A long weekend loomed and somewhere in it I planned a long trip; unfortunately, not a weekender but at least one significant ride before Tuesday. First, however, I had to retrieve my gal pal. The Priority Lights were being installed--Yay! In addition, the shop was hosting a scooter breakfast and rally/gymkhana. This I had to experience.I arrived before 11:00. The place was abuzz with activity. Outside the shop, folks and their scooters lined both sides of the street. Tables of food and beverages were set out--all this on an absolutely gorgeous day that reached the low 80s. I didn't sample the food but happy-looking munchers were ubiquitous, creating a high-spirited, jovial atmosphere. I don't know if everyone knew everyone else, but it seemed that way. Later someone said the group consisted of some "scooter club" members. Someone else told me that today was part of a gathering and events that commenced a couple of days prior and more events were planned for the next day or so. I don't know much about scooter culture, but this gathering seemed fun-loving, quirky (in a good way), with a sense of humor expressed in some of the machines. A few motorcycles also lined the streets in front of the shop too--including Queenie.
Met a couple of new people, one I'll remember and one I'd like to forget--in the spirit of "letting go." First, the one I'm working on forgetting: This guy was probably well-intentioned but he rubbed me the wrong way. As I've expressed many times here before, "...like/love my bike and you're A-Okay with me. Bad-mouth my ride and you're on my pooh-pooh list. Forever. So much for letting go...
A guy walks up to my bike looking serious and curious. When he gets up close and personal he asks, "How do you like that bike?" I know this query is meant to be an icebreaker but judging from his body language, his asking bugged me. I mean, it's my bike. Am I going to say, "Oh, I just hate it, bad bike?" For heaven's sake...But I'm detecting this guy doesn't really care how I feel about my bike. Something is pressing on his mind and he longs to share it with me.
I respond, "I love my bike, she's serves me well--she's a great bike." He hikes up one brow while simultaneously, but ever so slightly, leaning his head to the left--like he knows something I don't. When I don't bite, he says..."Yeah, great bike. I loved mine too until it quit on me, just gave out at 50 thou--just gave out--it was really bad." He looks pained but continues..."How many miles you got on it?" I tell him. He said, "Well, just be careful, monitor it when you get close to 50 thou--'cause it can give out..." I stress my happiness with the bike; I say it's in trusted hands at the shop; I tell him of my extensive research and the wealth of knowledge from exceedingly happy SVriders forum members; I tell him I know of others who have put over 100,000 problem-free miles on the bikes, blah, blah, blah. He just furrows his brow again, hunches his shoulders and really doesn't seem that interested in what I'm saying. Inside I'm thinking, "Get on your scooter and buzz off Bud." One day someone is going to get an earful of my inner thinking.
I also met motorcyclist, Larry, who walked up to me and said, "Hi, may I ask you a question...what do you do with your hair when you're riding?" Although this is Larry's first time asking me this...if I had a nickel every time I'm asked that--well, you know the rest... I give my standard retort: "It depends... blah, blah.... Larry rides a Beemer, a "K-bike" that reminds me of tie-dye. The blue and white colors convey an overall impression of blending together in a distinct pattern you won't soon forget. Larry's "K-bike" is well-ridden; in fact, Larry has his share of long trips. We talked a bit about his Alaska trip, which not only sounded like a ton of fun, but he did it solo. Two thumbs up! Later when I sent Larry a link to this blog, he sent me photos of his two Beemers. I wished I had asked permission to post them here--they are fine looking bikes, worthy of showing off. Nice chatting with Larry, who has his own stories of what it is like riding with long hair.
In case you aren't familiar with the term, gymkhana is believed to have originated in the Indian Subcontinent and other parts of Asia. According to Wikipedia, gymkhana "forms the core of a social and sporting club" in some Asian countries. Later, gymkhana came to represent competitive equestrian events in English speaking countries. Now, Gymkhana is often associated with any fun-sporting events with a rally and/or obstacle course activity. It can and often is competitive. Saturday's gymkhana, although competitive, was heaviest on the fun part.
The gymkhana was a hoot! I overhead someone jokingly remark that "whoever thought of this course had to have a strange sense of humor." Scooters maneuvered along an obstacle course that demonstrated their scooter skills, such as riding with one hand while trying to insert a flagpole--with flag on it--through one of several small openings in a wooden ladder-type structure. The traditional cone weave was replaced with cans of soda, which made for interesting squirt patterns and fizzing sounds when a can was inadvertently run over.
The course also tested rider tolerance. Near the end of the course, riders navigated their scooters inside two narrowly placed parallel sticks. While doing so, they were pelted with small blue and green sopping wet sponges and an occasional bucket of water. One could either see the water works as a refreshing way to end the course or a rite of passage. Perhaps, it was a bit of both.
Some cyclists took the ending ritual in stride, buzzing through the water station as quickly as possible, head tucked and protected by helmet and the occasional jacket. Some yelled back and questioned the sanity of the water-happy throwers. A few less intrepid riders cleverly averted the full force of the throwers by making a wide left detour, which only resulted in them getting slightly less wet and missing only some of the sponge pelting. I hope it was as much fun for the participants as it was for the onlookers.
All this made me think about owning a scooter. But then, I think the fun of this gathering was the camaraderie shared among each other. Ok, so maybe this isn't my kind of thing but I wonder if solo scooter riding is the same as solo motorcycle riding? Well, perhaps I'll save the scooter riding until I'm too old to throw a leg over a 31 inches seat height bike. But if I do ever own a scooter, I want it purple with fringes hanging from the ends of the handlebar on with a sidecar to carry Bessie, the Jack Russell terrier I'm going to own one day, and a 650cc displacement so I can still travel near and far.
Part II--Queenie blows a fuse... (to be continued)