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Over 20000 miles, finally

June 9, 2011
The GTS' instrument cluster

Almost, but not quite... (Orin O'Neill photo)

I was a bit surprised all the riding we did in Victoria didn’t push the total over 20000. The trip to Seattle from Bellingham didn’t do it, either. The milestone was finally achieved somewhere on the way to Everett, coming back from Mods vs. Rockers.

The GTS had 3400 miles on it when I got it in September, 2008. It’s been ridden ever since: many trips between Seattle and Portland, Seattle and Bellingham, Seattle and Vancouver, and the longest of all, Portland to Spokane and back.

It’s funny how many scooters with only a few hundred miles on them are even now listed for sale, even as gas topped $4.00/gallon (albeit briefly). Scooter shops that were counting on a repeat of the Great Scooter Fad of 2008 were disappointed that it doesn’t seem to have materialized.

Of course, the big reason for that is in 2008 people still had jobs, money and/or homes they could use as ATMs. This time, they don’t.

There isn’t going to be a significant shift in the way most people get around unless the price of gasoline goes above four bucks in the U.S. (or five in Canada) and stays there. The oil producers aren’t stupid—they know where their bread is buttered.

In the meantime, we might see cars that offer scooter-like fuel economy from Fiat, Ford and Mazda next time fuel prices spike. The 120 hp (89.5 kw) expected from Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost is not a pie-in-the-sky figure; similarly-sized motorcycle engines produce 180 or more, without the turbocharger.

I’m thinking you won’t see large numbers of Americans on scooters unless a significantly higher price for fuel is accompanied by a significantly lowered standard of living. Which may yet happen, I’m afraid. Favicon

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8 Comments
  1. Dar permalink
    June 9, 2011 7:17 am

    Wow that’s a lot of scootering! I hope you get some great weather today.

  2. June 9, 2011 12:07 pm

    Dar, the way to get to 20K miles is not to wait for perfect weather to ride! ;)

  3. June 9, 2011 3:22 pm

    Like they say you have to go there to get there…two wheelers are only seen en masse where the living standards don’t permit people to own that most desirable of things, a car. Only a poor man or an idiot rides instead of drives. That would be you and me.

  4. June 9, 2011 5:29 pm

    Just rolled over 25 megameters on Bad Penny Tuesday night as I rolled into our ScootNashville.com meetup at Cafe Coco. So, I have a ways to catch up (about 4466 miles, to be somewhat exact). Fuelly.com sez I’m riding around 3500 miles/year.

  5. June 9, 2011 6:09 pm

    In the ‘Ham, regular has dropped to $3.999 or less, but most places are still selling premium for almost $4.50. The Ten-Cent Increment Rule seems to have gone out the window for the moment…

  6. June 9, 2011 11:11 pm

    Good job, and very inspiring that is. To the next 20k miles!

  7. Jack Riepe permalink
    June 11, 2011 8:43 pm

    Dear Orin:

    First of all, let my say I like the dash on your Vespa. Is the gas gauge accurate? And how is RPM indicated? Is it by a bar that increases past the indicated numbers? And I wish the hell I had an OEM thermometer on my bike. I intend to add one of these (digital in red) along with a (digital in red) voltmeter too. (My current voltmeter does not fit flush with the dask and uses LEDS to indicate a reading. Nicely done on racking up the miles.

    Fondest rgards,
    Jack • reep
    Twisted Roads

  8. June 11, 2011 9:18 pm

    Jack, I took the picture with the key in the “on” position, but the engine wasn’t running. If it were, there’d be a horizontal bar graph in the blank space beneath the time & temperature, showing engine RPM. It really doesn’t tell you much; at idle, the engine turns ~1500 rpm, and when running, you’ll see something between 5000-6000 rpm, no matter how fast you’re going (that’s the CVT at work).

    There’s a low-fuel light (you can’t see it in the pic) that, according to Piaggio, comes on when there’s half a gallon left in the tank. That’s when I fill it, and it usually takes ~1.75 gallons (6.6 liters). Piaggio sez the tank holds 2.4 gallons (9 liters), but running completely out of gas will fry the fuel pump, which is very expensive, so I’m willing to take them at their word. I go 130 miles, give or take, on a fillup.

    Thanks, I intend to rack up a whole lot more miles! ;)

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