Archive for scooters

Catching up

Ellen and Kyre’s Wedding

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, I guess because this has been a really busy few weeks. In the last few weeks we’ve traveled out of town two weekend in a row, had lovely house guests, sold a scooter and bought a new one, and both of us have had changes to our jobs. There’s just been a tremendous amount of stuff going on.

But now I’m back on track and posting again. And I realize the thing I really should have posted here are that our (legal) wedding pictures are up on Flickr. Many thanks to Xande, who did a such a great job.

The high price of gas

This morning I stopped on the way to work to fill up my scooter and gas was a whopping $4.699 a gallon, making this my most expensive fill-up to date – $7.32 cents.

I can’t even imagine how I’d feel if I’d filled up my old Volvo V70 this morning. I’m sure I would have paid over $60. I miss having a car sometimes, but right now, it’s easy to be pretty psyched about not having one.

I’m seeing a lot of Smart cars these days. Walking home from work on Wednesday, I saw three. Two in Hayes Valley:

and then in the Mission:

These theoretically get somewhere in the 33-40 MPG range in the city, so the scooter is still a better bet … but they’re interesting. And relatively cheap – $12-$18K. I don’t have one on my list of things to buy, though — I’m happy with my scooter-plus-Zipcar lifestyle for now.

Gas isn’t the only thing I bought today. I also bought a marriage license. But more on that later.

Scooter averages and milestones

A couple of Flys

A few weekends ago the odometer on my scooter rolled over to 1,000 miles. I’ve owned the bike since the end of May 2007, so I’m obviously going to be well below the 1800 miles per year that I’ve read folks put on their scooters on average.

However, I feel like 1000 miles of riding means I’m no longer a complete newbie, since the form I filled out when I took California Motorcycle Safety Class told me that a beginning rider was someone who had ridden less than 500 miles. With the passage of this 1K milestone, I’ve pledged to learn how to ride around with someone on the back of my scooter now. This would be a very handy skill to have … but I plan to approach it carefully and expect a learning curve. K and I just need to go out and practice.

It’s been a long time since I’ve given you a MPG update, and it’s stayed pretty much the same – I’m still getting 50 miles per gallon. I’ve actually now read that 50 mpg is almost exactly average for a motorcycle-type engine, and considering that I’m riding in city traffic 100 percent of the time, it’s pretty darn good.

And, with only two more months to go in my first year of ownership, I’m on track to spend less than $100 a year on gas for my scooter. Not too shabby – especially since I recently spent more than $100 on gas in just a week driving around in Houston in an SUV.

Scooterin’ SF

K. rides off to work for the first time

K. rode to work on her scooter for the first time on Thursday last week, making her an official scooter commuter. Then, this weekend, we took our first ride together — we scooted over to The Haight for lunch at Massawa on Saturday. I’m still looking forward to being ready to carry a passenger, but we had a lot of fun riding our two scooters simultaneously. We were a gang of two. It gives you a real feeling of freedom to think that you can go to the museum and it won’t take you more than an hour to get there. And it was a beautiful weekend for a ride.

Bringing home the kibble

Yesterday I got my for-real M1 motorcycle endorsement, making me a 100-percent-legal scooter driver. I’m now allowed to carry passengers, and I haven’t done that yet, but I did try carrying home a 36-pound bag of dog food yesterday. That’s kind of like carrying a passenger, albeit a very small one with no muscle control. I used bungees to strap it to the bag hook under my seat and set it where my feet would usually go. I had to put my feet on the little passenger foot spots. This seems to work fine, as long as I don’t try to park and dismount on a hill; I also only really have to go about half a mile like this.

I’m also legal to drive at night now, so I did, meeting K. out at We Be Sushi for dinner.

Today K. got her license too, and is talking to insurance folks about getting her scooter all 100 percent legal. I expect she’ll be commuting to work on it by the end of the week.

Another good thing that happened yesterday is that Haylee’s tests came back, and the growth on her toe is nothing serious. Whew.

Scooter mileage

So, I’m wondering if I’ve topped out at the best mileage I’ll get on my Fly. I guess I’ve expected it to be a little higher, but I’m not exactly disappointed. I’d like have amazing gas mileage, of course, to keep me from feeling guilty about driving a gas-powered vehicle at all, but I still feel pretty good.

