Why I Love my Scooter and Think Everyone Should Have One

This Friday Fave focuses on my fave of all faves… my scooter… affectionately dubbed “tuk-tuk” after the three-wheeled motorized rickshaws of Thailand.

I was going to title this post “Why I Love my Scooter…Let me Count the Ways,” but decided that was way too cliche, and I’m also not really counting. I’m simply listing the top reasons I think we should and will see more of these small, adorable, two-wheeled vehicles on the streets! Aside from their generally acknowledged cool-ness, there are other very tangible benefits to owning of these alternatives to a car.

Fun. Seriously fun. My 50cc maxes out at about 37 mph, but that doesn’t stop me from grinning through a swooping turn and getting a kick out of myself putt-putting up Pittsburgh’s hills (sorry if you’ve ever been stuck behind me on South Negley!).  But you get to look at the world (and feel it!) without a sheet of glass shielding your view.

Eco friendly.  I live about 1 mile or less from 4 grocery stores, a Target, my yoga studio, the place I volunteer every Friday, and dozens of restaurants. Driving my car to these places elicits a fair amount of guilt. Biking isn’t always practical. But taking my scooter is a sound choice most of the year. It’s quick, I can fit bags on/in it, and it gets…wait for it… 100 miles per gallon.  Some get close to 150, and you can find a bunch of electric models around now!

Park anywhere. In this city at least, we haven’t quite caught on to the just-park-on-the-sidewalk mentality of many countries, but regardless of that, you never have to worry about parking. Don’t want to take up a full spot in a crowded parking lot? Park next to a pole, next to the bike racks, share a space with another motorcycle, or pull up at the end of a row. (So far, I’ve never been ticketed, towed, or otherwise reprimanded for any of these things…) On the street, find a space between a pair of cars that are far enough apart to not run into you when they pull out, but too close to allow another car to squeeze in. You may even find that your city has designated motorcycle parking spots, or that you can park in lots for cheap or free. The handful of times I’ve had to park downtown, I’ve found whichever lots where closest my destination and have never had to pay full price to park in any of them!

Community. On any given week, I have approximately 4 interactions that are a direct result of me being on a scooter. These range from the “Hey, can I get a ride” jokes, to head nods from dudes on Harleys, to the more earnest questions about where I got it, how much it was, and how many miles I get to the gallon. Sitting in downtown traffic a few weeks, I had a full five-minute conversation with a woman waiting for a bus who was sincerely trying to figure out if she should get one.  Then there was the fireman I chatted with while he stood in the middle of the road during the local  boot drive. And the bouquet I was handed last week by the flower vendors who frequent the 16th Street Bridge!  These little interactions are the biggest reason I love being out in the open instead of closed up in a box of glass and steel and have given me many different perspectives of my community.

And lastly…

Low cost. This could actually be broken out into multiple points, since these things are cheap on so many levels – gas, insurance, purchase price, maintenance.  So cheap, in fact, that to operate my scooter for one season (April through early November) it costsless than half of what it takes to own my car for one month.  Part of the difference comes from my hefty car payment at the moment, whereas my scooter is owned outright. Take away that monthly payment, though, and it costs the same for one year of the scooter as it does for one month of the car!  (So why do you own a car? you may be asking… Well, I ask myself that all the time…)

So there they are, the reasons you should own a scooter.  Maybe you have one already, but if you don’t, I expect to see you zipping around town by next June!  🙂

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3 Comments

  1. Melissa

     /  September 16, 2011

    Ummmm…want.

    Reply
  2. I had a scooter in Seattle. I loved it, and I miss it; especially in the summer here. Winter – not so much.

    Reply
  1. National Bike to Work Day and a Little Speech I Gave « The Back Patio

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