Friday, February 20, 2015

How size matters to me, or the Slippery Slope

It's still the dead of winter.

My Vespa sits comatose on life support, shrouded in its OEM cover.  The only signs of its dormant existence are the intense glare of the reflective safety markings bouncing the car's headlights back at me, and the soft glow of the battery tender's intravenous drip keeping the battery fit for eventual duty.

That doesn't mean one little bit that very interesting things aren't happening at the ScootCommute.  They're just happening deep below the surface. Like the way that tectonic plates move and grind.  With the potential to change the landscape.

Right now I'm on a mission.  Wednesday night I was cruising along at more than 400 miles an hour, 34,000 feet above the ground.  I was heading south. It was half-past eleven, thirty minutes to midnight, and the land of perpetual summer was slipping by silently below, as Fort Lauderdale crept ever closer on the seatback monitor.  Just Susan and I, and hundreds of other anonymous fellow travelers escaping for a week of sun, and respite from the bone-wracking cold of the Great White North.

One thing that has held my mind in sharp focus these last few days is the Harley Davidson Sportster 883 I've rented for a day.
Well, not this one in particular.  I ran into this one in the men's department at Macy's in the Aventura Mall, of all places.  Until I saw it in the flesh, I was concerned it was a huge bike.  In fact it's only a little longer, and a little skinnier (yes skinnier) than my Vespa GTS 300, and not that much heavier.

That's right folks, just when you thought you had me safely pegged, and permanently pigeon-holed, as the completely dedicated Vespa guy, the urbane scooter commuter, you need to do a little re-think.

Have I been harboring a secret bad-ass cruiser-dude alter-ego?

Be warned, your host is a dreaded Gemini shape-shifter.  Two sides to this coin, my friends, and the coin is set to flip.

There will be more on this topic, much more.

Wait till I share what's in store for this coming Monday.  Crazy stuff.  Wild adventure!

31 comments:

  1. Golly gee willikers! Thing is if you're an assassin on a mission best not toi say anything in public.

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  2. OK, OK calm down there. I may be hard to predict, but so far, as tempted as I may be from time to time, so far, I'm no killer. Well... lady killer... uh, no, not even that kind of killer.

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  3. Looking forward to your posts. I too, have always liked the 883 Sportster. I was looking for one back in 2007 but ended up with an airhead BMW. Kinda the same, right?

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    1. I honestly don't know. This is a first for me. If there's a Bonneville at Eagle Riders I might switch to that. I drooled over one at the Montreal Triumph dealership last fall.

      I must say that I liked what I saw briefly in Macy's. There was the usual "don't touch" sign on saddle. It was just there to make guys want to buy the clothes, I suppose.

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  4. The Lostboater & I were going to ring you up for a dinner, but thought you needed more quality family time. Now that I read this you NEED some fresh air and sunshine to help you over this! BMW maybe, but a H-D? David, just sit in the sun and you'll feel a lot better.

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    1. Such teases! Don't be shy, come on down. What's a little ride down to Lauderdale for a single afternoon trying to outrun alligators with a couple of hooligans on the road to Florida's west coast?

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  5. Oooh. I am intrigued. Is this slightly out of your comfort zone? Or are you as excited as a toddler heading to Disneyland?

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    1. Out of my comfort zone, quite. As excited as a toddler at Disneyland? In the immortal words of Sarah Palin "You betcha!!"

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  6. David, you want life-changing experience...let's put you at the controls of a URAL sidecar rig....so much fun. So, get the HD experience out of the way and then really come over to the dark side. :)

    Kidding aside, looking forward to the pictures and verbiage.

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    1. Dom, a couple of years ago, I was in the showroom at Kissell's in State College where they had a Ural rig in drab military dress. I have to say it fairly screamed Steve McQueen, Great Escape, and Indiana Jones all at the same time. Seemed all it needed was a light machine gun on the side car. I can imagine loading one up for a jaunt from Cape Town to Cairo.

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  7. The Sportster and the Bonneville are both items of lust and fantasy for guys our age. Somewhere in the past we were secretly injected with the idea connecting them to the manly arts. Or something.

    I look forward to the pictures of you in leather.

