I recently joined the few and the, err, insecure.... the scooter owners of America. I can’t really pinpoint why, but here, scooters aren’t considered the hippest of transportation options — even if they make the most environmental and economic sense. I have to admit that I even had reservations about owning one. It may have been due to living in the truck-centric South or just the fact that they don’t bow to the god of speed in the country that created car culture.
But after two months with my Buddy as my primary means of transportation, and a 90mpg average, I have no regrets. I’m further bolstered by the “normal-ness” of it I’ve witnessed in Europe and India. So normal in Paris that a sign had to be posted to keep visitors from taking them up the lift in the Eiffel Tower. I hate to think that we’re so macho that this very viable transportation is overlooked due to lack of “intimidation appeal”. And yet I confess that those reservations played a part in delaying my purchase. Even though they’re gaining in “hip factor”, it’s in the realm of Thom Yorke dancing rather than Johnny Cash singing — admiration rather than respect. Now, after joining "the club", I've discovered there's a code for cool versus lame among local scooter enthusiasts based upon make and model (even if more modern stylings have lower emissions). I guess some two-wheelers are sissier than others. God help us if our will to drive a cool vehicle is stronger than our will to cool the planet.