Monday, March 10, 2008

I Rode My Motorscooter This Evening

And it was good. That is all.


It's a Bajaj Chetak, BTW.


phlegmfatale said...

Well done, you!

Turk Turon said...

You be careful!
(And have fun.)

red said...


According to japlopnik a "steampunk" chopper:

Rabbit said...

Cool! Chetaks are nice scooters, albeit difficult to hot-rod, vis-a-vis the 4 stroke engine. We've got several nice scooter shops in Dallas and I keep thinking I'll run across a nice big 2-stroke Vespa (or Lambretta!) one of these days wasting away under a veil of dust in someone's garage.


Roberta X said...

Ah, the legendary "garage Vespa!" I'm told there are still a few around but I never get to see them. Lambrettas, even more so. On the other hand, I saw a German rarity (Gundezapp Bella? Something like that) at the last Indy Scooter Thingie I attended. The stuff is out there!

The Chetak was about as close as I could get to the real thing without paying insane prices. The Stella (another Indian import) was an option but in the end, my desire to not have to buy two-stroke oil won out over Stella's brighter paint and production-halting labor dispute. (Two years on, Stella's back after a hiatus; Bajaj is out of the scooter biz. Remind me not to buy stock)

At one time, Argo USA had a page about their Bajaj "company car," which was a (mildly) souped-up Chetak -- custom exhaust and increased compression. Top speed above 65 mph, quite a lot for a road scooter. Possibly too fast for me!

og said...

I'm coming late to cycling too. I have a Zuke 450 I hope to get a few miles on this summer, learning how not to kill myself outright.

Roberta X said...

If you have not taken it, I can highly recommend the MSF rider's course, Og; in Indiana, it's quite affordable. (Underwritten by a fee on every motorcycle license). The information and training is extremely worthwhile. The manner in which the class is taught is fascinating, as every necessary skill is taught in multiple ways; no matter how you learn, they'll learn ya!

og said...

yeah, I took the course last year. You almost HAVE to take it to get a license. What I need to do now, of course, is PRACTICE!!

Roberta X said...

;) Indiana subtlety: to get the motorcycle endorsement, you can either take the MSF course, at a fraction of what it costs in other states or take a very easy written test followed by a riding test you have to take cold; details of the riding test are not published in any easy-to-find way and it's not a simple test for a novice rider. (Some parts of it would be very tricky on a modern chopper, too). But both paths are available!

Jeff said...

So you really are talking about a scooter and not a motorcycle. I wondered.

You feel safe in traffic compared to a "regular" motorcycle? Not that I have any experience with either.

Roberta X said...

My scooter is pretty large as such things go. (See the link) With the legshield, it presents almost as much frontal area as a big Honda or Harley. The top of the windsceen is a bit over 5' above the pavement and the seat is high-ish, at 31".

It's not as loud as a big bike, which is an issue. But it's about as visible to motorists as most motorcycles, which is to say, "Not hardly." It's also got less power off the line, which means it's harder to evade trouble. (In fact, a stock Chetak tops out at 55 mph and the engine is too small to legally travel on limited-access highways in Indiana).

It's not an inherently-safe hobby. By being aware and playing by the rules and customs of the road, the risk can be managed but it's never going to be zero.

So, no, I don't feel safe in traffic. But I don't feel safe in traffic in my car, either; last year, in a six-month stretch, I had two cars struck by inattentive drivers and totalled. (And one of them was a real jewel, too, darn it).

It's an individual choice. Is the fun worth it? Right now, it is to me. If it stops being fun, I'll stop riding.

Jeff said...

I thought of you this morning as I started the process of switching lanes on 465 and found a guy on a motorcycle back there. What you 2-wheeled riders need is a pointer like they have on tv on the NASCAR races.

And dang if first warm morning of the spring they're not reporting a motorcycle accident out there.

Be careful out there. Don't know what I'd do without the Sunday Smith. Oh wait.... ;)

Roberta X said...

I'm glad you found him visually!

There's a demonstration occasionally staged involving a tractor-trailer rig with a staggering number of bikes parked in the blind spots. You walk to the cab through a forest of cycles, thinking, "There's no way anone could not see all that;" then you settle yourself in the worry seat, look in the mirrors and...nothing. Empty.

(This is the same reason that I used to go out of my way to postively interact with truck drivers while driving my ex's Suzuki Samuri minijeep; I'd signal with all the courteous little extras, make sure I could always see the mirrors when following, etc. to improve the odds they'd notice the tiny gnat of a vehicle.)

Careful it is -- today I decided not to ride to work, since I have to pick up a small satellite dish at Skunk Works North Campus and take it downtown tomorrow. The aggressiveness of Northside drivers was a factor, too.