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    1. I know, I know. I have to fess up that Bonnevilles having calling to me since my older bad-ass black sheep cousin had one. When I was maybe twelve he took me on a tiny little spin. My mother was staning there fretting, imploring him to go slowly, telling me not to let go, warning me repeatedly about the hot exhaust. What a thrill.

      At that time, Bonnevilles where bad-ass, Harley Electra-Glides were all about the motorcycle cops. That was my twelve-year-old's understanding of motorcycles.

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    2. I know that old calling --- it's at a very basic level of what I learned as a kid in what it meant to be a man -- some connection to motorcycles with the Triumph and the Sportster being at the heart of what a motorcycle is. Steve McQueen in the Great Escape and On Any Sunday. Jim Bronson in "Then Came Bronson".

      I've wanted a Triumph forever. I generally only have things I need and tend to shun anything else but the desire for a motorcycle is great and the need low. Still it persists...

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    3. Steve, those of us with a long, long history of dedicated employment, mortgage payments, marriage, and devotion to family, have kept our eye on needs, and the wants of loved ones, rather than our own wants.

      Yet indulging a few wants is a good things because it rounds us, allows us to appreciate life, and I believe, makes us better people. As better people we inspire those we touch, and contribute in a positive way to our loved ones' lives as well.

      I know this for a fact.

      And by the way, no one needs a Vespa, or a blog.

      Thank you for having both.

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  8. Your dark desires are not that unusual. I was also drawn to both, the Sportster and the Bonneville, and at the time of purchase it was a pure economic decision, because I got the Harley at a bargain price. I never regretted the decision, however I still like the Bonneville.

    I hope you'll enjoy your little road trip, and have a great day with blogger friends.

    Just stay away from tattoo parlours. ;-)

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    1. Dark desires, ha ha ha ha, nailed it!

      Oooooh tattoo?!?!

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    1. I bet that's what the wife said, too, just with a different undertone ;-)

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    2. Just so you know, there's NOTHing about this I'm even remotely against. You know me....variety is good and I very much like the direction you're heading.

      Now if you approach Ducati about a factory GP ride I might start to wonder....

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    3. The Montreal Ducati dealer in Little Italy also sells Vespas... the Italian gateway drug of choice.

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  10. Good luck on the 'test drive!' Enjoy the sun, we will all be waiting to hear about it.

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    1. The test drive will happen, that's for sure. Right now the exact model of bike is up for grabs. Apparently the Sportster is no longer available but a Harley Switchback will be a suitable substitute.

      Time and the Harley gods will tell the tale.

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  11. Envious of your trip to southern (and much, much warmer) climes and I too am looking forward to the pictures. I expect you'll have a blast and be looking at two wheels from a different perspective once you're done. Have a great vacation!

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    1. Ah, isn't perspective everything?

      My perspective is much improved down here, I have to say.

      I promise to take pictures, and to do my best to convey in words, many words, the true-ish, slightly embellished tale of my southern adventures.

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  12. Oh yeah, don't forget to buy the tee shirt at the HD dealer.

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    1. I'm easing into the vibe. I chose to bring my Corazzo 5.0 jacket plastered with more than a few Vespa patches.

      Just to keep things in perspective ;)

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  13. I love the remark about the Gemini shape-shifter spirit, I know this all to well, as I am a Gemini. I am a woman of many whims and moods. Go ahead live on the wild side! Remember clutch in - throttle off - shift - clutch out - throttle on! Ride with the wind! Ride safe David - please don't go getting all blinged out with Harley stuff your Vespa will be jealous and stage a revolt in the garage.

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    1. Dar, turns out I got the shifting OK, it was downshifting that was my downfall. It didn't help that the transmission was six speed and I thought it only had five.

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  14. I know you will have a blast. But if you are anything like me, you will enjoy the new found power but quickly miss the wind and element protection of the Vespa. You will also find it hard to move around slowly and a bit of a pain to remember to downshift at stops. But it will be a nice venture to the other side.

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    1. Bill you hit the nail on the head. I didn't manage to shift all the way down to first at the very first traffic light. Sheesh.

      Much as I enjoyed my HD experience, to be honest, the Vespa is a more competent touring bike. Quite a bit more comfortable, a ton more storage, and a cruising speed that easily matches what Michael and I did on the Interstate..

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