Monday, April 8, 2013
The "Misunderstood" 49cc Scoot
I've been riding a 49cc scooter since June of 2007. That's almost 6 years.
And one thing that I know for certain is that the little 49cc scoots are misunderstood.
Misunderstood in that many people start out on them and then curse them that they won't go any faster than about a tad over 40 mph! The "woe is me" starts in at about the third month of steady riding when the owner is now gaining confidence and starting to want to get from point A to point B in a more efficient, i.e., speedier manner!
Oh,I get it. I did that too. Sort of. Or better put, "at times".
I was really one to never BE in a hurry when I was riding my scoot on the rural back roads because I was content to just amble along and look out over the pastures, fields, and woodlands and watch the cows, ponds, and other stuff go by SLOWLY.
I was a "Sunday driver" kind of scooterist, you could say. No hurry, no worries.
Then I began to use my scooter to commute to a job out there in the country in 2008 and I wanted it to go FASTER in order to not delay my arrival at work.
Now, 40 mph on a 49cc Ruckus "feels like" 70 mph in a car. Or at least it did to me. I'd arrive at work with my entire body tingling from adrenaline and my eyes wide as saucers. I'll have to admit it was not a fun ride. It seemed to take forever and felt too manic to me.
What was the point of arriving with your nerves a-jangle and your hair mashed flat? None that I could see.
The only "plus" to commuting was the ride home, which was a bit more relaxed, though I still wanted to just get home.
So I began to lust for a bigger scooter, but really, out in the country, my rides were "stop and smell the roses" rides and 49cc was just fine with me. Small enough to be fun, quick enough to be thrilling, and slow enough to allow me to stop and take photos or just ramble lazily through the countryside on back roads.
I always said, "I ride my scooter LIKE a bicycle". Meaning I kept it "hi viz" with a flag and neon yellow accents and I kept to the side of the road when cars did show up on a lonely back road.
In the villages I'd ride it with traffic in the lanes that did not exceed 40 mph. It worked out fine.
Now I'm in the burbs and I STILL think the 49cc scooter has a place in my riding here. But it is vital to realize that it's place is unique and that it cannot and will not compare to a 125cc or bigger scooter in it's purpose or it's function. due to the dangers of suburban and urban riding.
49cc scoots are not meant to ride on highways obviously, but that does not make them less of a machine to enjoy. They excel at tooling around town on errands, at rambling through neighborhoods and suburban green areas, and at scooting out onto local back roads in the rural areas that back up to the burbs.
Once you fall in love with the ride and handling of a 49cc, it is hard to give it up completely. I don't think I could. I did once, and I had to get it back.
It is just something that I enjoy beyond any other type of riding. And yes, I've ridden a 500cc motorcycle in my "yute", so I know somewhat of what I speak.
Riding the 49cc scooter "like a bike" protects you from crazy drivers in that you are prepared like a touring cyclist with hi viz gear and riding habits and routes customized to what your scooter/bike can handle.
This is all about safety and entails picking and choosing limited routes around the area, but it's worth it to me to take side streets and such.
It might even entail loading up the 49cc scooter and driving out somewhere that is scenic and less hectic and unloading it for a day of back road scooting. I am seriously considering purchasing one of these utility racks to go on my hitch receiver so that I can haul my scooter to quiet scenic places away from heavy traffic a la burbs.
Owning and riding the 49cc scooter requires advance route planning and a focus on safety that goes beyond even the considerations of a bigger scooter that rides in with traffic on a regular basis.
Once I get my bigger scooter I will do adapt to that sort of route planning and mindset.
In the meantime I will ride my little charmer where I can and enjoy the special pleasures of riding a 49cc in quiet neighborhoods and along hidden back roads, all decked out in neon yellow and obnoxious orange.
Whatever it takes to be seen.
Just like a touring bicyclist would, yellow triangle and all.
(scooter photo courtesy of Honda Powersports)