Did I mention that I live in Minnesota. It happens to be winter in Minnesota and it is generally pretty damn cold in Minnesota in February.
I needed to make a gas stop this morning at the local BP gas station and sitting at the pump getting a bit of fuel was this scooter. A 1980’s Honda Express moped. Well not exactly this particular motorcycle, but one just like it. Although I think this one looks to be in better shape than the one I saw at the gas station.
The rider was fully decked out in blue jeans, heavy jacket and a full face helmet. The helmet certainly looked a bit odd, but I’ll give the rider some slack as it was cold outside. I think he had on a pair of choppers to keep the paws warm.
It was so awesome to see this brave soul out battling the Minneapolis streets on his scooter in 20 degree weather that I had to run over and give him a high five. After looking at me like I just violated his girlfriend (maybe I did), he cracked a smile, paid his 4 dollar gas bill, suited up and took off down 36th street at a top speed of at least 25 mph. Ahh, just like a remember.
Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. And then he was gone.
When I was 14 and 15 this was my main mode of transportation. I rode the shit out of that scooter. It was freedom more than anything that I ever experienced. I could go anywhere and I did. It allowed me to have a full time lawn mowing job. I could go to friends houses when their parents weren’t home. We could steal beer and liquor from the liquor cabinet, and then I could ride my 25 mph scooter home. I could go meet girls at the nearest convenience store. I could do all of this because I had a pair of wheels and a license that allowed me to ride those wheels on a road.
I learned a few things while owning and riding that scooter:
One, never use your left hand on your throttle. I was not coordinated enough then, and I am surely not coordinated enough now. Certainly don’t do this when flipping your brothers AC/DC cassette tape in your sony cassette player. When you crash that way it really hurts. Especially when wearing a t shirt and a pair of shorts. Hello road rash.
Two, the more you ride the more comfortable you become with the moto. So that’s why I’m trying to ride my moto as much as I can. Not only on weekends, but to and from work, and errands as well. That’s why I was so impressed to see the Honda Express guy out. He was riding. I am only thinking about it. I need to be riding. The streets are fairly dry now.
Three, handling a motorcycle in the rain still freaks me out. I crashed that scooter so many times on wet pavement I am lucky that I have any skin left on my hip and arm. The memory of sliding down the road on my side with my Honda Express a few feet in front of me has been burned into my brain. I probably should have spent a little of that lawn mowing money on new tires. I need to overcome this fear.
Four, storage: Add a milk crate to your scooter. They work great for all kinds of things and they are dirt cheap, especially when you “borrow” them from the local grocery.
Five, Maintenance: Duct Tape works for almost everything. Broken cassette tape and holding milk crates on the rack, it works for all things mechanical.
So way to go Honda Express Man. Way to get out there and ride every day, winter and all.
Finally, if any of you come across a very cheap Honda Express, let me know. That might be my next Moto.
Anyone who rides in Minnesota in February has my respect….