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Back in the saddle, yet again

October 8, 2018
America's new scoot

America got a screamin’ deal on this 2003 Piaggio LT150 (Orin O’Neill photos, except as noted)

America posted a Facebook Marketplace listing on the Sky Island Riders Facebook page. “I’m gonna go look at this little Piaggio after I get my endorsement on my license. I’m so excited!”

America is new to scootering, having decided two wheels would make trips between home and the University of Arizona campus easier. Not to mention more fun. 😉

The bike in question is a 2003 Piaggio LT150 (aka Liberty in most markets). The seller was asking $500. Commenters advised caution, as would I.

However, the many pictures accompanying the post showed a very clean, undamaged scooter. I told America I’d be happy to go with her to the seller’s home to have a look.

We arrived almost simultaneously (I was at Starbucks), to find the scooter parked in the front of the driveway. The pictures didn’t lie… it was clean, straight and didn’t have so much as a scratch on it. Accessories included a windscreen and OEM matching topcase. So far, so good.

The seller greeted us warmly, and explained he’d bought the bike for his daughter, who has since relocated to attend school. Without having to ask, he produced a clear title in his name and showed his driver’s license to verify he was indeed the owner listed on the title. He offered a test ride without either of us having to ask. HE HAD THE RED KEY!!!

It started right up and idled smoothly. As America rode off, I’m thinking, this is all too good to be true.

Upon her return, I told America, if you like it, give the man the money and close the deal. She did.

Since we had both driven, thoughts turned to how to get her new acquisition home. America originally suggested having someone with a truck pick it up and deliver it, but I said, no, I’d be happy to ride it back to her place.

America's new bike, rear view

America’s new scoot, rear view. A cover and chain lock are good if you must park outdoors.

America arrived at the Soviet Brutalist Apartment Complex bright and early the next morning, and we were off!

Tucson’s annual Monsoon (which wasn’t much of one this year, say the weather people) ended recently, bringing cooler temperatures and lower humidity. I actually needed a hoody, and I wasn’t sweating profusely in long jeans. I’d thought about getting rid of my helmet before the move, but I’m glad I didn’t.

Time to hit it. Turned the key on, went to squeeze the front brake lever and hit the button.

The front brake lever just kinda flopped around. No front brake. Oh, myyyy.

No worries, sez America, she knows a way back to her place on residential streets. 30 mph, tops. The rear brake works fine, so we should be okay.

As we turn onto Ajo Way, I realize I forgot to adjust the mirrors. Well, it has been a while. Traffic is light, I can look over my shoulder. And the blinkers work.

A Mountain

Sentinel Peak, aka A Mountain (Photo: Wikipedia)

We pass Sentinel Peak (aka A Mountain, because it rocks the University of Arizona logo), and seque into a residential area. Lots of Tucson’s signature brick/adobe houses, funky little businesses. A part of town I’d not seen before. Sorry there aren’t more pix, but once I get another scoot I’ll go back and make an album.

Right on Speedway (they had horse races on it in Tucson’s early days), left on Oracle, which greets you with a sign that says “Miracle Mile.” Billy Joel would approve.

A bit of a hitch at Oracle and Grant… the intersection is closed due to repaving work. I think of how stuff like this creates horrendous gridlock in Seattle, and smile because in Tucson it’s no big deal. America pulls into a QT (the Other Arizona Convenience Store Chain) to ask a police officer (who was taking his lunch break) for an alternate route suggestion.

The officer wolfs down the rest of his burrito, then suggests a detour. We get to try out Tucson’s new left-turn alternative: through the intersection, make a U-turn where indicated, then right. It’s going to take a while for drivers to get used to this.

BTW, the scoot didn’t have a license plate. In Arizona, when you sell your vehicle, you keep the plate. I told America to get a 3-day trip permit when she went to get the motorcycle endorsement on her license, but they wouldn’t give one to her because… she didn’t have a license plate?

Luckily, the cop didn’t ask, and none of the others at the scene didn’t seem to notice. Or care.

We arrived at America’s place shortly thereafter. I suggested she get a cover and chain lock, so as to deter theft.

I told America, as I tell everyone, I will do just about anything (anything legal, anyway) if you feed me. We decided to go to Bobo’s, a little family breakfast/lunch place on Grant.

Bobo's California omelette

I had the California omlette.

  1. Sean Lynch permalink
    October 9, 2018 9:02 pm


    I can take the front brake if needed.

    Glad you got some seat time in. We need to facilitate more. drop me a line if you’re free Saturday.

  2. Doug permalink
    October 10, 2018 5:39 am

    Wondering how you missed the front brake xxx on your test ride?

  3. October 10, 2018 9:17 am

    Because I didn’t take a test ride, America did. 😊

  4. October 10, 2018 4:36 pm

    Five hundred bucks. You could be riding daily.

  5. October 10, 2018 6:38 pm

    If I had the money, and if America had decided she didn’t want it, yes.

  6. Doug permalink
    October 11, 2018 7:40 am


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