Find me on Earth: Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Find me Online: http://vespalx150.blogspot.com (Scooter in the Sticks); @ScooterNSticks on Twitter; Scooter in the Sticks on Facebook
Interview Date: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Interview Location: Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, USA
Scootcommute: When did you start riding, how old were you?
Steve: While I did some riding as a kid in high school, dirt bikes, borrowed motorcycles and such, I don't really consider my riding to have begun until I was 51.
Scootcommute: How many motorbikes have you owned?
Steve: Two. The first was a Vespa LX150 and the second my current Vespa GTS250ie.
Scootcommute: What is your current bike, and is the current bike your favorite?
Steve: A Vespa GTS250ie. And yes, it is my favorite -- of the ones I have owned and of everything I have ever ridden.
Scootcommute: Talk to me about the most challenging riding skill you learned.
Steve: Riding in winter has presented the most challenges -- technically and psychologically. When the temperature drops below the freezing mark my riding persona must change. Everything is different because, well, everything is different. Whether dealing with a cold road surface on a sunny day at 20F or with snow or ice, you have to think and act differently. Riding in winter forces me to pay attention in a hyper-focused manner.
Scootcommute: Are you a moto-commuter, a tourer, or a fair weather rider?
Steve: I suppose I consider myself a moto-commuter most of the time and a meditation rider the rest. By that I mean the act of riding, moving over the road, delivers a calmness and serenity that I've not achieved through other means. Doesn't matter when I go or what I see, just the ride seems to work. Even the commutes to work.
Scootcommute: Are you a solitary rider? How about riding in a group?
Steve: Solitary riding is definitely my default choice and matches my temperament. I've ridden in two big group rides and have found that a strain. Too much going on, too many people. Probably why I don't like big parties, concerts or other crowded events.
I do ride with friends though from time to time -- one or two other riders and while I enjoy the camraderie and social aspects I always feel like I have to watch out for them and spend a lot of time watching where they are, what they're doing and such. Maybe everyone does that.
Scootcommute: I dare you to share an awkward or embarassing riding moment.
Steve: Two things come to mind and both involve the scooter hitting the pavement. The first was during a slow speed slide in the snow, one foot down and dragging the scooter racing style to a stop until I lost my footing and the Vespa went down. First thing I did was jump up and look around to make sure no one saw me. Reminded me of Pee Wee in Pee Wee's Big Adventure when he crashed his bicycle and jumping up and exclaiming to anyone who might have witnessed the event, "I meant to do that!".
Same with me, I meant to drop the scooter in the snow. No one saw though and it led me to purchase armored pants.
The second was a real bonehead mistake. Scooter is on the center stand along the road. My camera is sitting on the seat as I prepare to move the scooter to a better position for a photograph. As the scooter comes off the stand the camera begins to fall. In that instant I have to decide whether to hold onto the scooter or grab the camera. I choose the camera and the scooter hits the pavement. I felt stupid and lazy for doing that. Oh well.
Scootcommute: What is the best place your bike has taken you?
Steve: Home. A ride to the place where I grew up outside of Pittsburgh. It's a different experience moving through all the little streets and alleys on a scooter than passing by in a car. Much more visceral, sense-based experience. The ride triggered memories and emotions I didn't realize were there. Of all the rides I have made in the 40K plus miles I have ridden that day stands out still as the special riding experience.
Scootcommute: Tell me why you ride.
Steve: Riding is meditation. Since I was in college I have chased some way to make my life slow down. When I took my first ride on the Vespa I finally found the answer. Fun, excitement, utility, transportation -- those are all secondary rewards.
Scootcommute: If I could grant you one riding wish, what would it be?
I wish, I hope, that I can continue to ride until the end -- that my last ride isn't far from my last breath…
Can you grant me that?