Thursday, April 28, 2005


When you do the sums, getting to work is no cheap matter. At current petrol prices, it costs me about $3.50 to drive the Golf to and from work each day (plus another $1.20 for parking, if I paid for parking like I'm supposed to instead of utilising a loophole that could be closed at any second). Catching the bus costs just over $4, and takes around two and a half hours a day. So, what's the solution for the man with limited finances, a busy lifestyle and no sense of dignity?

The answer is a 2004 Vmoto Milan JX50 motor scooter.

Mine is bronze, has 2,200km on the clock, and buzzes like an angry lawnmower. I collected it last night from a motorcycle dealership in Victoria Park. The dealer was a pleasant enough fellow, but he looked a little nervous as I jumped onto my bike and prepared to take off. The fact that I didn't know how to fasten a helmet or operate the kickstand had no doubt convinced him that I was going to roar out of his showroom and straight under the wheels of a passing semi-trailer. I loftily informed him that I ridden semi-automatic 'postie bikes' back on the farm, and although that was fifteen years ago and the paddocks were oddly devoid of speeding semi-trailers, it was experience nonetheless.

My sums reveal that riding it to work instead of taking my car will save me over $600 a year, more if the parking inspectors at work realise that I've been getting free car parking for years and decide to enforce the $300 annual car parking levy. But beyond the finances, there are other issues. I was weighing up the pros and cons in my mind, and I kept coming back to one con: if I'm going down the highway at full speed, and a car suddenly pulls out in front of me, I will be toast. And not good delicious toast - I'm talking stale, manky toast that's been burnt on one side and has to be scraped with a knife to make it even partly presentable. There are no seatbelts, rollbars, airbags or crumple zones on a scooter. The only standing between me and the bitumen is a helmet and a thin layer of business suit.

I think it was this con that, ironically enough, eventually tipped the scales in favour of buying the scooter. To be honest, I realised that if I'm such a panty-waisted wuss-boy that I'm too scared to ride a 50cc girly-man motor scooter, let alone a high-speed 500cc motorbike, then I DO NOT DESERVE TO CALL MYSELF A MAN! So what if I risk coming off my scooter and splattering across the side of a badly-driven Toyota Landcruiser? I might get hit by a bus crossing the road on foot. I could choke on a cashew. My new flatmate may well go postal over my failure to do my share of the washing up and kill me with a satay-encrusted frying pan. That doesn't mean I should avoid crossing roads, eating nuts or fleeing a dirty kitchen. It's not the manly way.

There is a significant pro, too, to counter the most conspicuous con, but it's one that I didn't discover until I'd taken a test ride:


Maybe this particular reason will lose its potency sooner rather than later, but until then, it may be the best reason to keep riding the thing.


Blogger phaedrus said...

I'm a little curious about the effects of this particular vehicle on members of the opposite sex. On one hand, you are dinking around on a dimiutive pygmy motorbike. On the other, you're saving tons of gas and risking your life in the most masculine way possible, short of playing Russian roulette with a semiautomatic.

I guess it all boils down to this: do you wear sunglasses like these, or the ones on the Vmoto website?

4:21 AM  
Blogger phaedrus said...

Well, I spelled "diminutive" wrong and it's redundant -- BUT I STAND BY IT.

4:22 AM  

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