Friday, August 16, 2013

Rider profile: Tom Keene

Name: Tom Keene
Find me on Earth: Westbrook, Maine, USA
Find me Online: http://scooterbythesea.blogspot.com
Interview Date: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Interview Location: In my home, on my iPad
Scootcommute: When did you start riding, how old were you?

Tom:  I watched a friend in his 70s riding around town on a bright red Honda Reflex 250, and noted how happy this grizzled old man was. "I must do that," I thought, and bought a scooter for myself; I was 61 years old.

Scootcommute: How many motorbikes have you owned?

Tom:  Two

Scootcommute: What is your current bike, and is the current bike your favorite?

Tom:  After riding a Yamaha C3 50cc scooter for a few months, I decided that I needed, to be safe, to get a bigger ride. That turned out to be a Vespa 250 GTS, which is without question my favorite bike.

Scootcommute: Talk to me about the most challenging riding skill you learned.

Tom:  It has been a struggle to become ultra aware of my surroundings on the road. Before my riding life began, I drove big cars; Cadillacs, Olds, Buicks were my usual rides. And in the silence of a fine automobile, the world is essentially a minor object. Frankly, I felt safe and secure in my well-engineered cage.

But on two wheels, the world is a dangerous, aggressive place to be. I have had to understand that people on two wheels are not partners of the road. We are targets. That is a continuing challenge.

Scootcommute: Are you a moto-commuter, a tourer, or a fair weather rider?

Tom:  Mainly a tourer. I have no regular job to commute to. I am the opposite of a fair weather rider; I ride 12 months a year, in any temperature. I draw the line on riding in snow, which is a constant companion from November through March.

Scootcommute: Are you a solitary rider? How about riding in a group?

Tom:  Mainly I ride alone by preference. I do ride at least once a week with Mike (Torrusio) of Scooter for Fun.

The largest group in which I have ridden was seven, which was enjoyable, but isn't my cup of tea.

Scootcommute: I dare you to share an awkward or embarrassing riding moment.

Tom:  Last winter, I grossly misjudged the solidity of the sand at Old Orchard Beach, and I buried my Vespa up to the hubs in the world-famous fine sand of The Beach.

When he stopped laughing hysterically - which was a very long time - Mike help me extract the humiliated scooter and rider. On stopping for coffee, Mike was in tattle-tale heaven as he told the tale repeatedly to every customer who entered the busy shop.

Scootcommute: What is the best place your bike has taken you?

Tom:  Almost every ride has taken me to a place in Maine that is scenic, relaxing, and each is the best place I've been.

Scootcommute: Tell me why you ride.

Tom:  Riding is a liberating method of travel, making a simple trip to the store highly enjoyable. Riding makes me smile. And if I had any hair left, I think I would love the feeling of the wind in my hair.

Scootcommute: If I could grant you one riding wish, what would it be?

Ride the Great Wall of China.

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11 comments:

  1. Awesome post! It's wonderful to read about other scooterists.

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    1. Thanks Dar. I agree that there is something compelling about asking a bunch of different people exactly the same ten questions. The answers are sometimes quite similar, and then you get the quirky twists that reveal the personality.

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  2. Ride the Great Wall of China - now that is an interesting one.

    Is it wrong I am still chuckling over the scooter stuck in the sand? It is such a great story. It's not an adventure until something goes wrong.....

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    1. Trobairitz, I like the way you think. Tom was just pushing the envelope. I hope that I will one day have a similarly laugh-inducing moment of ill-considered exploration.

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  3. Kim and I have spent a lot of time on the southern coast of Maine and I always wished I had the Vespa with us. Maybe next time we head up that way I'll have the scooter and see what it's like riding by the sea. But I"ll be careful not to get stuck in the sand!

    Great interview.

    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

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    1. Steve, Susan and I similarly love Maine. It was a deeply pleasing to be able to ride some of the familiar roads we've driven in the past. I hope to return on two wheels and take more time exploring the coastal by-ways. I've thought of buying the trailer-in-a-bag as a way to bring the Vespa along when we make our fairly frequent pilgrimages to Ogunquit.

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  4. This is a good one! Some great (sobering) advice for a new rider like me, too. Thanks David!

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    1. Your welcome Danielle. I think all the rider profiles are great. Everyone has a slightly different perspective, a different story to share.

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  5. David - not really a comment on this specific post, but a thank you to you and Susan for your hospitality ... though the memory of Tom standing on the beach, pointing to the spot of 'the incident' put a smile on my face. Sorry I didn't get your email this trip.

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    1. Karen it was truly a pleasure sharing the miles with you, and Susan and I were very happy to have been able to share our home. With a little luck there will be other occasions.

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  6. David I do like these rider profiles , great to get to know a little more about these great guys and gals
    Regards
    Len

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The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.