect vehicle for the urban commuter.
Lithe and agile, she gets around traffic very well, without having to resort to tactical off-road maneuvering like Frogwing. With this extra power, she really is like having a little sportbike again. Of course, the riding position is a good bit more comfortable than on my old Ducati.
Handling is tight, and now that I have the quicker rhythm down, we really have fun with the sweepers and the Ford Chicane over on Mississippi River Boulevard. We are able to keep up with, and even pass, traffic on Highway 55 and Shephard Road. Both of these have 50-55mph speed limits, and traffic on them typically travels at 60. This is so much nicer than feeling like a road hazard on the slower Red Baron.
Tonight, I am going to change her oil, and mount the new passenger footrests for Emily. Tomorrow, I will go and hunt down the proper size metal tube for her intake, so she will be “derestricted” in time for our ride on Saturday with reader Dan Jones. We are planning an expedition which he will lead, but I do not yet know where.
I never thought scooters could be so much fun. To paraphrase Tim Allen: All you need is More Power!
5:30pm… Late Breaking News
I’ve just arrived at my house, after a bit of an ordeal. Scarlet and I were riding home, and we ran out of gas. I had been ignoring her gas gauge, assuming that it was as inaccurate as others I have seen on scooters. The needle had dropped to E shortly after I left work, but I figured that I had enough to get to the cheap(er) station near my home.
Well, let me tell you right here, that gauge means what it says. I will be watching it more closely in the future.
What followed was a nice walk in the sun, pushing Scarlet along, in the 92Â° heat. We had gone about a quarter mile, when a motorcycle coming up behind us slowed to a stop alongside.
The rider looked like an old-school biker, and he was riding a Honda Shadow. No shirt, and of course, no helmet. But he held true to the real biker ethic of always helping a fellow rider, and for that I was very thankful.
Introducing himself simply as Wade, he offered to ride home and come back with a gas can. I could park on the side of the road, in a residential neighborhood across from the park, and wait for him in the shade. He said he would be back in ten minutes. This seemed like a sound plan.
So I pulled the book I am currently reading out from under Scarlet’s seat, and adjourned to the park, where I sat in the shade of a maple tree. I could see Scarlet across the street, and watch for Wade to return. It was a pleasant interlude.
After fifteen minutes had gone by, however, I began to get fidgety. I also noticed that a professional landscaping crew was operating at a house down the block from where I had parked Scarlet.
I waited another minute or so, then went back and pushed Scarlet down the block to the house where the guys were mowing the lawn. I knew they would have gas. The only question was whether they would share with a guy who was riding a sporty red scooter.
These were younger fellows, probably still in their teens. I explained my predicament once again, and after giving me an amateur ration of sh…, er, crap, they agreed to let me have about a cupful of gas. That was all Scarlet needed to get me to the nearest station.
About the time I was putting her gas cap back on, Wade rode up. He had his gas can ready, but now we wouldn’t need it. Still, I owed him. So I offered to buy him a beer, if he would follow me.
When we got to the gas station and I filled Scarlet up, Wade said, “Hey, it looks like I need gas too. Do you mind…?”
Has gasoline become more precious to bikers than beer? It would appear so. I handed the nozzle over to him, my debt was paid, and I was spared the humiliation of riding a scooter to a biker bar. That works for me.