Thursday, October 22, 2009

All In the Family

I mentioned earlier that the first motorized vehicle I ever operated, at 12 years-old, was a Sears Moped. From there I graduated to a Cushman Eagle, then a Honda 65 [which I crashed] and a 90cc Suzuki Step-Through, which I rented for a day [I was 16 at the time]. The first bike I owned was a Honda 305 Scrambler. Since then I've owned over 50 motorcycles and having worked at a motorcycle dealership for 10 years, probably ridden 1,000. It's safe to say that I've thrown a leg over nearly every imaginable configuration from old Harley Police trikes to full-on Choppers, to sport bikes, road bikes, dirt bikes, and cruisers. I love to ride. And I don't much care what it is that I'm riding.

Riding the Piaggio MP3 has been an education in both the tightness of the motorcycling/scootering communities and the wideness of the gap between the various elements of that same community. At some level I suppose I knew that, but riding the MP3 has really put it under a bright light.

Anyone who has ever ridden knows about the "Rider Wave". As long as I've ridden I've always made it a point to wave at other cyclist, irrespective of brand or style of bike. My wave was a raised left hand. At some point the wave became something like a "Low Five". I think it started with the Harley riders but has become pretty much universal.

So now I give the low wave to everyone. But not everyone waves back. And depending on what I'm riding I can almost predict who will wave. If I'm on my BMW R1150R, a big "naked" road bike, nearly everyone waves back. Even the Harley and Gold Wing riders give a - sometimes begrudging - wave.

If I'm riding the GS, with the high front fender and off-road look, then I'll nearly never get a wave from the Harley or Sport Bike riders. It's just too big a gap. If I'm on the BMW650CS, a somewhat odd looking street bike, only the BMW riders wave.

If I'm on the Piaggio MP3, though, I get near universal acknowledgment. I didn't expect that. I thought there'd be a sort of elitist attitude among the two-wheelers. Quite the contrary. Big Bike riders, sport bike guys in tight leather outfits, cruisers folks with fringe leather jackets, and the BMW crowd in their Aerostich Darien jackets wave. And they smile.

That's, maybe, the greatest part of riding the MP3. It makes me, and everyone I encounter, smile. What's better than that??


Misty said...

OH. I'm envious. I can't come up with a viable reason to get a scooter yet, because I have so much stuff to haul around because of my work, but as soon as I do...lookout. There's a pink scooter somewhere with my name on it!

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