Thursday, March 5, 2009

Darn Me Anyway!

For 19 years the Mrs. and I shared a car. I worked a block from where we live and walked there and back just about every day. She had two years of college to finish when we got married and then worked farther from the house than I did, so most of the time she had the car. My dad did a lot of running around with us and for us during those years, especially with the girls, and I spent much of my free time sitting around the house because of not being able to get around. I think some of the joy riding I do, even on the scooter, is still in making up for all those years of being house bound.

The first car I owned that was all my own is still the one I drive - a Neon. Like my bike, there's nothing fancy or pretentious about it. It's a good little car, it gets me to all the places I want or need to be, and it maneuvers nearly as easily as the BV. I don't typically think of it as "the cage" because even though I prefer taking the scooter to wherever I can, I like the Neon!

I was out a few evenings ago just killing some time when I noticed that a few cars were building up behind me because I had no particular place to go and all the time in the world to get there. I looked down at the speedometer and noted that I was cruising a few miles per hour below the posted limit. I really didn't care if a few of the folks behind me were speed demons or persons who should have left a bit earlier for their destinations. I was rolling along comfortably and enjoyably and I wasn't about to go any faster.

As I became more conscious of the fact that I was moving along relatively slowly I came to a realization that left me with some food for future thought. What I realized was that if I were on the scooter going the same speed and noted that some cars were trailing me, I'd have increased my speed at least to the speed limit and maybe even a little more, and it disturbed me just a tad because I'm not generally very concerned about what others might think about me. Maybe that tendency to speed up is because of the time I spent on the Fly50 when I couldn't go faster than 40 mph except down a significant grade, and even then not much faster, that I'm self conscious in thinking that the guy behind me might think that I can't go any faster if I'm slugging along. Or, perhaps, it's because of feeling more vulnerable on the scooter if I think the guy trailing me might get impatient and do something stupid that tends to get me moving faster - sometimes even when conditions are such that I'm pushing myself outside of my own comfort zone.

I lament from time to time that I miss the slow speed that the 50cc engine demanded even as I realize that much of the time I'm allowing the guy behind me to set my pace when I'd rather be moving along a little slower either by choice or out of a sense of prudence. Maybe when the weather finally breaks and I'm out every day I'll need to work on that. I do miss smelling the roses when I'm flying past the bushes.


Paul said...

I have the same tendency while on my scooter. When I'm in my car, I take it slow. When I'm on the scoot, I'm ususally doing at least 5 over the limit.

Honestly, it's due to a fear that the guy behind me is going to try to pass illegaly or get way to close to my rear fender.

Of course, my scooter is more maneuverable than my car and corners much better, so I don't feel that the risk to myself is as great from speeding a little on the scoot as it would be in the car.

bobskoot said...

I have gotten into the habit of driving "scooter" speed while in the car, especially over bridges or through tunnels. Also if I come across a scooterist "in front of me" I will often hang back a little (to give them breathing room) and to protect their rear. If they are riding a smaller scoot I will reduce speed as they reduce speed. I am sure that they appreciate the gesture even though they don't know me or why I am doing it.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Baron's Life said...

Yeah speed isn't everything...we need to take the time to enjoy life, the scenery and as you beutifully put it...smell the roses. Life's too short as it why rush to get nowhere?

irondad said...

I vote for self preservation. That tailgating car can look mighty big in the sideview mirrors!

It's your problem to get yourself safely from place to place. It's not your problem to worry about the other cars. Easier said than done, of course.