Scoot Commute

A Wintry Mix

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Campus by cheesebot on 2015/01/20

I apologize for not updating this blog very much yet.  I suppose it’s understandable given what I’ve been going through emotionally as well as all the practical and financial things I need to work out.  There are some days when I know a nice long ride would relax me at some level but I also dread some of the other feelings that would inevitably arise.  It’s difficult to ride with tears in your eyes and thick winter gloves aren’t the best at wiping them away through an open visor.  So yeah, I haven’t ridden since the memorial service on December 5th.  The cold, wet weather hasn’t helped either – I’m not as hardy (or crazy) as Siobhan.

The Biohazard and Franz at PC, Dec 5th, 2014

I did finally go back into the garage yesterday and moved a bunch of bikes around and switched some battery tenders to different bikes in preparation for something. I don’t know what.

Siobhan loved her job at Providence College and they loved her back.  We always joked about her starting up a scholarship after retiring for poor sods named “Siobhan” who had to suffer with everyone regularly misspelling and mispronouncing her name.

While not as specific, impractical, and narcissistic as that, we have set up the Siobhan Ross Memorial Fund at Providence College.  The intent of the fund is to provide financial aid resources to needy undergraduates who are residents of the City of Providence.

Anyone who wishes to add to this fund should make their check payable to “Providence College” with “Siobhan Ross Memorial Fund” on the memo line.  Any gifts or correspondence can be directed to:

Lynne Fraser
Institutional Advancement, Harkins 412
Providence College
1 Cunningham Square
Providence, RI 02918

or you can donate online at

Please give what you can, if you can.  I want someone to receive this financial aid in the future and wonder who Siobhan was and to go and find out – find this blog, find her ride reports, find her conference presentations, her pictures, her story.

Thank you.  I promise I’ll get out riding soon and tell you all about it no matter how uninteresting it turns out.


Sad news for scootcommute

Posted in Campus, Cats by cheesebot on 2014/11/29

This is cheesebot posting, I haven’t made a post on scootcommute in a very long time because sbahn took over and made it her own and has done a wonderful job.  I am the “boyfriend” that you see mentioned in many posts for the last fifteen years.  I’m sorry to announce that sbahn will not be posting any more.

The day before Thanksgiving Siobhan (her real name) was killed in an automobile accident in Foster, RI.  Icy road conditions caused her to lose control and collide with another car coming from the opposite direction.  Anyone who reads this blog knows that she almost never drove a car so the absurdity of it all is mind-blowing.

If you’re local to Providence, RI feel free to come to the memorial service at Providence College:

The Memorial Mass will be Friday, December 5th 11:35am at:

St. Dominic’s Chapel

Providence College

Providence, RI 02918

The reception, afterwards (around 12:30pm) is at:

The Center for Catholic and Dominican Studies (opposite the chapel)

Providence College

Providence, RI 02918

The address for the college is: 1 Cunningham Square, Providence, RI 02918

Please ride if you can – there will definitely be other riders there.

In lieu of flowers we’re requesting that you instead make a memorial donation in her name (Siobhan Ross) to the Providence Animal Rescue League (PARL)

We’ve always had a brood of cats from shelters or straight off the street and PARL was on our yearly charity tax-dodge list. Thank you.

Feel free to post any comments with stories or opinions, I like hearing about what she meant to people.

International Female Ride Day 2012

I would like to ask if you readers of scootcommute would like me to attempt to continue the blog on my own.  I will not have the same voice she does and I could never replace her but I experience the same frustrations and idiot Murano drivers and can still write about dumb cats and various flavors of alcohol.  Let me know.

Kymco People on campus

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Campus, Parking by sbahn on 2010/02/16

I had a nice long 3-day weekend thanks to President’s Day, the weird winter holiday that no one celebrates appropriately. I’m taking a class in the evenings and had to dash back from my reconnoiter to IKEA to look at bathroom and kitchen stuff for the last apartment in need of renovation.

My class was in the computer lab last night instead of our usual classroom, and while I had sussed out a closer parking lot, lost my nerve and parked in my usual spot in the yellow slash marks in the faculty lot. Walking over to the lab building, I passed a bicycle rack that featured a chained Kymco People. There were other people around so I didn’t check the speedo to see if it was a 50 or 150 (the badge was removed) as I didn’t want to alarm anyone (hi-viz freak sniffing around large-wheel scooter). It was nice to see another scoot out in the winter. It was gone by the time I passed again walking to my scoot.

