Cleared for Takeoff!

07 November, 2005

Of course, it had to be red. What other color suits the Baron?

Tonight I picked up my Baron 150SX scooter from Lev Mirman and the crew at Bargain Jim’s in Plymouth, Minnesota. Baron Scooters are imported from China, but that’s all I know at this time. I will find out more as we get better acquainted.

This is a 150cc, four-stroke scooter with a C.V.T. (constantly variable transmission) drive. Unlike most scooters currently available, it has thirteen inch wheels, rather than the usual ten inchers. This makes it more stable in a straight line, at speed, and it actually handles like a little sportbike.

It is rated for 65mph, and I believe it will do that once it is properly broken in. I have ridden a demo model up to an indicated 60mph, and it was still accelerating when I realized I was in a 40mph zone and there was a cop at the next corner. That was when I found out the brakes work well, too.

So here’s the deal: I am going to attempt to commute on this thing, back and forth from my home in West Saint Paul to my job in Plymouth, throughout the long, cold, Minnesota winter. Twenty-five miles, each way, for a minimum of fifty miles per day. Then there will be an additional thirty miles round-trip to school on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Sometimes we will do this in sub-zero weather.
What am I, nuts?

No, I just have a good plan and some great sponsors. Aerostich is providing cold-weather riding gear, and I hope to get Kenda to chip in a set of thirteen-inch knobby tires for when the snow flies. That is not a done-deal yet, but stay tuned.

The plan is to ride city streets and parkways, with several potential stopping places along the way in case the cold gets too severe. My job allows three hours flex-time in the morning, so I can stop for coffee and a warm-up anytime. Except for days when we expect a blizzard or substantial (6 inches or more) snowfall, I believe I can do this. I will be saving loads of money on fuel, and testing myself and the equipment against a powerful challenge. This will be so much better than droning back and forth in a gas-guzzling cage all winter.

That’s all for now. My first full-day of commuting will be tomorrow, and it’s a school night as well. I will fill you in on my riding impressions then.

7 Responses to “Cleared for Takeoff!”

  1. Anderson "Da' Gunny" Harden Says:

    Semper Fi,

    20 year retiree living in Missouri. I’m also a year round rider. ‘05 Classic Harley. But not in snow.
    Good luck.. Only a Marine would do this.

  2. Kevin Henderson Says:

    And people thought that I was strange for commuting by bicycle, in the winter, in the northwest (though I’m a lifelong all weather motorcyclist too).

    Those folks just don’t know that the really good rides are the ones that leave you feeling that you’ve really experienced something, rather than just driving through it… like getting caught in a blizzard in northern Idaho, or waiting under an overpass for the tornado to pass in Kansas, and again in Oklahoma!

    Stay warm Brother!

  3. mnscooter Says:

    Wow. Who knew I would hear from so many cool people? This alone makes the whole thing worthwhile. Thanks Kevin.

    Semper Fi Gunny! It’s an interesting dementia we have, isn’t it?

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  4. Rob Tsou Says:

    Awesome job sir! I don’t get my sccoter out enough (Honda 150 Elite). I more often choose the big bike (BMW K100rs) because I’m in a hurry but you’ve inspired me to get it out and ride more often. The Zen aspect was really nice too. I totally get it. Thanks and be careful out there!

    Rob

  5. Marty Laplant Says:

    I am with the Army in Germany and I saw an article in a German Motorcycle magazine about a company now making a lamellen, snow, tire for Motor Scooters.
    I am still looking for it but this sounds like exactly what you need.
    I will send the info when I find it again.
    If it turns out that you want some I can help you if you can’t get them there.
    I ride motorcycle all summer and bike to work in the winter, stay warmer that way.
    We are getting our first snow storm of the season today so I can’t wait to try out my new tires on the way home.
    Keep it up, keep the rubber side down, you are right, life is for living!!!

  6. mnscooter Says:

    Hey Marty, I’m intrigued. Yes, please send info. My Kenda K761s are coming next week, so I am going to try them first. If they don’t work out, or if they wear out quickly, this might be another option.

    Thanks, and…

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  7. CHUCK Says:

    I JUST BECAME AWARE OF YOUR CURRENT ENDEAVOR, KUDO’S. I’M ON A LITTLE ISLAND IN SOUTH GEORGIA, TYBEE ISLAND AND WE CERTAINLY DON’T EXPERIENCE ANYTHING LIKE YOU WILL.

    I MANAGE A MOTORSPORTS STORE, THIS IS GOOD FOR ALL OF US.

    BE SAFE OUT THERE………….

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