Scoot Commute


Posted in BMW F650GS Dakar (Maxx), Honda Dream 305, Shows / Rallies, Vespa P by sbahn on 2010/08/09

This weekend is a long holiday in Rhode Island as we’re the last state to celebrate Victory over Japan day. We don’t need no steenkin’ political correctness in our little bit o’ Roger Williams heaven now; well, maybe we do but who doesn’t want a 3-day weekend in August?!

Vespa P200E and Honda Dream going camping

Vespa P200E and Honda Dream going camping

It was also a Rhode Island scooter  rally weekend (SmallState2010). Being the hermits that we both are, it would be highly unusual for us to consider attending any sort of event with more than 5 people that we know. But I’ve been trying to be more social (don’t ask me why as I don’t know myself) and we both agreed, hey, let’s go this year. Why not? Camping is fun. Two-wheeling in fun. The people I know who go are half-way decent. Agreed; we’ll go.

Erik had fixed up the Vespa P200e last week after I reported the odd behavior it was exhibiting on my commute. He tried to get the Lammy going, but neither of us have much free time for such futzing. (I just want this class to be ovah!) Having run out of time and discussed riding a CT90, I suggested he just ride the Honda Dream. It’s not like he was going to ride it in any of the scooter contests and it’s small enough to almost be a scoot, so why the hell not.

When I got home on Friday afternoon, we loaded up the bikes. Me on the ’79 Vespa and he on the ’65 Dream. We didn’t pack a lot because food was being taken care of for us. We basically just packed the tent, sleeping bags and mats, two chairs, a few shreds of clothes, sunblock and tools.

Off we headed around 3pm. The Dream dies once on our block, but he easily gets it going again. He hasn’t ridden it since it was displayed for a month at the public library for “May is Motorcycle Awareness” month. We get about 1 mile from the house when the Vespa exhibited the same behavior it had the week prior when I was commuting. I pull over, right in front of the Cranston Street Armory, and kick-kick-puttttt-brrrappppppp. All good. We’re using the communicators and I tell Erik it’s doing the same thing it did last week. As I prepare to make a left onto Westminster, I manage to honk the horn instead of hit the indicator switch. Damn Italians with their backwards switch placement!

The Vespa conks out 3 or 4 more times until we both finally pull over in possibly the worst location we could find to discuss what we should do. As he walks up to the Vespa, gas starts pouring out of the Honda. I rush over and flip the fuel tap to off. He decides to ride the Vespa back to the house for adjusting. I lead the way on the Dream. I’m trying to find the turn signal button as I make my first right with a quick glance down, but nothing looks like it would turn on the bliner. I decide to just use my hand.

We get back to the house and Erik drains the tank on the Vespa in order to take a look at the carb. In an effort to leave him alone, I go do some work on the paper I have due on Wednesday to keep out of his way. He futzes some more, rides around the block a couple of times, and announces it’s running good. Off we go again, this time around 5pm. This time I didn’t even make it two blocks. I kept it going, though, and turned at the next block to head back to the house. It was running ok for the next two blocks, so I thought, hey, why not, let’s keep going. I think we got two or three blocks on Broad Street when I decided to throw in the towel. I made a quick right onto a side street and it died in front of 6 or 7 guys hanging out on the sidewalk and a porch. Erik was behind me on the Dream. I get off, pull it onto its centerstand, and start kicking. The guys are yelling something at us, and Erik bangs on his helmet…the universal symbol for “I can’t hear you”. They stop yelling and go back to whatever deep, philosophical discussion they were having.

I get it going again and limp around a few more corners and then back home. I’m really disappointed because I wanted to go to the Beef Barn. The weather was perfect this weekend (for August)…not too hot and dipping into cooler temps at night, just right for a fire.

Nothing can be done, though, because I’m not about to show up at a scooter rally on a DRZ.

Fast forward to Monday. Instead of doing what I should do, which is finishing writing the paper I’m presenting on Wednesday, we go for a ride down to the RI/CT border in the Yawgoog Boy Scout camp. A little bit of dirt, lots of cornfields, and a chance to ride the BMW.

Elsa the DRZ on the border between Rhode Island & Connecticut on Yawgoog Road

Elsa the DRZ on the border between Rhode Island & Connecticut on Yawgoog Road

We went for a short hike into the woods to cool off in the shade. The camp is on hundreds of pristine acres and was quiet as could be. Before getting to the trail, we rode through groups of boys at three different ranges: rifle, bow and arrow, and target. Yikes! I don’t remember Girl Scouts having activities like this.

We continued on into Connecticut on a nice gravel dirt road. I got the bike up into 4th and over 40mph at one point. Fun fun! We eventually looped up onto Route 49 and then onto 165.

At one point Erik asked if I wanted to try the BMW F650GS, which I did, so he pulled over and we switched bikes. He’s never ridden the DRZ. Well, let me say this; he’ll never ride it again unless I’m bleeding on the road and it’s to summon help.

We ride for quite a while, talking the whole time, comparing the bikes. The BMW still feels like a steamboat. And steering it; you actually have to move your arms and body. It’s not just a thought, like on the DRZ. The more I rode it, the more I decided it’s not for me.

As we come up to the first stop light since the switch, I watch the DRZ do an odd little swerve. I pull up next to him at the light, and he says, let’s pull in this driveway up ahead and switch back. Apparently he locked up the rear wheel. I kept saying, all you have to do is think about stopping and the DRZ will stop; you don’t actually have to apply any force whatsoever to stop the thing, just picture yourself stopped.

We switch back and head toward home. I know the DR-Z400SM is the perfect bike for me. The F650, he can sell it like he wants to and find something that really fits him.

Oh, and the Renazco seat on the DRZ is fantastic! And the Dream doesn’t have any turn signals which is why I couldn’t find the switch. Good thing I know my hand signals.


2 Responses

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  1. kenneth said, on 2012/11/06 at 9:16 am

    Man I need that 250 how much

    • sbahn said, on 2012/11/07 at 7:33 pm

      I paid $650. I think it was a good deal. I don’t feel badly, like I bent someone over, and I don’t feel like I get bent over.

      Hope that helps.

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