Rode my '06 Bajaj Chetak up to the maternal parent's abode yesterday. This vehicle, sometimes known as The Flying Percolator, is more-or-less Vespa-inspired classic scooter, silver-gray in color, 150cc (4-stoke!), 4-speed on 10" tires. Top speed around 55 mph, at least per the onboard speedometer, and on those little tires, it's plenty fast.
It wasn't the season's first ride. I'd had it out for a couple of short trips and I always do a pre-flight inspection (one picks this habit up driving an MGB -- or one walks even more than is usual for an MGB owner). Nice, sunny day and no rain in the forecast, so no worries, right?
I was buzzing along College Avenue at the going rate when the SUV behind me suddenly swung out and went around me on a double yellow line. Wha-? He pulled away fast and as I was scanning for potholes and wondering if that was fresh paving coming up, he climbed the hill ahead and sent up a big rooster-tail of water.
Y'know, I thought that was awfully sparkly for asphalt. I had plenty of distance -- half a block? More? -- so I dropped my speed 'way down. Wet roads and I don't have a happy history together. Went through it under 10 mph, keeping near the crown of the road, wondering what was up. At the top of the hill, a blue-painted Indianapolis Water Company manhole was bubbling up like a natural spring, flooding the road all the way down the hill. (IWC has a history of leaks and cracks in this stretch of the road. Dunno why). Perhaps an inch of water at the deepest point and pretty good channels being cut -- and undercut -- on both sides of the street. It had surely washed the grease and oil away long before but it still wouldn't've done me much good to have come upon it at speed.
Clearly, that route was out for my return trip. Hey, I wanted to stop at the five and dime (Tarzhett) anyway.
...Except I found myself fighting a gusty SSW headwind all the way (the tall windscreen doesn't help in such circumstances!); went through the lot and the place was empty -- duh, Easter Sunday! -- and headed down Westfield Boulevard, still arm-wresting the wind. A couple of points, I nearly pulled over, and then I remembered: bridges! Westfield's got a couple of aching, exposed bridges over branches of the White River. I jogged back to College (South of the man-made waterfall) and took the slightly-better bridge there. It was still a gusty ride; South of Broad Ripple Avenue, I detoured down residential streets to get in among trees and out of the wind.
Note to self: next time, read the entire forecast!
YANKEE RADIO TOOL KIT, #106
4 weeks ago