Scoot Commute

Honda Ruckus on the East Side

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Daily Commute by sbahn on 2012/03/08

Yesterday I was riding over to the orthodontist office on the East Side (no Cranston dental professionals for me!) when I found myself stopped behind several cars at the red light on Waterman and North Main. There was a lot of traffic on North Main, blocking the box. As I sat there, waiting for the light to turn green, I see a hi-viz jacket out of the corner of my eye, coming from the right.

He took a right turn up Waterman, and I had a good view of the bike as he turned; that’s right, an orange Big Ruckus.

“Aww man, I have GOT to catch up to this guy,” I thought to myself.

Green. Light turns. Cars are still blocking the box so I maneuver the scoot up and around the cars in front of me and cut through the gridlocked, northbound traffic. I have got to catch the Big Ruckus.

The light at the top of the hill, at Waterman and Benefit, turns red in front of me. I hate stopping on this hill as it’s very steep and I struggle to keep from rolling backwards (even with a front disc brake). Light turns quickly to green, and I crack the throttle.

In keeping with my red light luck, the next light turns red before my eyes, at the top of the hill near the Economics department at Brown. I always remember that because the building is called Robinson Hall and is stunningly beautiful.

But now I’m up above the crest of a hill and I can see hi-viz in front of me.

Green! and off I go. I control my speed as this area is crawling with comatose Brown students, noses buried in iPhones, randomly stepping off the curb into the flow of traffic.

Big Ruckus guy is stopped behind a car, dead center of the car. He sees me in his rear view mirror, and, as the traffic crawls ahead, he moves into the left part of the lane.

I pull up next to him, push up my face shield, and yell over, “Aww man, just love that Big Ruckus!” Then I notice he’s wearing the same Olympia hi-viz AST jacket. Fellow scooter dorks! He also had a Twisted Throttle orange triangle sticker on the back of his helmet.

So if you ride an orange Big Ruckus with Massachusetts plates and wear hi-viz, “hello!”. I have no idea who you are, but I suspect we probably know people in common. This is, after all, 1-degree of separation little Rhody.


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Happy Honda Household welcomes another Honda

Posted in Bike Buying, Honda Transalp XL600V (Kaiju) by sbahn on 2010/10/30
TransAlp getting ready for its move from Massachusetts to Rhode Island

TransAlp getting ready for its move from Massachusetts to Rhode Island

1) I hate the BMW F650GS Dakar.

2) So does the person who actually rides it.

3) He wanted a TransAlp before getting the BMW, but the Dakar was available, reasonably priced, and local.

4) Then we took the ride up to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Canada where he learned to hate the BMW.

5) And I took the Dakar to work a couple of times where I learned to hate it…why hate it? Because it’s like riding a steamboat, but not in the cute, fun way of the Honda Dream.

6) We both agreed. Sell the Dakar and look for a TransAlp or a BMW GSPD. He tried a regular R100GS because a guy in Rhode Island let us go down to his house and try out his bike. He wasn’t selling, and we just wanted to see if it would work. This is why I love the Internet and love bike people. Always open.

7) A TransAlp shows up on the innerwebs for cheap and not all that far way. He drives up and tries it out. I get home from work to find out he’s bought it.

8) We drive up today to pay the guy, pick up the bike, and do the paperwork. Original owner. Semi-retired orthopaedic surgeon (do medical people ever really retire?).

Original owner of the 1989 TA takes one last ride

Original owner of the 1989 TA takes one last ride

He had lots of crash stories. Like when a raccoon ran into his front wheel; the bike wound up in a ditch and he was in the middle of road with 10 broken ribs. He said to me that he had planned on riding the bike into his 90s (he’s 72 now), but his right knee is shot. He even had to get on and off the bike on the wrong side. I said to him, “He’s really excited. The bike is going to a happy Honda home where it will be ridden regularly and sometimes stupidly and garaged with many other happy Hondas.” He does have a Honda Elite that he rides for his 12-mile roundtrip commute. Once a Honda whore, always a Honda whore.


Honda Fit hauls Honda Transalp...Thank you Soichiro!

Honda Fit hauls Honda Transalp...Thank you Soichiro!

New owner with the 1989 TransAlp...what's the first adventure going to be?

New owner with the 1989 TransAlp...what's the first adventure going to be?

We got the bike home, towed with, oh guess what, a Honda Fit. I hadn’t had a chance to ride it and I’ve been thinking that it makes a lot of sense for us to have two of the same bikes for our long distance riding.

When we got back to Providence, I promptly pulled on my helmet and took off.

Oh my god! And I’m sworn to thumpers…but oh my god. What a freaking blast. The weight distribution is perfect. Gripping the tank felt as natural as when I’m on the CB350. Taking sharp turns was like a hot knife through butter. I sped up for each speed bump on my street and the bike was pulling for more, and this is a bike that hasn’t really been ridden in years and needs tune-up work, a new chain, brake adjustments, blah blah.

I never could figure out what is was about the F650GS I hated. Now I think I know. It’s too new. We’ve both always ridden old bikes [and old cars for that matter!] (except my Buddy scooter, but that’s for getting to and from work) and that’s all we know. Drum brakes. Kick starting. Not starting and giving up and taking another bike that is working. Snapped cables. Odd noises. Bad smells. Extra bits after doing maintenance. Difficult to source parts.

Well, I’m in love and it’s not mine.

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