Scoot Commute

Always ridden in the rain

Posted in Daily Commute, Vespa P by sbahn on 2009/09/12
Vespa in a downpour, pushed the last block home

Vespa in a downpour, pushed the last block home

My favorite line in any scooter For Sale ad is “never ridden in the rain”. It’s like seeing really low mileage on a 35 year old bike. It’s just wrong.

Why would you not ride in the rain? It’s so much fun. Yes, it’s more dangerous, as I readily admitted to the handful of folks who popped into my office on Friday to check if I had ridden a scoot. I showed those most concerned my waterproof, armoured jacket (Olympia AST in hi-viz) and my brand-spankin-new waterproof, armoured riding pants (FirstGear Escape). Not that I have been wishing for rain to try them out or anything…

I’ll talk about the pants in a later post (uh, they’re awesome, by the way, and on sale at some of the larger online motorcycle retailers so you really should get yourself a pair because not only is the knee armour CE rated but so is the hip armour), but I want to focus on the ride home. It was lashing and I knew I was low on gas. I decided against stopping at a gas station on the way home because I didn’t want to deal with taking off two layers of gloves and standing in the rain filling the tank. That was a mistake. The traffic was horrendous because it was raining so hard. The entrance ramp onto Route 6 was backed way up onto Pleasant Valley and it took quite a few cycles of the lights to get up to Atwells Ave. And all that time, I’m sitting warm and dry in my screaming yellow jacket.

When I finally got into my neighborhood, I could feel the scoot acting up, sorta coughing and not powering up in second gear. The minivan behind me on Elmwood Ave didn’t have its lights on (naturally, as the driver was most likely unlicensed and uninsured) so as I switched the left indicator on, I made bold arm motions to demonstrate that I was planning to slow to make a left turn. I had to  slow considerably as traffic was flowing in the opposite lanes, but then I gunned it in second to swoop across in front of another non-lighted car. Forget the fact that it was pissing down with rain.

As I twisted the throttle to turn onto my street, I got very little response. Safely across the line of traffic, the engine started to die. I pulled in the clutch and rolled the throttle and kept the scoot on. I nursed it down the street, but at the stop sign, it heaved a cough and then sputtered to a stop. I rolled across the street and pulled up the curb. “Ugh,” I muttered, but thought at least I’m on my block. I contemplated pushing it the rest of the way home or switching on the reserve. I decided on the reserve because I was wearing the liner with my jacket and was getting a bit hot. As I’m fiddling with the petcock, I hear “You need help?” It’s Seth from the next block who had parked his car around the corner and walked over to me. “I ran out of gas…again!” I shouted through my helmet. I then scolded him that he was getting wet, but he said he had been outside most of the day and was already soaked. We then chatted about the wonder fabric that is Gore-Tex, and then I kicked the bike and got it started. I played with the throttle in neutral to ensure that the carb bowl was filled before scooting the last half block home.

I pulled up in front of the house and Erik was sitting outside sipping a beer. He ran in to grab the camera to memorialize the first test of the new pants, and as I was waiting, the engine died again. He snapped the pic and I pushed the Vespa down the street to the garage. I’ll deal with it tomorrow.

Back on the porch I sat down with a cold Strongbow and the Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, exhausted from the first week of the semester, and watched the rain crashing to the ground.


One Response

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  1. polianarchy said, on 2009/09/15 at 4:18 pm

    grrl, you so crazy! i HATE riding in the rain.

    still lovin this blog, though! :D

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