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Happy Labo(u)r Day Weekend: final thoughts

September 3, 2008

Gotta tell ya, a 3-day road trip on a PX 150 will cure insomnia, for sure.

And while it would’ve been nice to have a buddy or two along for the trip, riding solo offered opportunities for various, random thoughts about the state of our world to bounce around in my head, especially given the generous amount of room therein… 😉

I covered over 600 miles in three days. A century or two ago, it could have taken as long as three months. I was able to traverse smooth, well-maintained roads the entire time; back in the day, if you were lucky there was a seriously rutted, dusty/muddy trail. I had excellent maps and the ability to make a phone call for help anywhere along the route; in the old days, if I’d gotten in trouble, I was on my own. Ditto if I got lost.

In the early 21st century, we not only travel with ease and speed, we can do so in comfort, if not downright luxury. The least expensive new car in America is a Hyundai Accent. It has features that were rare on luxury cars 30 years ago, has an engine that makes well over 100 horsepower, and a top speed very close to 100 mph. More importantly, it boasts all the comforts of home, including climate control and entertainment.

We are so used to our comforts, and our ability to hop in the car and go, well, anywhere on a whim. You gain an appreciation for this when you undertake a journey like mine. I didn’t have to go, but I wanted to. While on the road, many was the time I thought of the postwar Italian or the person in India today, someone who needed to make a long journey—for a job, a family emergency—with the only vehicle they had, a motor scooter.

On the other hand, riding a 2-wheeled vehicle with a cruising speed of 40-45 mph requires you to find ways off the beaten Interstate highway path. It’s interesting to me that every single time I talk to someone who doesn’t own or ride a scooter (or a motorcycle) about one of my road trips, the first thing they say is something about riding the PX on a freeway. A few don’t know there are other roads besides I-5 and I-90, while a lot more can’t imagine using anything other than a SuperSlab to get where they’re going.

I think that’s sad. While Rick Steves is a passionate advocate of travel as a way for people to gain a better understanding of the world and the people who live in it, more and more I think owning and riding a scooter can be a way for people to gain a better understanding of the world just outside the office park, the big-box retailer and the tract houses. You do have to ride it, however.

And take the motorcycle safety course, please. Favicon

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One Comment
  1. September 7, 2008 2:00 am

    As a Vespa (PX 125) and Kymco (People 250) owner, in a small Arizona town nowhere near an interstate, I too appreciate riding the lesser roads, relaxing, thinking, wandering… As I currently live in Malaysia I also have come to recognize the essential nature of 2 wheel transportation, as for so many here it’s the only way to go.

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