Scoot Commute

There’s something about Fridays that makes commuting just that bit more dangerous

The week of commuting was pretty good last week; no blatant moronic activity by those with whom I share the road.

However, Friday, well, Friday was a different story. It’s been a recurring theme, this summer, that something stupid or just plain weird happens on Friday.

It started in the morning at the Atwells/Eagle Square 5-points. Is this any surprise? It’s just too complicated of an intersection for people to deal with. I was at the head of the line in the “go straight” lane. There were no cars in the “left turn” lane next to me. I would say that there were about 6 or 7 cars behind me; that’s a lot for the go-straight lane at this time in the morning (I commute slightly later than rush hour). A minivan pulls up on my left into the left-turn lane. I look over and think, “hmmmm, he’s going to jump the light and go straight because he’s got that look; not quite ‘moron’, more like the ‘I’m more important than you so I won’t wait in line’ look.” Well, I know I have a lot off the line on the Buddy, so I decide I’ll out-run him.

The “go-straight” light turns green. I do a quick left-right look to make sure no cross-traffic is running the red, and then gun it. I easily get out in front of him, to the point where it appears he slows down, holding up all the cars that were behind me. Jerk.

On the way home, I had two interesting things happen. Apparently in Rhode Island, turning on your left indicator means that you want to make a right turn. I was approaching the River Avenue / Chalkstone Avenue intersection when the white car in front of me, which had been driving erratically since it pulled in front of me at Pleasant Avenue, slows down. The driver turns on the left turn signal as the car approaches the intersection, so I pull over to the right to go around as there are cars coming from the other direction, which will cause the white car driver to stop before making the left.

As I’m even with the passenger’s door, I see the right front tire start to turn…turn right! I twist open the throttle to get past the car before the driver turns into me. It happened so quickly I didn’t even have a chance to get any adrenaline going. It was just sorta like, of course they’re turning right with their left signal on. Because the driver is of the type, no license, no registration, no insurance.

As I got closer to home, I took my shortcut down a one-way street, going the correct direction down the street. This is the street that I can’t remember the name of, even though I ride it every day. The Guatemalan restaurant on the corner, which has gone through at least three name changes in the last year, has a new maroon and gold awning that says “Spanish and American Food”, so I’m thinking the Guatemalans are gone or they’re trying a new angle.

Anyway, as I come to the stop sign at the end of the street where I need to turn left onto Westminster, an old guy in a white car that is on Westminster drives slowly by me, screaming and waving his arms at me. I thought maybe he wanted to turn onto the street (the wrong way) as I could see the right blinker on the front bumper blinking. As he continued by, yelling, hollering and cussing me out (yes, he was staring right at me), I could see that he had his emergency blinkers on. The truck behind him came to a stop and motioned to me to pull out and make my left. I think he was afraid the guy might get out of his car and come after me. It was really, really weird. I opened the throttle and thought to myself, I just want to get home. Yikes!

BMW R75/5 and DRZ-400SM at Mews Tavern, Wakefield RI

BMW R75/5 and DRZ-400SM at Mews Tavern, Wakefield RI

Later in the day Erik and I rode down to Razees to pick up some parts that Brendan had ordered (new grips for the Buddy, some bolt for the BMW F650GS and a random new old stock bushing for one of the CT90s that Brendan tracked down from a Honda dealership in Wyoming). Erik has been wanting to meet up with a guy called Eric down in South County to try out his BMW R100GS as a possible replacement for the “soulless” F650GS. Erik had called him before we left for North Kingstown, but there was no answer. As we are parking at Razees, some guy walks up to Erik asking about the /5. Turns out it’s the Eric guy! He gives us directions to his house and we’ll meet up in an hour or so.

We get our parts and have a nice chat with Brendan, who takes us out back to show us his commuter bike. It’s a 1988 Honda VTR250. I’d never seen one (or even heard of one). It’s a crazy little sport bike with an even crazier front brake. It’s beat to hell and a perfect little commuter.

On our way to Eric’s house, we stop in at Twisted Throttle to check out the pink Barkbusters. I was thinking I would get another set of plastics to put on the DRZ for the summer, but the pink wasn’t quite right. Too Barbie, not fuschia enough. Saved some money!

We meet up with Eric who lets Erik ride the R100. He looked really good on it, and it turns out both Erik/Erics think the same way. Eric with a C even said “Oh, I don’t like square headlights.” It was a meeting of twins. I think Erik is liking the R100, but he still wants to try out the TransAlp. It’ll definitely come down to one of those, so he’s starting to prep the F650GS to sell.

As it was getting late and I was getting hungry, we stopped in a Mews Tavern for dinner. Mmmmm, quesadilla.

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