Scooter Girl 411: The Addiction of Scooter Mods

ORIGINAL CONTENT

One knows when spring is here based on two things – #1 all the blooming buds on trees, flowers, grass and #2 the insatiable urge to ride or get one, whether it be a motorcycle, trike, or scooter.

Perhaps one of the best part of owning a scooter is the ability to customize it and like tattoos, once you start, it’s difficult to stop.

My inspiration was an orange Vespa, complete with racing stripes and white wall tires. I absolutely adore the vintage look of Vespas but I am much too petite to ever ride one, much too poor to ever afford one, and THIS is probably the only Vespa I will ever be able to ride. 🙂

Many of the customizations on my Genuine Buddy 125 I was able to do myself accompanied by hours of YouTube videos. It made me feel rather mechanically inclined … which I am not. LOL

The absolute first thing I did was to model my plain orange Buddy with a combination of car decal stripes and reflective tape from Amazon. It was a very inexpensive mod which made an immediate WOW impact. The first thing I changed which required a screwdriver, was out of necessity rather than esthetics. The stock Genuine Buddy seat is very stiff and unforgiving. Since I only have a 27″ inseam, I took the opportunity of swapping out the seat for the low profile seat which reduced the seat height (inseam) by a good inch or so. One of the down side is that with the lower seat, some under seat storage is lost.

The second item I replaced was also out of necessity – the stock rear shocks is brutally unforgiving and the ride can be compared to bouncing on a cement bench, feeling every nuke and cranny of the road. It was so severe that for the first time in my life I had lower back pain after a longer ride. I installed the NCY Adjustable Lower Rear Shocks which lowered the seat height by an additional inch or so. Being able to comfortably rest both feet at a full stop is a luxury fun-size riders really have to work for, not only for safety reasons but to increase overall confidence. However, one of the downfall of the lower shocks is that I can no longer sustain enough leverage to use the center stand which is a bit of a bummer. The other downfall is that I didn’t do enough research and made a costly mistake. I’ve now learned that when one installs the lower rear shocks, one has to remove the rear fender. Otherwise the rear fender will consistently knock against the fuel tank and eventually crack it right where the petcock connects causing the need for the entire fuel tank to be replaced. VERY expensive mistake. I also opted for a new set of Prima white wall tires which I felt not only improved ride quality and control on turns, but it completed the retro look.

The third item I added was a wind screen which I initially did not want. Being a petite rider (under 4′ and flirting near 100 lbs) I needed a wind screen to help stabilize the scooter at higher speeds and winds. Otherwise, the front wheel at higher speeds felt like it was floating on the road and a good stiff breeze would be able to blow the scooter right out from under me – which is not a fun feeling for a new rider. I did have to change the wind screen to a shorter, sportier model so that I am not looking through two layers (face shield & wind screen).

Perhaps one of the most functional additions was the rear rack. With a few bungie cords I have carried dinners, brownies, tripod, and many other things which cannot fit under the seat storage. And I think the chrome is just more snazzy looking. The other fun & fairly inexpensive ways to get a new look are seat covers. Suzy from Cheeky Seats is wonderful to work with and has an amazing assortment of fabrics. I have two vinyl ones and will be purchasing a third in carbon fiber. It will be awesome.

And if all that wasn’t enough customization, I even customized my helmet! After years of nagging from the Hubs, I finally retired my first helmet, the AFX-76 3/4 with a Biltwell bubble face shield in smoke. It protected me well enough but every once in awhile a small pebble sneaks up and projectiles onto my chin which at 45+ mph doesn’t feel all that great. Since I have such an obscenely round head, my choices for a full helmet was quite limited. I ended up with an Arai Quantum-X with the Aria Vas V-Pro face shield in dark smoke. Again, with both helmets I used a variety of car-grade decal stripes, reflective tape, and car decals to make it my own. I am most happy with how nicely the Hello Kitty turned out.

I am considering in replacing the front performance forks to further enhance the ride but that will be an investment for another day.

