Scoot Commute

How my Buddy almost killed me

Would I love to say it was an uneventful scoot commute today, but it was anything but.

Ride in was the usual, no other bikes.

It was such a nice day today (70s) that I didn’t want to come straight home. I know we’re low on toilet paper (down to 1 spare roll, no wonder I had chest pains and had to go to RIH last week), and I decided a nice run up to Target in Smithfield, then a leisurely scoot down Route 5 to Bald Hill Road and then onto Tollgate to meet Erik at the library. I thought it’d be a nice ride and a nice surprise.

Ghetto GPS from Smithfield to West Warwick

Ghetto GPS from Smithfield to West Warwick

Naturally I GPS’d the route with the assistance of Google Maps. Where would I be without the “avoid highways” option and the ability to drag-and-drop my route.

The ride toTarget was actually quite good considering I was on 44 at 5pm. Traffic wasn’t too backed up and I was able to get a free pump at the Hess. Here is where my problems may have begun. I filled up the tank and it went a little too high for my liking. I’m terrified of the dreaded Buddy “vapor lock” issue which isn’t real vapor lock but some kind of messed up evaporation system on the Bud to allow it to pass CARB in California.

In the Target I just couldn’t resist a quick look at the girls stuff…now that Isaac is gone it’s not the same but there’s still a few cute things. I tried on a pair of trousers (size labels mean nothing ladies, we know that) and the girls in the dressing room, geez, no wonder all my friends are men. “I look horrible in this bikini!” “Oh no you don’t, you have a stomach like you’re supposed to have…don’t want to be too skinny ‘cos anorexics look bad in bikinis…and trust me, I’d tell you if you were fat.” Seriously, on and on and on.

I got the pants and two pairs of argyles for Erik (and yes, I did get toilet paper), and strapped everything in nice and securely. I headed down Route 5, following along my directions and managed to get all the right turns. The posted speed is 35 and 40, so it’s a good cruising road (and at one point it becomes 4 lanes for no reason at all as the road is in the middle of the woods). A bunch of bikes along the ride and every single one waved.

There’s construction near the Route 295 overpass so the traffic was backed up (and the pavement grooved which I like almost as much as metal plates), but it wasn’t too bad and I got to see a giant dumptruck pouring tar. It stunk but was cool looking.

As I close in on the junction of Route 5 and Route 2, the speed limit picks up. I realize where I am going to merge into Route 2 and open up the throttle. No problem. Then I split off onto Route 2 proper where it gets going 50-60 mph and the cars behind me are at an appropriate distance. All of a sudden, nothing. I’m getting nothing from the bike. No acceleration, no coughing, no noise (but it hasn’t cut out). I’m FREAKING out. I manage to pull over onto the gravel-filled shoulder and the bike is still running. I open the gas cap but no whoosh. I wish it was an easy fix. I wait until there is no sign of any traffic and take off again. The stretch I’m coming into is slower (posted 35 but everybody goes 45-50) and it’s running ok. I see a clock at the mall announce it’s 6:18 and I’m hoping I can get to the library before Erik leaves.

I turn onto Tollgate and head into West Wa-wa. First time I’m seeing the new roundabout at the Royal Mills (nice). I get to the final light before the library and the guys are all turning around staring (I’m wearing my pink Corrazzo and pink FF) so I wave. I at least get them to give me a smile.

I turn into the library lot and see the Vespa. Awesome, I made it in time. I go into the library and tap on the “Reference Office” door and Erik answered. He was surprised! He was ready to go so I met him at the scoots (he had to go out the back way as the Vespa’s new Michelin S1s had arrived and were in the mailroom). We rejigged the packages and I wound up taking the tires in my crate. I told Erik about the weird lack of speed issue and he said there was only one small section where we’d need to go over 50.

Off we headed with me following. It’s a nice ride on posted 35 roads. After a few miles we come to the merge with Route 2 that requires some real speed. I have a car pretty close behind me and as we’re pulling up the hill, I feel it again…nothing. No acceleration, no nothing. I look to the left and there’s no shoulder  to pull onto (this is a left-side merge so we’re coming into faster traffic on the right) and I start panicking. The car behind me is really close and it’s dusk and I’m not sure he realizes what’s happening with me. I flash my brake light a few times and I’m also honking on the Stebel to get Erik’s attention as he’s way in front of me. The car behind me gets it and I manage to merge in the right lane and pull into the gravel-covered shoulder. I am FREAKING OUT. The Buddy is supposed to be my “get it, forget it” scoot. I completely expect things to mess up on the Vespa or Lammy; that’s the whole reason I got the Buddy, to not have to worry, or even think, about the machine.

I open the gas cap for a little bit and then head off again toward home. Erik is no where to be seen but at least I know where I am and can get home from here. A little farther up Route 2 I see Erik pulled to the side and we head off again. We both know there’s no other stretch of over 50 between where we are and home.

Tomorrow I’m going to Action Auto Parts on Carpenter to pick up a new spark plug. Let’s hope it’s that simple of a fix.

Arriving home (well across the street where the garage is)

Arriving home (well across the street where the garage is)


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