For anyone who rides a scooter or motorcycle there’s probably nothing here you don’t already know. So turn off the computer, get up, and go for a ride. But if you’re new to the riding life, or in that luscious world of dreams and fantasy filled with two-wheeled lies and adventure, then maybe you might want to read on.
Tucked and harnessed safely in an automobile, or warm and cozy at home on the couch with the television on, the world is absolutely under control, predictable and at my back and call. I am master of my universe.
And it’s all a lie. Slowly the rules creep in, those quiet expectations of shiny floors, freshly painted walls, lush green lawns and polite behavior. And one morning, quiet without a care in the world, you’ll realize you’re enslaved to things you never agreed to.
There are no absolutes in life save death. And this scene may blessedly never visit upon you. For me, as I learned to wake up and pay attention, things didn’t always make sense. The pressure to stay asleep is strong and I need help. A spouse light years ahead of me on this path is a gift. The camera helps me pay attention. A pen and journal demands thought. Writing on Scooter in the Sticks allows me to abandon silence and to give testimony that there are other paths.
What does this have to do with riding a Vespa?
Last weekend I was on the road to nowhere, standing along Interstate 99 wondering where I was going and feeling a bit anxious at the uncertainty. And then, alone for a moment with no rules or expectations I realized what a servant I am to the machinations of the world. What does this have to do with riding a Vespa? It provides a platform to escape, if only for a moment, and question everything you believe to be true.
At least for me. It’s the gift that matters when I think about riding — scooter or motorcycle. Fun, recreation, relaxation, friendship, adventure — they’re just minor side effects of a bigger experience.
I won’t forget this day.
Seventy-five miles per hour. All day long if necessary. Fast enough for anywhere in America.
South on Interstate 99. I knew that much. My brain was scrambling for order. Go home. Ride to Virginia. Visit the in-laws in Altoona. The cacophony of ideas in my head was breathtaking. I stopped so I wouldn’t hurt myself from inattention to the road and not any desire to photograph the scooter along the freeway. It took five minutes of cerebral discord before I felt comfortable riding on.
This never happens in the car. I’m certain the military-industrial complex under direction of the Trilateral Commission has probably impregnated the cabins with chemicals to suppress thought and ensure a compliant world.
There is no such effect riding a scooter or motorcycle.
Hunger brought me to Tyrone as I left home without breakfast. The local fire company was raising the red, white and blue in preparation of a parade. After a momentary pause I left town and the gathering crowd for something more quiet.
Unless you’re a daily commuter or use your scooter or motorcycle for chores, when you get on you will only take with you the demands you place on yourself. Riding offers choices.Spo
By 10am it was already hot and found me searching for shade more than destination. Any earlier anxiety regarding the ride was gone now as I fell in step with the rhythm of exploration, choosing the roads and paths that remain invisible from the task oriented automobile.
“I wonder where that goes?” my motto for the day, I believe I could ride forever.
I’ve always wanted to walk across this bridge and think about it every time I ride by. That thought never happened once in the car. All I think about passing through here is getting home. Point A to point B.
Maybe if I had a Ferrari it would be different. My friend Paul has a Ferrari. He seldom takes it out on the road so my guess is it would make no difference.
Parked at a private crossing of the main railroad line between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and points west. It’s down to two tracks now, a sad testament to short-sighted vision of leaders in this country. I waited for awhile in hopes that a train would pass, thought of putting a penny on the track one last time, but after fifteen minutes the heat pushed me on my way.
Riding a Vespa has revealed an endless opportunity for experience — ones more in line with magical discoveries from childhood than those available to “adults”.
Have you ever put a penny on a railroad track?
There’s a spider network of country roads in central Pennsylvania that meander under the trees and along creeks that makes riding almost a guilty pleasure. It surprises me though how few motorcycles I ever see on these secondary to secondary roads. Could it be that riders prefer traveling at 55mph and above over the arcadian pleasures on these little roads?
While writing this post (at the Pump Station) a large cadre of motorcycles roared by. They had either been on PA 45 or US322, both a bore in my opinion for riding a motorcycle. But you can go fast. I suppose that counts for something.
I know it doesn’t go forever but what a fantasy. I have my fingers crossed for a lot more time wandering the world on two-wheels. The accumulated memories will fuel the days when the scooter no longer leaves the garage. Riding a Vespa scooter has taught me a lot about myself and life. But perhaps the most important lesson it it’s ability to generate meaningful memories. And with no need to engage a transcontinental trip to do it.
I’ll admit to a level of advantage due to location…
Seems I’m never far from the unpaved road. I remember the first time I rode my Vespa LX150 in gravel — not the most comforting feeling, especially in the loose stuff. Over time, with experience, both comfort level and velocity increased. With so many unpaved roads in Pennsylvania it just seems a shame not to take advantage of their secrets.
Hunger finally got the best of me and I stopped to eat the sandwich I’d picked up earlier in the day. Nothing like eating in the shade of hemlocks to the rippling sounds of a creek. As I write this I continue to wonder at the hundreds of thousands of miles I’ve clocked in an automobile and have no memory of ever doing this.
Have I wasted my life in the cage?
Experienced riders know the answer. If you’re new or dreaming, you’ll have to work out the answer yourself. No one can answer for you.
It’s all part of the ride — questioning, experience, memories and more.