Sunday, December 03, 2006

Selling the Cage

How often have you thought about getting rid of the cage and living life solely on two-wheels? It's a nice fantasy but I wonder if it isn't something best left in the fantasy realm. It certainly would require commitment and patience. I've watched my annual mileage drop on my Ford Ranger to about 1000 miles per year from around 10,000 the year before acquiring the Vespa. If I absolutely had to I could survive with only the scooter relying on the bus for days too harsh or dangerous which is what I do now. Days I don't feel comfortable on the Vespa are the same sort of days the Ranger doesn't do well in either.

I got up this morning for a ride in the bright sunny 25° F morning. The wind was gone and the bright sun confused my brain into not thinking it was cold. This picture shows what a cageless world would look like for usually this place is lined with them.

From there out across the valley and smiling because the new mittens are keeping my hands toasty today at even lower temperatures than last weekend even with a stop to gaze at the sky.

A stop at one of the local car dealers just to scan the window stickers of the used cars was an eye opener. I tend to buy vehicles at ten-year intervals and don't look much in between. Our VW Jetta is 11 years old now but with only 89,000 miles we'll try and run it along for a few more years. Walking from one sticker to the next I choked at the prices for used, I mean pre-owned, vehicles. I didn't even venture to the new ones.

We have two vehicles plus the Vespa. I don't see us with zero cages but I can see scaling back to one. Since both are paid for and in good shape I'll hold onto both and make a final decision when the time comes to replace something. I do have dreams of saving that extra cash. And even if I do need a second cage, maybe I can opt for the 500-dollar beater. There is something romantic about driving a beater car, especially in these days of perfect shiny cages.


Bill Sommers said...

Ahhhh...the beater. My beat up, crusty old Chevy Citation cost me two hundred dollars. I bought it for the "just in case" days when riding wasn't an option. And it's done well for the very few times that I pressed it into service.

This is not a bad idea. My logic was, that if I could purchase a car, and not impact the family fund by incurring loan payments, then I'll come out ahead. And what the heck, if I end up with a maintenance problem, then at least my investment was minimal.

And it has a Radio Shack cassette tape deck!
Have fun,

Eldercattus said...

We have 2 scooters (my wife's Kymco 250 & my Burgman 650), plus a Ford Focus station wagon that was an off-lease purchase. Since we're both 'DINKS on FIRE' (double income, no kids, financially independent, retired early), that's all we need. I donated my own car when I retired.

Realistically, we both know there are time when having 4 wheels on the ground will keep us going when 2 wheels won't. That heater is good in the winter and the AC is nice in the summer. Ditto the CD player, and the ability to pull over somewhere and nap, protected from the elements and bad guys. So are overnight trips to various places, with luggage. And I can carry 2x4s and cement in the cage, but not on the scooter.

Paul said...

Hey Steve. Would you put this link to my scooter page please?

Combatscoot said...

I have found out first-hand what a cage-free household is about already! We bought a Hyundai Accent back when I was making the big bucks as a motorcycle tech. After the third layoff in a year, I decided to find another vocation, so now I am in school and my wife works fast-food at minimum wage. She hit a deer on the way home one day, and we had to use the insurance money to pay rent. So, now the car sits. The wife rides her mountain bike to work and back. Now, we cannot make the payments on the Hyundai or keep insurance on it, so it most-likely will be repo'd soon. Nothing I can do about it until I get out of school and start earning decent wages. The wife wants a scooter, so we may not return to having a cage.

Lucky said...

We own a car, but it's mainly used by my wife. I'd had a car of my own (the Rat-Buick), but it died from lack of use and old age, so I had it hauled away.

I use the car when I need to carry more than I can reasonably handle on my bike. Otherwise, I ride.

Perhaps I should fit a couple of those huge, world-tour-style aluminum panniers to the speed four...

hrw115 said...

I'm going to die if you take that scooter of yours to get a christmas tree for the hollidays instead of your truck.

Eldercattus said...

There is, hidden somewhere in the bicycling webpages, a site about hauling really heavy things (like lots of heavy lumber, plywood, trash, a sofa or a refrigerator) by bicycle. If a person chose to go really slow, and plan out routes with minimum hills, acceleration or braking, it might be possible to use a scooter to haul big stuff. Sorry, I don't remember the URL or the site's name. I do remember I did a lot of the family's grocery shopping on Glaveston Island, TX (flat country) from the back of an old Cannondale bicycle trailer, which I pulled behind my old Vespa P200E, back about 25 years ago. Jury-rigged the hitch.

Jolly de Guzman said...

this is something i want to do soon. we have two cars right now. i am thinking of getting rid of one and get a vespa myself. i am anxious to get one soon. your entries have been inspiring.

