An OldTimer's Tale
by Ron Goldwyn
(Milford, CT, USA)
Yes it was the summer of '43 and this country was at war, but my family rented a cabin in the NY mountains. It was there that my mother taught me to ride a bicycle and I showed off my ability to my father who came up for the weekend to be with us.
That winter I received my first 24" Schwinn red bicycle for my birthday. The following year I received my first scooter. (The type you step on with one foot and push with the other. It sure beat using a rollerskate with each half nailed to the ends of a 3' long 2x4 and a wood egg crate mounted on top for holding on to. (Remember inline skates would not be available for another 50 years.)
Hanging in my garage is my last bicycle, given to me by my Grandmother in 1950 - An English racer, three gear Raleigh with a dynahub generator for night riding.In 1950 it cost around $60, today as a collector's item it must be worth much much more.
In 1974, We had a gasoline crisis with gas rationed where we waited on long lines on the odd or even days depending on the last number of your car's license plate. I was lucky in that my wife had an even number plate and I had an odd number one. I purchased a 12-volt fuel pump so that I could siphon gas from one to the other when needed.
It was that year that I purchased locally a Puch Moped with a bumper rack for my car. Every day in summer heat and winter snow I traveled the 2.5 miles to and from my place of business. Five years ago I took it to a repair shop to see if he could restart it, but he said it would cost me more than it was worth, so I donated it to our local state run trade high school where some lucky student could fix it and own his own moped.
Last year when fuel prices hit $4/gal I decided that since I'm retired on a fixed income a scooter would be a cost saving investment as in Connecticut our cars are taxed as real property just like our real estate. Insurance rates were also shy high in this the Insurance capitol of the USA.
I studied the internet, downloaded the CT laws
for scooters and learned that only scooters less than 50cc did not require insurance and registration but required the operator to have a drivers license. All larger engine two and three wheeled vehicles were classed as motorcycles and followed the laws for such.
So I decided to purchase a 50cc scooter locally for reasons described elsewhere on this site (Answers) and it was delivered to my home. Within 24 hours, I was out for the first time on my own wearing the helmet from my moped days and relearning how to drive this new vehicle.
I was fine at first, but then I was out on our main drag (US1)and had to make a left turn into a shopping center. Well I went too fast, forgot what the hand brakes were for and hit the curb on the side of the road and went flying onto grass. The scooter remained upright and still running leaning against the curb but I was tossed to the ground with the helmet and my right shoulder taking the brunt of the force.
Folks ran to my aid, but I got up and said I'm fine and that I felt no pain. I finished my ride, put the scooter away and then the pain started in my shoulder. That was a Friday night. Monday morning I was in the local hospital's ER being x-rayed and given a 4 day supply of painkiller and an appointment with a doctor the following week. I spent each of those four days in the ER waiting room trying to get a refill of my Vicodin.
Just as my supply ran out the Hospital's chief nurse came to my aid and obtained a refill script for me. My orthopedist put me in a sling and renewed my painkillers for two more weeks. Finally, I was brave enough to take my scooter out on the roads again, where I learned to slow down and use my brakes as intended. That was my first and only fall, and is a good lesson for all of us.
Last month all the members of my local fraternity who had bikes came and filled a section of the parking lot and there was my little Tomos Scooter among all the huge Harleys. Quite a sight, with the guys asking me what is it going to be when it grows up.
Be Happy and drive safely. Ron
A battery tender like the Battery Tender Jr. can make all the difference in whether your scooter will start right up each spring, after being stored for months.
Just about every scooter owner needs to have a battery tender, sometimes called a trickle charger. Unless you are lucky enough to live in a climate where you can ride all year long, chances are your scooter will be put on ice, figuratively-speaking, for at least a couple months every winter.
One of the key steps in winterizing a scooter is to protect your battery from draining during its "rest" period. This can – and will – happen if you leave your battery sitting untended in your cold scooter over the winter, even if it's in a garage or shed.