Scooter Girl 411: International Female Ride Day

Original Content

I was perusing Revzilla for a new helmet during lunch at work and I came across the below ad.

Revzilla Gear Geeks

My curiosity was instantly peaked. After some research, I discovered that every year on the first Saturday of May, female riders from all over the world get out on their “powered two-wheeled vehicle” and take the roads by storm. It’s a wonderful form of uniting a minority group in a male dominated activity.

Having been snubbed by local female cruiser riders, I had a refrained enthusiasm until I read Motoress’ Q&A (which can be found HERE).

I own and ride a scooter, can I also take part in the day?

  • Yes! Officially, a scooter is a “powered two-wheeled vehicle” thus a motorcycle. We see scooters as simply another style of motorcycling – just as in shoes where you have stilettos, boots, runners, hiking boots and so forth. So yes, please join women around the world and JUST RIDE!

I was thrilled because this inclusiveness is what I had always envisioned the riding community would be, should be. The inclusiveness acknowledges that all who risks bodily injury on a motorized two-wheeled vehicles are equals – in that we all commit in taking that same risk.

So here’s to you Vicki Gray, the brain child who started all this. Mark your calendars ladies, get out there & “just ride!”

2018-InternationalFemaleRideDayLogo-white-600w

International Female Ride Day History

2018 International Female Ride Day Merchandise

2018 International Female Ride Day Celebration Tips

 

Scooter Girl 411: First Love

Original Content

The sound of the wind rushing from under the face shield muffled the low, smooth whine of the 50 cc engine. It was still early enough for a crispness to linger in the morning air, before the grueling Midwest summer humidity took over. I meticulously scan the road ahead and relish in a sense of unadulterated freedom riding my Honda Metropolitan. There was just something extraordinarily fun riding a scooter. There was just something about having nothing but two wheels and a motor which separated me from the road brings about a sense of vitality and unexplained joy. It is one of those odd, acquired taste which is impossible to explain to someone who absolutely have no interest in riding.

The fun. The thrill. The undeniable vintage coolness of being on a scooter was sparked when I was just a tween binge watching old black & white movies on the television. The 1953 classic, Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck was the movie that forever changed my life. Scootering was probably my very first true love. No amount of words can describe the childlike wonder and delight on her face. Perhaps it is magic. Perhaps it is a death wish. But I am willing to wager that one would be hard-pressed to find a scooter rider without a smile on their happy little faces.

Perhaps it is just a cult phenomena like Jeep or Mini Cooper. Regardless, I am a fan. Always have been, always will be. I think Robert M. Pirsig said it best in his book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values.

In a car you’re always in a compartment, and because you’re used to it you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.

On a cycle the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.

hepburn-vespa-roman-holiday(Thanks Seth from Metro Scooters for the quote)

There may be some truth to being in the world, without being separated from it by a couple thousand pounds of metal and plastic. Granted Pirsig was referring to motorcycles specifically but I think the direct connect with all that is around us can easily be applied to scooter riders as well.

The last time I was on a scooter it was the late 1980s. My love for scooters never completely died, but it never was quite enough to do anything about it either. With two little ones, it was difficult to prioritize a want over a need.

It wasn’t until I was riding on the Hubs’ new (to him) 650 cc motorcycle that the sense of uninhibited freedom came flooding back to me. This year, the scooter fever took hold of me by both shoulders and gave me a good shake. The kiddos are on the verge of being adults and all the stars seemed to be aligned, beckoning me to the open road once again. So after over a 30+ year break, I bought another scooter.

I researched for over 3 years and I settled on a Genuine Buddy 125. *swoons* Yea, that’s mine!

(Thank you Caitlin from Capital City Scooters for the awesome new ride)

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My hope is to share with anyone reading is bits of discoveries and ah-ha’s that I have uncovered through a lot of research and trails & errors.

I  would like to post a Scooter Girl 411 on Mondays but the frequency is still to be determined – why? Because it’s riding season silly! SO please subscribe to get auto updates.

Until next time – zoom zoom 🛵 👧🏻