Tuesday, January 15, 2008

People who need People

Well, I've gone and done it...

Yup, I've got me a scooter. I have not allowed myself the WOO-HOO elation as yet because I still don't have a helmet or the
M(otorcycle) endorsement for my driver's license. As a matter of fact, my brand new Kymco People 150 has been sitting in my garage, completely out of gas since I purchased it a week ago. I've gotten insurance and yesterday, I finally registered it and got a license plate (2991ZT). The reason I don't yet have a helmet is that I have a really small head. I was not aware of my head size as being a problem until I tried to buy a helmet. The friendly man, James, at East Side Scooters had to order a large child's size helmet (color: Black)for my teeny little head. I also have a Corazzo motorcycle jacket on order in my size (color: Black) made out of Kevlar so I can be shot in the shoulder while riding to no more ill effect than a nasty bruise (the latest in safety for motorcycle riding is to line the points of impact in a crash with the same stuff used for bullet-proof vests used by police. My back and shoulders will be covered by the ultimate shoulder pads). I also have a huge top case on order for me to carry all my work-related gear around with me.

So, what does it look like? Taa-daa:

(yeah, I know I'm a total nerd)

The color is a nice mint green. I thought I'd be able to go pick up my helmet today but no such luck. I'm trying to maintain my cool about this delay but I may run out of cool soon and just go ride it around the yard with no helmet (bad example!!). I was going to take the motorcycle safety riding course as my means of getting licensed but it's apparently not going to be offered until sometime in March so I guess I'll have to go to the DMV and take the road test.

And how, you may ask, am I justifying this purchase? Well, I've got a new work project coming up next month (federal survey of commercial building energy consumption patterns). Because I'll be working with people at their businesses I'll be working mainly M-F 9-5. All my previous work projects have involved locating respondents in their homes so the hours have been generally evenings and weekends and Hammy and I could share the car. This time, I'd have to drive him to work every day or borrow my dad's truck. This scooter gets 84 miles to the gallon. My dad's truck gets around 23 and Hammy's car gets around 27. I get $.50 a mile in reimbursement and drive an average of 300 miles each week for the first 20 weeks of a new project. I've been hired to work this project and then a Science Foundation project in April (the two projects will overlap for 6-8 weeks so I'll be working 40 hours during that time). The scoot will quickly pay for itself over the next 6 months. The People 150 is gas powered but it is one of the cleanest burning bikes available. I will be having a much smaller impact on the environment riding than I would if I were driving.

I am happy to finally have a scooter but I also feel really good about how it will help me reduce my environmental "footprint". I've been perplexed about how to reduce the impact of how much I am required to drive for my job. Quitting wouldn't help because they would just hire someone else to do the job; someone who would not know the area as well and so would work less efficiently, thus would drive more. Driving a scooter is the best compromise I can come up with until Nashville improves it's bus system. And it's going to be so much fun!!!


Anonymous said...

How can you get "puffed up" with such a little head? :-)

Friendly Mama said...

Hey! Maybe you're onto something. Maybe if I let myself get puffed up, I'd get the big head, which would be more "normal" sized.