Monday, September 16, 2013

Rider profile: Dave Dixon

Name: Dave Dixon
Find me on Earth: Maple Ridge, BC
Find me Online: (Big Guy Small Scooter)
Interview Date: July 12, 2013
Interview Location: In the ether near Maple Ridge, BC
Scootcommute: When did you start riding, how old were you?

Dave: I first rode when I was backpacking in Europe. When I got to Greece, with people I was travelling with, we would rent either mopeds or Vespas and spend the day cruising around the Greek Islands. Back then I had long hair and we'd ride, helmet-less, on windy roads, exploring what we came across. We must have done that for about three weeks before moving on to the next part of the trip. I recall having some sort of button that had to slide to change gears but this was 1983 so I'm not sure how accurate my memory is. From that moment on, I loved Vespas and dreamed about having one.

Fast forward to 2006, 23 years later. Our union negotiated a $4000 signing bonus with the government for our contract. Instead of that money going down the endless hole of debt or to some other worthy cause, I thought this time, I'd realize my dream of having a Vespa.

Scootcommute: How many motorbikes have you owned?

Dave: Two. My first Vespa was a black LX50 which I bought near new (250km) and put 15, 000km on it over 5 years. It took me as faraway south as Seattle and north to Powell River. I loved that scooter but after 5 years, it was time to move on.

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

Dave: My current bike is a Vespa 250 GTS. It has quite the history. The guy I bought it from picked it up in the US and rebuilt a fair bit of it. I bought it from him for $2500 (which was an amazing price) and then had Vespa Vancouver work on it which cost me another $1000. It is my favourite bike because it can go anywhere on any road and just eats up the miles. It feels more solid than the LX50 and has that extra oomph that makes riding a joy.

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

Dave: The most challenging riding skill would have to be riding twisties and curves at higher speed. I learned, and now I know, that you have to look at where you want the scoot to go. However, I do, from time to time, get distracted by the natural beauty in this part of the world and will, on occasion, get the funny feeling of instability for a split second until I focus on the road ahead again. I'm much better at it but still find it to be a feeling I dread.

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

Dave: I live quite close to work so I walk most days but usually moto-commute twice a week. I ride in all types of weather and have gear that will keep me warm. I do love warm weather but I go a little crazy - if it's a local trip and it's quite hot out, I will often go in a t-shirt and jeans. I really do depend on my scooter as a mode of transportation - we gave our second car to my daughter in Prince George last fall and so my Vespa is my main vehicle now.

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

Dave: I usually ride solo but have ridden with other riders on a couple of occasions - which is extremely enjoyable. I want to ride more with groups.

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

Dave: I'll share this excerpt from my blog.

On the day of my motorcycle license test, It was raining hard so before taking off to practice, I put on a pair of gortex cycling overbooties so that my hiking boots would stay nice and dry. They attach with velcro and have served me well on many a cycling trip. I then headed off on the Suzuki Marauder 250 to practice.

After practicing my turns, my U-turns and everything else I could think of, I sped over to the testing centre, parked, turned off the bike and promptly fell over!

What had happened was the flap on the bottom of the gortex overbooty caught on the peg on the left side. When I tried to get off, my leg wouldn't go and I was thrown off balance. I fell down and the bike fell over as well.

Sometimes, Buddha or Lady Luck smiles at me after having a good laugh. I practically bounced off the ground and picked up the bike (lucky it was only a 250) and then looked around. Nobody saw me! Two minutes later and a crowd of people were in the lot but at that time I was completely alone amongst the other vehicles!

Sporting a slight limp from my scraped knee and no longer wearing the aforementioned vortex overbooties, I first hobbled, then walked into the testing centre. Surprisingly, after that horrible start, I manage to pass my test with flying colours!

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

Dave: Going over big bridges on my Vespa has always given me an awesome thrill. I still remember crossing the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver on my LX50 and feeling that I truly was on top of the world. The bridge in Washington state over Deception Pass is another awesome bridge. Approaching that bridge from the north is an amazing experience. But the best place I've been to always seems to be the destination of my most recent long tour - and that was Mount St. Helen's in Washington State. I rode from clouds and mist up to brilliant sunshine and had literally majestic views of the mountain.

Scootcommute: Tell me why you ride.

Dave: Because it's environmental, it's efficient, I like waving at other motorcyclists (at least the ones that wave back), I like being one of the few Vespa owners in Maple Ridge, I like screaming down the straightaway at 110 kmh (when it's safe, of course), and because riding my Vespa truly makes the journey more interesting than the destination.

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

Dave: Heck, let's go for another group ride! Oh, and it would be nice if smokers in cars stopped flicking their damned cigarettes out the window when I'm behind them!



len@RE-GLAZE-IT said...

David ,
Another great rider profile (Interview)
Your questions are on the money,
Nice detailed answers really help In getting to know this great bunch of people

I thoroughly enjoy a coffee and stopping by!


Unknown said...

Hey David:

we don't get to see the BIG GUY much. You'll have to come back for another group ride, and breakfast . . .

Riding the Wet Coast

David Masse said...

Len you're right, they are all great people.

The fascinating thing is that by asking different people the same questions, it allows the contrasts to stand out, and the individual emerges from the answers.

David Masse said...

Count on it Bob, maybe as soon as mid to late October.

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