I do know that having a scooter has given me a level of freedom in the city that I just wasn’t getting with busing, BARTing and biking, and now I’m completely addicted. On Saturday, for example, I went up to the Japanese Community Center on Sutter for a ukulele lesson. On public transit, that trip would have taken me 48 minutes. On my scooter, it took me less than 20.

K. and I completed California’s motorcycle safety class weekend before last. It’s the same as the Texas motorcycle safety class, except that it’s in California. Oh, and I didn’t crash. I’m scheduled to go get the M1 endorsement on my license, which will allow me to legally ride after sundown (nice), ride with a passenger (well, maybe after I get better at it), and ride on the freeway (no freakin’ way!). I think I’ll be able to opt for cheaper, better insurance coverage as well.

K. is now a scooter owner as well, although she hasn’t been able to ride her new scooter much, since she’s also still waiting on a license and insurance. She got a perfect score on her driving test during the safety class, kicking everyone’s butt, including mine. Soon she’ll be shortening her commute, which I think will be great for her.

Odometer at previous fill-up: 310
Odometer this fill-up: 389
Miles between fill-ups: 79
Gallons of gas put in tank: 1.647
Miles Per Gallon: 47.97
$$ spent: $4.81
Cost per mile: 6 cents

Mileage report. Yawn.

I’m not saying that thrill is gone, but will say that this mileage report is less exciting than any before it, mainly because it’s almost exactly the same as last time. I went the same number of miles between fill-ups, and I put in the same number of gallons of gas in the tank. No real fluctuations. Except for the price! Gas has dropped from $3.619 to $3.329 a gallon. I’d probably really care a lot about this if I owned a car, but I only saved 29 cents.

Odometer at previous fill-up: 232
Odometer this fill-up: 310
Miles between fill-ups: 78
Gallons of gas put in tank: 1.53
Miles Per Gallon: 50.88
$$ spent: $5.10
Cost per mile: 6 cents

Scooter mileage report

Posing on the Fly

So, my Fly is T.’s favorite color. No, no, he didn’t go riding on it — I’m a bit too risk averse for that sort of thing.

And, with that, it’s that time again — time for the scooter MPG report. And this time I’ve got good news; gas consumption is down. My mileage isn’t as good as what this guy claims he’s getting, but I’m happy to see it getting better nonetheless. Possible reasons for the up-tick? I did some long rides that weren’t commutes — less stop-and-go traffic equals better mileage, I assume. And, of course, I’m getting further into the break-in period for the engine.

The gritty details: My odometer read 232 when I pulled up to the pump, and I’d gone 78 miles since my last fill-up. I put in 1.53 gallons of gas at $3.619/gallon at the Valencia 76. That means I got a whopping 50.98 miles per gallon, up from 44.74 last fill-up. It also means I’m spending about $.07 a mile for gas.

That economy is good, because scooters do cost money. Today I paid $400 for the extended warranty (from 1 to 3 years), and K. and I have both signed up for the California motorcycle safety class at $235 each. And, of course, there’s the helmet, and the jackets, and the gloves … Still, all of this stuff together plus the scooter still hasn’t cost more than I got from the insurance company for my Volvo (R.I.P.).

Scooter MPG update

I know my subscribers out there (and, yes, there are subscribers) have been waiting breathlessly for my next scooter MPG update. Well, wait no longer, because I filled up yesterday.

At my last fill-up, my odometer was at 80; this time, I’m up to 154, so I went 74 miles between fill-ups. I put 1.654 gallons in the tank, so this time around I got 44.74 miles per gallon. It’s consistent, basically, with the gas mileage I got last time around.

The price of gas at the Valencia 76 station was $3.619 per gallon, and I spent a total of $5.99. At this MPG, I’m spending about eight cents a mile.

I do expect to get better and better gas mileage as the engine breaks in; the break-in period is, I believe 600 to 700 miles. I am optimistic! I just read an article about this here.


Last night my fuel light came on, so this morning I went and fueled up. This morning gas was $3.719 a gallon at the 76 Station on Valencia, and I put in 1.45 gallons, and spent $5.41. Actually pumping that amount of gas takes about 30 seconds. The odometer on the scooter is now at about 80 miles, so I think I’m getting about 48 MPG right now. This could go up as the engine gets broken in and as I learn to drive better. Of course, it’s already better gas mileage than my Volvo was getting (R.I.P.).

By the way, it looks like the Texas DPS might try to suspend the license of the woman who killed my lovely Volvo. They’ve asked for paperwork from me in support of that … which I’m happily providing.