Today is cause for celebration in my little world. This past month I clocked 10,000 miles on my Buddy 125 Italia scooter. I decided it was time for a little makeover... a new front whitewall tire, new grips (apparently my hands are quite dirty when I drive!?), new floormat, and time for an oil change.
The timing of this is perfect in that within a few days I also mark one year without a car!
I know I am redundant in recounting the many perks I see to living this way, but here are some ones I have noticed recently:
- This will mean most to locals... but I drive to Westmont once a week now to meet with students and staff. In a car I would take the freeway to get there; but on my scooter I take Foothill to APS, where I get a 270 degree view of Santa Barbara, the harbor and the Mesa. You make the call -- which drive is prettier!?
- It costs me $4.57 to fill up right now. (Should I mention that includes the fact that I gas up on premium?) I spend about $15/month on gas.
- Driving a scooter is a social experience. A week does not go by where someone doesn't talk to me at stoplights. Windows roll down and people chat with me... pedestrians at street corners talk about weather or how cute my bike looks... and my favorite is Harley riders, who give me a familiar head flick as I drive past them, or even better, two fingers down...
- I really do think transportation alternatives like this are part of the future. I heard a crazy statistic today on NPR: From 1975 to the present (36 years), 1.5 million people have died in car accidents. From 1775 to the present (236 years), 1.3 million Americans have died in warfare.
- Buddy keeps me living a simpler lifestyle. I cannot carry as much on it, so trips to Costco and the grocery store are cheaper, and impulse purchases are greatly minimized, since I always have to pause to consider whether I can transport it home. Granted, I may lack the imagination of scooter riders in foreign lands, but for me, I like the way I am forced to pause before I spend mo' money.
I cannot end this post without thanking the friends who help to make it work for me to own the Buddy... most significantly my housemate, who allows me to borrow her car a couple of times a month on rainy days or for late night meetings, and gives me rides from time to time. But also other friends who have taken me to and from the train station or to work, or have been willing to adjust social plans because of my self-imposed transportation options.
It's a good time I tell you. I just noticed, as I was leaving the Kawasaki dealer who sold me the Buddy and services it, that there is a new green Italia 150 for sale right now for only $2600. That is a steal. If I were you, I'd sure jump on it!