I did buy a new-to-me bike on Saturday. I haven’t picked it up yet because I need to register it to ride it home. This Saturday’s weather is looking decent (40F) so I hope to have pics to show off the hot wheels.

Where am I to park?

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Campus, Daily Commute, Parking by sbahn on 2010/01/07
Snow & Ice :: It ain't so nice

Snow & Ice :: It ain't so nice

This is what greeted me this morning when I pulled onto campus. I guess the guys didn’t think I’d be stupid enough to try to ride before the melt. But the highs have been running right around freezing and I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to ride. Because I’m loving my new heated gloves. Who knew something so basic could make such a big difference to my enjoyment of two-wheelin’? I should add “giving out free heated gloves to fellow riders” as one of the things I will do when I’m too old to ride and have money to burn.

The Buddy performed admirably. No issues starting both in the morning and the afternoon. I had to leave campus for a brief time to go to the post office (campus PO is closed during winter break). On the way back I found myself behind a blue pick-up truck with not one “Motorcycles are everywhere” bumpa sticka, but two. He also had the obligatory NRA member roundel on the back window. I don’t know where one gets them in blue state Rhode Island. Maybe he was visiting the big city from Pascoag. I gave him a big thumbs-up when I rode by him as he waited at the light to make a left turn.

Two orange cones?

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Campus, Daily Commute, Parking by sbahn on 2009/10/17

Yesterday was ridiculously, stupidly, insanely cold for the middle of October. Oh, and it was raining. Thanks!

I walked over to the garage with Erik in the morning and as I was getting on the Buddy, I realized I had forgotten my fleece neck tube thingey. He said he’d run back and get it, but I said nevermind as my commute is short (3.1 miles) and I was wearing the AST which has a really high collar that actually stays closed.

Well, I was wrong. Next time Erik offers to bop across the street to retrieve any item of clothing to keep me warm, accept the offer.

A miserable commute. Coldy McCold. But now for the shocker. I pull into the gate on campus and look over to my spot. One orange safety cone is no longer enough, apparently.

Franz Biberkopf on campus surrounded by safety cones

Franz Biberkopf on campus surrounded by safety cones

The guys have set up two of them. And…ready…there was another scooter parked next to my normal spot. A red chinascoot. Who, who are you? Beautiful, sunny days and I’m the only motorized two-wheeler on campus. Crisp fall days that turn into warm afternoons and I’m the only motorized two-wheeler on campus. Who are you and why did you pick a crazy 35 degree, rainy morning to come to campus? And thank you for not parking in my spot. Whoever you are, pat on the back, thumbs up, rock-and-roll.

On Vespa, On Trail, and other random things

Posted in Bike Buying, Campus, Daily Commute, Honda CT90 (1967), Parking, Vespa P by sbahn on 2009/08/07

I rode the Vespa every day this week save for Monday, when I had to go to Trader Joe’s. The Buddy simply has outstanding storage capabilities. I park the Vespa in a different spot than the Buddy, and I’ve now been called out twice on it.

Yesterday Jim, one of the physical plant guys who has ridden dirt bikes for 40+ years and gives me major respect, asked why I’m parking it with the cars. And today, when I was walking through the lot and up toward my building, the guard asked if I needed directions, and I yelled over, “I should hope not!”, and he laughed, as he didn’t realize it was me (we’re having in-service for the Providence school teachers this week so there are a lot of people of around). He asked why I’m not parking in my special spot, and I told him what I told Jim: this scoot has to be kick-started and I don’t want you guys watching. Well, that got as big a guffaw as I got from Jim.

The P on Campus

The P on Campus

So this is my new spot. I don’t think I’ll continue to use this space when the kids come back because the guards can’t see it. Not that I think the kids would mess with it, but you never know. I’d be a little annoyed if it was tipped or moved. Oh, and it’s been running great. I think I should replace the broken brake handle (I got a new one, just haven’t done the swap yet) because it’s annoying me. And I think the front brake needs some adjustment; it’s kinda mushy.

