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Now ain’t that a pillion

January 29, 2008

I didn’t ask for a computer terminal at Online Coffee, but I didn’t need one. Maryvu showed up more or less on time.

I had agreed to give her a ride from Capitol Hill to Ducati Seattle so she could pick up her new avocado-with-whitewalls Stella. Getting a new vehicle has always been a high point in my life, so I’m glad to have the chance to share the experience.

Once she got back from retrieving her helmet, I told her this was only the third time I have carried a passenger. She looked at me slightly askance, and I have to admit I was a bit nervous myself. But given the route—a few miles, all down gentle hills—we both decided everything would be fine.

Maryvu is smaller than I am, always good when riding two-up. Once she’s settled, I am pleasantly surprised to find holding the PX upright is no problem at all. I put the bike in gear, and we’re off down Pine Street.

Traffic is light, and nobody’s being bone-headed. Amazing, especially on Capitol Hill.

The main thing to keep in mind when you have a passenger: Everything the bike does is affected. It takes longer to stop, longer to accelerate, and transitional movements like changing lanes will feel like the classic dream where you’re trying to run but your legs weigh 500 lbs. each.

Making the right onto 8th Avenue, I also realize the bike will need a larger radius to negotiate the corner. Luckily, the left lane is closed in the middle of the block, so the sweeper seems like a perfectly natural move. It’s also good not to scare your passenger unnecessarily.

We’re at Westlake in no time, stopped at the light next to a big plate-glass window. “We look pretty cool, don’t we?” said Maryvu. We do. Too bad it’s dark, and the camera isn’t easily accessible; it would’ve made a great picture.

A diagonal cut across the SLUT tracks was no deal at all, and more-or-less synchronized lights almost to Mercer meant I was able to hit 4th gear. Remember, those two wheels are gyroscopes, and the faster you go, the more stable you’ll be. But as I said, it’ll take a lot longer to stop, so add speed wisely.

It took a while to find a big enough hole to cross three lanes at 9th Avenue, but one finally appeared. Again, the bike won’t move out as fast. I was able to drive right up to Ducati Seattle’s door.

Maryvu’s Stella was in the final stages of pre-delivery inspection (PDI) when we arrived. She was all excited as we went up front to get the paperwork going. Then she realized she’d forgotten her wallet. With the credit card she was going to use to pay for the Stella (a nice thing about scooters, that). D’oh!

What to do? It’s too late to apply for any kind of dealer financing, and nobody’s home at Maryvu’s place to get the credit card. I would be happy to take her back home and back to DS, but they’d be closed by the time we got back.

Maryvu on her new Stella.Well, she’s just going to have to pick up her Stella tomorrow morning. She’ll still be the first in Seattle. She at least got to start the engine and sit on it.

You can just take me downtown and I’ll catch a bus, Maryvu says. Then she realizes she doesn’t have money for bus fare. No worries, I’ll take you home. It’ll be more good two-up experience for me.

I do want to avoid the really steep hill between Westlake and Boren, so we go down 9th to Harrison and south on Fairview, picking up Boren east of the hill. From there, it’s left on Pike, which has a shallower approach than Pine, and on to deepest Capitol Hill. A totally uneventful trip. Even moving away from uphill stops.

“If you hadn’t told me, I never would’ve guessed you’ve only had three passengers,” said Maryvu as she got off. That’s the best kind of compliment.

UPDATE, Jan. 30, 2008—I met Maryvu at Ducati Seattle earlier today, and this time she remembered the credit card! For a while at least, she not only has the first new Stella in Seattle, but the only avocado one. The other two are in transit, along with the orange ones. Keep the rubber side down, Maryvu! Favicon

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5 Comments
  1. January 29, 2008 10:59 pm

    Oy! What a horrible disappointment for Mary! And you’re so right about two-up being a different experience.

  2. maryvu permalink
    January 30, 2008 7:44 am

    yeah, I was bummed. I’m glad Orin got a great post about the experience anyway. I have my wallet and riding gear with me today. 2nd time will be a charm…although, probably a bit more wet.

  3. January 30, 2008 6:42 pm

    Yes, the PX 150 owner’s manual calls for 36 lbs. in the rear tire if most of your riding is done two-up. Since this trip was just a few miles (and since I almost always ride solo), I left the rear at 26 lbs.

  4. Jared permalink
    January 30, 2008 8:24 pm

    I hope you made it home safe and sound Mary! Congrats!

    –all of us at Ducati Seattle!

  5. maryvu permalink
    January 31, 2008 10:07 am

    yep! can’t wait for those zippy1’s to come in. Otherwise, rides great! Rushed to a downtown meeting on her this morning, even got her up one of the steep hills on my way back…

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