My First Scooter Rally
by Rick Rudge
(Portland, Oregon, USA)
This newbie has always been interested in going on some group rides, but haven't had the opportunity. Plus, with the wet weather that we get here, I was a little too new to try a group ride until now.
There's a motor scooter club here (well there's many here in the Portland, Oregon area). This particular one is called the St. Johns Scooter Club. Unlike many of the scooter clubs that specialize in a specific type of scooter (classic, moped, or based on a specific model), the St. Johns Scooter Club is open to anyone who wants to ride with them.
They have a Yahoo! Groups e-mail mailing list
where the members post information and organize group rides.
I've lurked on this site, gleaning information, for almost a year before finally buying my scooter; a 50cc Yamaha Zuma.
Naturally, the big talk on the mailing list was Spring Scoot 17, the weekend of April 1st, put on by the Twist And Play Scooter Club. This is an annual, weekend-long event. Although T&P is a classic-Only scooter club, this rally was open to anyone and everyone who shows up.
I was able to go to the Sunday event held at the P-Club Bar and Grill in North Portland, where they had their breakfast, raffle, and awards ceremony. Sunday turned out to be a beautiful, dry day; perfect for a scooter ride. I talked to one of the guys helping to organize this and admitted that this was my first group ride, let alone, rally, and he gave me some pointers.
Be sure to stay in staggered formation and don't make any sudden movements or turns in your lane. Keep on checking your mirrors and looking around There will be a few faster bikes that will come up the middle or along the sides. These guys will sometimes ride into the intersection and block traffic, so that the whole group can
ride through stop signs and traffic lights.
The parking lot was filled with different scooters from peddling mopeds, to maxi scooters, to everything in between. This was a great opportunity to meet people, get familiar with clubs and compare notes on different modifications.
I also got a chance to finally meet many of the St. Johns SC members in person. After the ceremony, we all got out for the group ride.
It was amazing to see so many people start up their scooters all at once. The parking lot was filled with the sounds of various forms of mufflers and the aromas of various types of exhausts. Then we were off.
Many times the riders would pull over along the side of the road and wait for some of the people in the very end of the group to get caught up. They made every effort for the group to ride together. Nobody would get lost.
Portland is a city of many bridges, and narrow city streets with light rail and lots of manhole covers, and home to one of the largest inner-city parks in the country and this rally was able to ride through many of them. The downtown traffic sort of moved out of the way for us, and we got a lot of looks by the townsfolk.
The rally ended at Council Crest Park with a beautiful vista over-looking downtown Portland. I joined the Ruckstars Scooter Club, (a group of Honda Ruckus enthusiasts) and continued riding around with them for awhile longer before heading for home.
One thing that I noticed was how kind, open, inviting, and friendly all of these guys were. I never heard the "My scooter is better than your scooter" thing. People were so happy to be on the road with other scooterists and having a great time.
With the nicer weather, we're all looking forward to a summer of more group rides.
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.