I had a cop behind me today so I had to go sorta slow on the only part of my commute that could get fast (down where Dean turns into Pleasant Valley) and I totally forgot I had put the ADV flag hanging off the back rack. I guess it’s not blocking anything because I didn’t get a talking to. My favorite part of the cop is that he eventually moved into the right lane (I always stay in the left) and then proceeded to go straight at the merge…just like all the other jerks who use the right lane as a way to cut off those who plan ahead at the light at the Coca-Cola plant. The new motto should be “To serve, to protect, and to cut you off”.

Sooooo, on to other things. Yet another Trail 90! We wanted two of them, but we really shouldn’t be spending any money right now (gotta paint the house). However, a CT90 popped up on craigslist in Marion, Massachusetts, which is where Erik’s grandmother lives. He called the guy (“what, you haven’t called him yet?”) and we went out last night. He had called his grandmother earlier to let her know we would be stopping by (we wanted to take her out for dinner), but we got the answering machine (so cute that she has a machine now!).

We go by her house and see her car, but we don’t stop as we have an appointment with the Trail guy. We get to his house (it’s really pretty where he lives, all these lovely tall pine trees…I don’t know this part of Marion at all) and the Trail is sitting right there in the driveway. The guy is called Steve and he’s really nice. He had the bike up at his house in Maine to ride around with his daughter, who, at 16, is now more interested in boys. But he did say that she’s still a gearhead, so that’s good for womankind!

The bike: well, let’s see. He had done some weird stuff to it. The left handle was an actual clutch. It’s a one down, three up. Finding neutral is a bit of a bear and there’s no neutral light. The right handle was front brake; back brake was right foot. There’s no key. He turns it off by opening the choke. There’s no battery. The headlamp works by toggle switch. The engine has been replaced with the Lifan (not a bad thing).

The idea was that I would get a yellow CT90 and Erik would take the red one we got on Sunday. I like yellow. I love yellow. I would only ride/drive yellow things if I could. I wish Honda had offered the Fit in yellow. You cannot be angry or sad or non-committed when you see yellow.

This bike is just too messed up for me. Don’t get me wrong…it’s a great bike. The engine is new. But the cool thing about the Trail is the ridiculous clutchless gearing. So we talked. I said, look, for the price, this thing is a great deal. But I want to keep the red one for me. I think that made him happy, because when he took the red one out, he had a difficult time with the clutchless stuff (in other words, he grabbed the left handle to shift and did a herky-herky swervy stoppie thing). Me, on the other, got on the red one and *bam!* I’m off, in fourth, flying over the speed bumps on my street. I looooove that thing. I think because I switch between the shifties and the twisties, it was easier for me to immediately adapt to both handles being brakes. As Mr. Shift-Snoot, I think he likes that he can continue to use the left handle as a clutch. A win-win!

The bad news: no paperwork. And because states are squeezing money from every source they can, the title service is now $145 for a bike of this vintage. Now, neither of us are very good negotiators. You’d think, him growing up right outside of New York on Lawn Guyland and me living 10 years on the Lower East Side, we’d have some skillz, but alas, we’re awful. From somewhere I don’t know where, Erik says to the guy, well, we really like it but we’ll want to plate it. I ask if there’s any old paperwork anywhere (all we need is an old registration or insurance card), but he has nothing. (We did find an Iowa registration sticker beneath the seat.) Erik says, “your price is very fair, but would you take…” and the guy meets us in the middle. I couldn’t believe it. Sold, done, here’s your cash, let’s get it into the back of the Fit.

Erik finagles the Trail to fit in the Fit

Erik finagles the Trail to fit in the Fit

Steve didn’t realize that we actually intended on shoving it into the back of the Fit and bringing it home that night. He didn’t believe us when we said it’ll fit. But it did!

Oh, and it included an extra gas tank and the skid plate which is currently not attached.

We stop at Erik’s grandmother’s house, and she had just returned from an evening meal with friends. As I was very hungry, we didn’t stay long, and she didn’t need any odds-and-ends done around the house. We did manage to leave with two mugs (#1 and #2) and the chocolate cake with white frosting that I love so much that she had in the freezer in the event we were to stop by. She was in great spirits. She’s 85 and lives alone, and we’re the closest relatives by location so I like to stop in every now and again. I’m jealous (yes, there is no better word) he still has his grandmother at his age. I lost mine oh so long ago.