Granturismo200L said...

Hi I am Daniel, 25, Palm Springs, CA. I am a student and a Starbucks barista. I recently got a Vespa Granturismo 200L and Her name is Isabella. She is one of the best things to ever happen to me for many reasons. First the obvious reasons, my insurance is cheap, my payments are cheap and i literally only spend 30 dollars on gas a month, and that isnt by being choosy about where I go. I commute 12 miles from home to school about 2 times a week and go to the school the rest of the week for lab work. FANTASTIC!!! is the only way I can describe these things.

Now, less obvious reasons why I love my girl, Isabella. For starters she fits my personality, i looked at a number of different scooters, but for me the Vespa was the only one that would do. Oh the history, the styling the beauty of it all just couldn't be denied any longer, and one saturday afternoon it happened Isabella and i were together at last. Since finding her, I have found a new appreciation for my area. I have lived in the palm springs area for roughly 18 years now and, honestly, it's been getting kinda old to me, but not anymore. I feel a new connection to my home because now going from one place to another is not just commuting through space and time but experiencing the world while doing it. The air rushing on your skin and all around me; the smells that come from changing seasons and the feeling that one can only get from riding that you are a part of this world not just a visitor. I love it, I love my Vespa, Isabella. I should have gotten rid of my truck sooner and done this, things would have been a lot easier for me if I had.

In addition to all that, i now have a new-found sense of community of riders of both motorcycles and scooters. In two months I have been approached numerous times by members of both groups to simply chat about the joys of riding and many times about the joys of the season (being winter, as I write this). Anywho, i didn't originally intend to make this such a long post, it just happened, I suppose, but, now approaching the end of this jumble of thoughts, I want to say I am so very glad that I stumbled across this blog tonight, that I might have a place to chat with others who know what I know and feel what I feel about their scooters and their travels.

Happy and Safe and Peaceful Holidays to all, and most importantly happy and safe riding.

Daniel from palm springs, ca

Gary said...

Amy and I have been trying to figure out how to simplify our transportation needs, but we have run into a dilemma. Here in Minnesota, with both of us working, we have got to have two 4-wheeled vehicles for those Winter mornings when scooting is too risky.

I have my S10 pickup, and she has a Bug, both of which are now paid for. I let that truck sit for over a year when I did The Baron in Winter, and that was a huge mistake. The brakes rusted up and other systems deteriorated.

All that is fixed now, and Amy alternates between the two vehicles for her commute when I am scooting to work. But this is still more upkeep and insurance than I like to be responsible for.

We will keep looking for ways to simplify our lives, but it isn't always easy.

Ride well,

Steve Williams said...

bill: I'm thinking the same thing about a minimal cage investment. We'll see where that goes. I've gone car shopping before for the $500 car only to return with a new one....

eldercattus: I would like to get down to one four-wheeled vehicle. We could probably do it now but since they are both paid for we'll probably keep them.

Paul: Done. How can I refuse the man who set me on the Vespa path? Shall I wax your car this weekend??

combatscoot: If you live in a temperate climate I think the chances of full-time two-wheeled life is more realistic. Or if you don't have a lot of kids to transport.

lucky: I've seen pictures of Vespa's with those big aluminum panniers and it looks as if you could travel the world with all you need.

hrw115: I'm definitely getting the tree with the scooter this year. Nothing over 8 feet though.

eldercattus: Pulling a P200 with a Canondale? That's an image. You must have been a seriously committed cyclist.

jolly: Glad to know that the blog is helping to push you towards something you want to do. I know how important it has been to me to find motivation out in the world to do the things I know I want to do but don't.

Daniel: Riding on two-wheels is a great feeling! The Vespa has a definite aura of its own that I've found exquisite. And as you point out riding puts you in touch with things that were previously deemed ordinary or old. It definitely connects you with the world and I've found the community of riders to generally be warm and friendly. Glad you found Scooter in the Sticks to sound out or share ideas.

Gary: I had the same problem with my Ranger. Not enough driving had it sort of get rusty and creaky. I try and drive it a bit more often now, or at least make sure I am doing more than running two miles up the road for a bottle of milk so that I let the thing heat up. Where you are I can't imagine not having a four-wheeled vehicle to cope with the winter.


Lucky said...

regarding beater cars - May I recommend a Buick Century?

I had one that I bought with 120,000 miles on the clock. When I parked it, it had almost 190k, still ran and drove. If I hadn't neglected it so much, it probably would have kept going until 300k. :D

Repairs were CHEAP and infrequent. The thing pulled like a warhorse eager to crush skulls, as well. If I ever buy another cage, it'll be a century.