Birds and stones

I was going to start this blog post telling you that I am not normally the ind of dork that would buy a scooter. Problem is, I am exactly the kind of dork that would buy a scooter. When I was in college, I rode one to work one summer (no car, and it was better than the bus). Anyway, it's been a long time since then and every once in a while, I see my neighbor across the street jet down his driveway in his scooter (usually dressed in a rain slicker of some sort).

Saturday, I went shopping with a friend and on the way home, I filled up my gas tank. For the first time ever, it cost $60. Sixty on the nose. I'm not sure why that number struck me so hard. Maybe because it was not that long ago at all that the number was $35. What the?

So after coveting my neighbor's scooter and having "sticker shock at the pump" (why is that in quotes?...we should not talk about it enough to put it in quotes), I kind of made up my mind that I was going to buy one.

This is my normal thought process around buying bigger ticket items: I stew on it for a very long time. Sometimes it's not a stringent intellectual process; it's in the back of my mind and every time I am reminded of the thing of my desire, I make a mental note ("oh yeah, I still want one of those" ). This is what happened with the car until one Friday afternoon, I went to the dealership, surely looking like the easy prey I was, with the intention of driving off the lot with a shiny new SUV. I kept seeing FJ Cruisers and then suddenly, it was like "<click>....I must get one". OK, so same with the scooter.

After the gas tank fill-up, I decided on Sunday that this was the day that I was going to buy one. And I was able to fully rationalize it on the way to the dealership (dealership? scooter store?) by calculating how much money I would save each time I filled up the tank on the scooter ($24).  I'm pretty good at talking people, including myself, into or out of buying something.

One of the good things about a scooter is that they aren't so expensive that you feel bad about buying the cutest one they have. I wanted a 50cc model so I didn't have to have a special license or anything. My intention is to use it to zip around Redmond, 3 miles to work, 2 miles to the store, a mile to the coffee, zip, zip.

This is what I got: a Sym Mio. Cute, huh?

It only goes about 30 MPH, but that's OK. I'll be driving in city traffic. getting it home from Lynnwood yesterday was fun. it was about a 20 mile drive and I got to go through cute downtown Bothell and ride past the wineries in Woodinville. It was a nice ride, especially, since the sun was out.

So I am sure this will make the enviro-zealots happy, especially the guy that said if I was going to pollute the earth with my big car, I should at least have the common sense to over-populate it was well with a "gaggle" of kids (sound reasoning, to be sure). I do think about fuel efficiency and when it's a quick trip and I don't need to to haul anything, I'll use the scooter. Plus, I can pretty much park wherever I want; a big benefit n campus.

The downside? Helmet hair. Yeah, like I'm not use to my hair looking messed up.


Comments (16)

  1. Wine-Oh says:

    Where will Jonas sit? Did you opt to not get the doggie side car?

  2. wisemx says:

    Sweet! Welcome to the Scooter club. 😉

  3. RB says:

    how much do these dork machines cost? why not get a vespa? those are popular with the hipsters.

  4. "Birds and Stones"?

    I’m actually considering biking to my new client since it’s only 3 km (~1.9 miles) from my place.

    However, I’m not sure how they’re going to feel about a consultant showing up in biking gear and changing…maybe it shows I care about the environment? 🙂

  5. HeatherLeigh says:

    Wine-Oh, it only goes 30 MPH….can’t imagine it having enough power for a side car!

    wisemx – thanks!

    RB- you can look it up online. I bought what I wanted. I’m no "hipster".

    Ian – "killed 2 birds with one stone"….got the scooter I coveted and saved $ on gas (and got better parking). But I haven’t been on the scooter since Sunday….allergies are killing me.  Lots of people bike to work at Microosft. We even have showers and lockers for them. I bet they clients wouldn’t mind at all!

  6. Derek Bigelow says:

    Nice.  The color kind of matches your hair.  Was that on purpose?

  7. mrscrooge says:

    woohoo congrads!! I was going to look into getting a riding bike this weekend but just a day ago, a good friend got swiped by a car and broke his elbow so I’m rethinking :-.

    Also, city of seattle (eastside isn’t covered, sorry) is offering some incentives for people to give up their car.

  8. HeatherLeigh says:

    Derek – I didn’t even think of that. It was the only color that they had. I do like the color though. Of course people won’t be able to tell given that you have to wear a helmet. 🙂

    mrscrooge – yikes! Yeah, I noticed that this month is ride your bike to work month and I think the official "day" to do it is next week. I’m sure my scooter doens’t count but it’s a step in the right direction. I live at the top of a steep hill, so an actual bicycle is out of the question for me.

  9. greymatt says:

    Only $60 dollars to fill your tank – currently in England gas is nearly $5/USG ($150 a tank), this is why we drive around in cars with smaller engines…

    Like you I haven’t riden one for many years but hired one last year on vacation and spent the day driving around Marthas Vineyard, they a great fun.

    One reminder – they are more fun in the upright position!

  10. HeatherLeigh says:

    Yeah, I love those little smart cars in London. When I was in Australia recently, I noticed how much better they had it (I forgot what the prices were but nowhere near what it is here).

    I’ll try to keep it upright! I bought a pretty helmet that I wouldn’t want to mess up. I did crash one when I was in college (I probably shouldn’t share that….what happens on spring break stays on spring break?), but once you really get a feel for it, it’s easier. Kind of like riding a bike (haha). I’m very cautious when my face is that close to the pavement! 🙂

  11. Derek Bigelow says:

    mrscrooge – There’s an incentive program in Redmond for commuters, if you’re interested ($50):

  12. marbles says:

    Would Seattlites frown upon driving a Ferrari or Porsche?

  13. HeatherLeigh says:

    I can’t speak for Seattle, especially since I am not from here, but I don’t think so.

  14. Tim says:

    Congrats! Yes it was Bike to Work month here, and Bike to Work Day yesterday and I convinced one person in the office to join in. I’m on Day 5 and it’s great! Word to the wise: stick to "slow streets", they aren’t so slow when you’re on a bike, there’s just fewer cars. And, to Ian Selvarajah, 1.9 miles won’t even make you break a sweat – wear your business clothes and go slower!

  15. steve says:

    Did you know the Mio is supposed to do 40-45 mph if you derestrict it?  It’s true!  

  16. HeatherLeigh says:

    Steve – hmmm, that sounds illegal. Which is fun until you get pulled over 😉 I guess my perspective is that if I wanted to go faster, I would have bought a bigger "bike" and just gotten the license for it. Maybe someday in the future. Then I’ll be cool!

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