Attitude Calibration

08 and 09 November, 2005 Temperatures in the 38 to 50 (F) degree range.

It was late when I got home from school last night, and I was dog-tired. Twelve hours of work and school combined with three hours commuting made for a long day. The Red Baron performed flawlessly, with only one minor issue: The speedometer and odometer are wildly optimistic. Calibrated in kilometers, the odometer counted 52.2 kms for a commute that is actually about 40. That’s an error of approximately 23%. I’m not sure if the face of the speedo is calibrated to match, but I intend to find out soon. Anyone want to lend me a GPS for some speed testing?

Numbers aside, I am learning that my entire attitude about riding needs to be re-calibrated. The scooter has only one-fourth the horsepower of my KLR. This means that I can never ride aggressively, I cannot be the Urban Guerrilla. Passing requires the cooperation of your intended victim. If the dawdling cage driver decides to speed up, you have no choice but to fall back in line, where they are likely as not to slow down again. I found this slightly maddening when I first encountered it on West River Road.

Tweaking my attitude, I realized I was not in a hurry. I pulled over at the next turn-out and gazed at the river for awhile. I pondered this strange compulsion to rush everywhere. Riding is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Why on Earth would I want to turn it into “driving”? But that’s exactly what I was doing. I wasn’t enjoying the scenery, or savoring these new sensations of scootering. I was staring straight ahead at the backside of an Escalade, cursing it’s silly driver and looking for a way around. How sad is that?

This was my first lesson in the Zen of the scooter. You cannot take yourself seriously on this machine. Scootering is a hoot! It is fun, and in this macho American society, it is funny. Now, we all know that Real Men don’t giggle, and I certainly don’t. But I do catch myself chortling inside my helmet from time to time. I arrive at work with a silly grin plastered across my face. This little Red Baron is making me a happier and friendlier fellow! You can’t buy that for any price.

8 Responses to “Attitude Calibration”

  1. Shane Says:

    Wow, one fourth the horsepower of a KLR. I ride a KLR 650 and at speeds of 50+ mph it doesn’t have a lot of get up and go left. So I guess riding wheelies on the Red Baron is out of the question ;)

  2. nate Says:

    Where in West Saint P do you live? I’ve got a GPS you can use for your testing, if you’d like- it’s even in a ’stich pocket, so if you’re using an Aerostitch outer layer, it’d fasten right on.

    Welcome to the scootering mindset. It’s odd that the smaller the CC, the more relaxed and enjoyable the ride becomes. I’ve noticed it on my ‘big’ 200cc bike- I feel the need to race along Shepard and get bent out of shape by other drivers. Put me on the 125, and suddenly my worries about ‘asserting my presence’ fall by the wayside, and I’m forced to just sit and enjoy the scenery.

  3. Gary Charpentier Says:

    Hello Nate,

    Yeah, the zen aspect was a real epiphany for me. I’ve always been somewhat, shall we say, assertive on a motorcycle. That just doesn’t work on a scooter. You cannot escape the wrath of a road-raging cage driver like you can on a bigger bike.

    I live on Bernard St, East of Robert. If you want, we could meet somewhere like the Old Man River Cafe on Smith and Annapolis.

    I would only need to use the GPS for an afternoon, to verify speedometer and odometer error, so I can accurately figure speeds and mileage. It’s always a pleasure to meet a fellow rider. Just let me know when. Tuesday and Thursday nights are out, because I have school. Otherwise, my schedule is pretty open.

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  4. nate Says:

    Go ahead and email me- I’m not more than 10 blocks away. We can definitely arrange something. Having the GPS function as a speedo with little bonuses like “Maximum speed” “moving average speed” along with the breadcrumb trails make it a pretty fun little toy.

    Evenings after 7PM are great for me.

    -nate

  5. Chris Roy Says:

    MNscooter wrote:

    Tweaking my attitude, I realized I was not in a hurry. I pulled over at the next turn-out and gazed at the river for awhile. I pondered this strange compulsion to rush everywhere. Riding is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Why on Earth would I want to turn it into “driving”? But that’s exactly what I was doing. I wasn’t enjoying the scenery, or savoring these new sensations of scootering. I was staring straight ahead at the backside of an Escalade, cursing it’s silly driver and looking for a way around. How sad is that?

    This was my first lesson in the Zen of the scooter. You cannot take yourself seriously on this machine. Scootering is a hoot! It is fun, and in this macho American society, it is funny. Now, we all know that Real Men don’t giggle, and I certainly don’t. But I do catch myself chortling inside my helmet from time to time. I arrive at work with a silly grin plastered across my face. This little Red Baron is making me a happier and friendlier fellow! You can’t buy that for any price.

    —————————————————-

    Wow, I felt exactly the same thing when I started bicycle commuting three or four years ago.

    Who knew no/low power and going slow could be so liberating instead of agravating?

    I live in So Cal and am feeling quite milque-toasty right about now as sometimes pedalling 16 (round trip) miles in the dark is too hard, let alone 50 miles of traction control and freezing cold!

    Chris Roy
    Laguna Hills, CA

  6. mnscooter Says:

    Thanks for writing, Chris. You gave me flashbacks to my own bicycling experiences around Laguna when I was stationed at MCAS El Toro during the eighties. I imagine many more of those beautiful hills are covered with condos now, eh?

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  7. Marshal Guidry Says:

    WOW, You Da Man….I live here in flat Louisiana and ride a 95 ci Harley in a mild climate (nothing under 30 degrees in mid winter). I feel like suck a weenie. I love reading your blog daily to see what mother nature has unleashed on you. I’ve even started looking into getting myself and the wife a pair of scooters. Thanks for keeping the rest of us informed and stay safe!!!
    Marshal Guidry
    Sulphur, LA

  8. mnscooter Says:

    Hey Marshal, thanks for the response. Get the scooters, they are a hoot. We used to take them for granted as pit-bikes in the roadracing hobby, but they are fantastic for commuting to and from work, and make for a relaxing ride around town in nice weather.

    Ride well,
    =gc=

Leave a Reply