We stop at the Gateway Tavern for burgers with native Marion blue cheese (yummmm!). The place was going off at 8pm on Thursday night. We had to wait for a table (not long).

at the Gateway Tavern in Marion, MA

at the Gateway Tavern in Marion, MA

We must have waited less than 5 minutes for a server to come over once we were seated (the place was packed to the gills with large group tables, the bar was bursting as I would have normally sat there, a guy was playing guitar and the Sox were playing the Yankees) when a manager comes over and apologizes for the delay in service and offers us the first drink on the house. I couldn’t believe it. We’re not known there; I’ve only been there a handful of times. We usually go to the Wave when we visit Marion. I couldn’t believe it. The food was great…the burger was nice and crispy black on the outside and warm and pink on the inside with dripping blue cheese. Ahhh! Erik had a side of onion rings, but I opted for the veg of the day because, well, I’m trying to be a little bit better with balancing food.

We finally get back to Providence and turn onto our street. Ron is sitting out on his porch with this blonde chick; we stop and Ron comes down and takes a peek. Erik parks the car at the house and I introduce myself to the woman. Turns out she’s Beth’s colleague. The woman says to me, “Are you the scooter people?! Beth is so cute on her scooter, and she said she lives next to scooter people.” I hang my head in shame and admit that, yes, indeed, we are the scooter people. The woman, Sarah, is moving into one of Ron’s apartments on September 1st so maybe I’ll make a new convert!

First run in Elmwood

First run in Elmwood

Erik and I drag the Trail out of the Fit. He tightens the handlebars and takes it for a ride. Then my turn. Finally, he locks it to the ladder and bbq in the backyard and I toss a cover over it for the night. We’ll have to figure out how to fit it into the garage tomorrow.

Me on the 1967 CT90...if youve never ridden one of these things, you simply do not know what youre missing

Me on the 1967 CT90...if you've never ridden one of these things, you simply do not know what you're missing

Hey, you’re in my spot

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Campus, Daily Commute, Parking by sbahn on 2009/07/16

Damn…I shoulda taken the pic when I first got to campus!

I was cruising along Huxley and making the left onto campus when I see a mirror peeking at me from my parking spot. I slow down and turn to the security guard and give him an arm wave to indicate WTF? Then I look again and it’s not only a mirror, it’s FOUR mirrors. I flip up my shield and ask, hey, what’s going on? He laughs.

I turn right into the parking lot and there’s a dark blue Honda Silverwing in my exact spot and a giant BMW R1200 (at least that’s what it looked like to me) in the spot where the car usually parks. I park inbetween the two (there’s plenty of space). After I dismount, pop the seat, remove my gloves, undo my helmet strap, flip up the visor, take off my glasses, remove the helmet, put my gloves into my helmet, put the helmet into the pet carrier, close the seat, take out the keys and put them into my left pocket, undo the bungee on my crate, and take out my bag, I walk over to the BMW. It’s a beautiful machine. Hmm, I think to myself, Jersey plates. That must have been an irritating ride.

The Silverwing has been on campus the last three days. On Friday it was in its own spot when I was leaving in the afternoon. On Tuesday it was in the same spot when I arrived in the morning, but gone when I left. Wednesday, it was in the same spot again when I was leaving. This morning it was in MY spot before I arrived.

Last year there was a Silverwing that showed up in the summer. I never found out who rode it. I suspect my SW friend has upgraded to a newer model, but again, none of the guards knows who rides it. I’m telling you, ya gotta wear pink and the guards learn who you are.

There is not one person on campus I can think of who would be riding it. Everyone knows the little blue scooter is mine and would have said something to me. I suspect it’s a summer student, or else a wimp who only rides in nice weather.

Back to the photo: I went out about 12:45pm to take a quick pic for this here blog, but both bikes were gone. It had started to cloud up and thunderstorms were predicted for this afternoon, so perhaps they both headed to safer pastures.

Darn, ‘cos it would have been a cute shot. Big ol’ Silverwing, teeny tiny Buddy, and ginormous Beemer…Goldilocks would have had a field day.

As long as I get a spot, I don’t mind, but really…I park in the same spot—every day—all year long. Why would you park in my spot? Move over a foot and let me have my little spot under the watchful eyes of our wonderful campus security team.