Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Another intersection

 I am at yet another point in my life on two wheels where important changes are underway.

I feel Susan and I have emerged from the pandemic, along with our family, a family that has grown exponentially since my retirement in 2015. From three kids, to six members of the family with our new son and daughters, to two grandchildren and now four grandchildren. Our immediate family has expanded to ten wonderful, cherished and well-loved members. What a joy, what an amazing joy.

But that is not the change I feel the need to discuss here.

This blog started in 2010 when I began commuting on a Vespa. I felt a need to pay forward all the invaluable advice and assistance I received from other moto-bloggers.

Those decisions, to commute on a Vespa, and to share my adventure on this blog, were life changing decisions. I could never have guessed the joy, friendships, discoveries and adventures that came my way as a direct result.

The move to Toronto and the recent pandemic have, once more, fundamentally changed things for me.

I work from home, so I don't commute. The pandemic killed the Toronto Moto-Scooter Club.

I have no reason to ride my Vespa. It sits mostly idle.

Riding a motorbike is risky. The more you ride, the more you learn, the better your skills, the greater your confidence, the more you ride.

Unfortunately the reverse equation is also true. The less I ride, the greater the perceived risk, the less I am inclined to ride.

There's that, and then there's the Brompton factor.

I have a long history of getting around on two wheels, it's a story I have shared here before, and there is no need to repeat it here.

I just love to ride, whether it's on a bicycle or a motorbike.

What I have most recently discovered, is that getting around on a bicycle is more satisfying for me in many ways than getting around on a Vespa.

Sure it's slower, but it was never about speed. The range is nowhere near comparable, but range is not by any means a simple consideration. The Vespa is unquestionably superior when the trip on two wheels is a long one, such as Toronto to Montreal and back.

The Brompton wins hands down however when leisurely exploring is the objective. The reason the Brompton wins is that anywhere you can walk, you can ride a Brompton. That's not so with a Vespa. Vespas are much better at exploring than cars, but are nowhere near as versatile and adaptable as Bromptons.

There is one particular aspect of the Brompton that is truly a game changer. It is unmatched by any other means of transportation I have ever used.

That's because the Brompton is a parasite.

Deeply ingrained parasitic qualities that serve as Bromptons' fundamental DNA are what distinguish Bromptons from all other forms of transportation.

Name your destination, then pick your vehicle: car, Vespa, subway, train, bus, airplane, or boat. With a few flicks of fingers and wrists the Brompton shrinks to suitcase dimensions. That's how my Brompton has gone from my home in Toronto, to be my exploration vehicle in downtown Toronto, and in Montreal, Ogunquit, and Vancouver. And that's just a start.

Have I ridden my Vespa in Montreal and Ogunquit? Yes.

But... and it's a huge BUT... my Vespa got me there on its own. My Brompton in each of those long range explorations piggybacked on other vehicles: In our car to Montreal and Maine, and on our Air Canada flight to Vancouver. When I rode a scooter in Toronto, or in Victoria, or a Vespa in Florida, or an MP3 in Tuscany,  it's because the scooter was rented or the Vespa was borrowed. That's great, but it's not the same as having your very own two-wheeler whisking you around.

In each case the Brompton is always by my side, whether in our car, on the subway, in a restaurant... yes, in a restaurant for one of my firm's team meeting events.

As you can see, what the Brompton really needs in order to be the perfect vehicle is a range extender.

And that is the segue-way to the introduction of my new toy.

What many of you do not know is that I have always been attracted to convertible sports cars. First when I was four or five years old to the MG TD, then later on to the 1960 Corvette that starred on Route 66, and on to the Triumph TR6 when I was a penniless student in college. When I was in Florida sitting in a car outside a shop where Susan was picking up treats for kids, I saw my first Miata. And that was it. In June of 1993 I bought a very special 1990 Miata. That car was mine for seventeen or eighteen years. Nothing quite compares to the joy of driving a sporty manual-shift convertible with the top down.

I sold my Miata to my friend Marc because it just couldn't compete with my Vespa in terms of the joy of getting around. It was just sitting idle. That's not good for a machine.

From time to time I regretted that decision, but it was the right one at the time. 

For the past year or so the convertible itch has been begging to be scratched. I recently came into some mad money and that's what led me to the six-speed manual shift 2012 Mini Cooper S Cabriolet that is now sitting in our second parking sport.

And now the Vespa is sitting idle. The Brompton is in part to blame, aided and abetted by the Mini Cooper now serving as a delightful range extender for the Brompton. 

Long, long, long story short, the Vespa will be sold.

Yes it's sad. Truly it is.

But life goes on.

What about this blog?

It no longer serves its initial purpose, that's for sure.

I may return to it, after this long absence, more as a personal journal, as a means of sharing the interesting things Susan and I do. Like Paris this fall (no, the Bromptons are sitting that one out).

I have taken to bicycle rides each weekday morning. They happen at about 7:00 a.m. and run between six and twelve kilometres in our neighbourhood. When I come across a scene that I find remarkable, I stop and snap a photo with my phone. 

I should share that with you.

As for YouTube videos, much as I enjoyed making them, the effort far outweighs the benefit. The advertising on YouTube is so intrusive and pervasive that I have no interest in contributing painstaking efforts to generate advertising revenue for Google.

Bye for now.

Keep an eye on this space, there may just be some stuff worth seeing.


bocutter ed said...

Mini Cooper S Cabriolet sounds like fun. Let me know if you want to drop by, with it, for an espresso.

Steve Williams said...

I understand how change can influence a blog. I've waffled in regard to mine for awhile as my posting frequency has diminished as my video creation increased. I tend to follow what's fun and writing essays lost its attraction for me. But I'm not ready to throw the towel in yet.

I've looked at some Brompton bikes here in town and they do look cool. My deteriorating lower spine has made a bicycle more of a nightmare now than the scooter. I suspect when the time comes it will be scooter to walking. Or a mobility scooter with a 25 mile range!

It was good to see you post something. Have some fun up there north of the border!

David Masse said...

Ed: Will do, for sure. Travelling for the next week or so.

Steve: My brother-in-law is fond of this quote: « Do what you love, let it kill you. »

SonjaM said...

Hello David, long time no see (read). Glad you're happy and you and your family came out of the pandemic without any losses. Having sold my two-wheelers a while ago I feel you. First it was mountain biking taking over, now for me it's hiking. I walk and walk for miles on end as long as hubby or my the job don't stop me.

Since Roland got his red e-bike the red Vespa (you may remember it) is also sitting idle in the parkade. We haven't decided yet what to do with it. But on vacation we prefer to take the bicycles... time will tell.

How about you using this blog for keeping us updated about your Brompton adventures. I like this bike and I am curious what you do with it. Anyway, take care and best wishes from the other side of the pond, SonjaM

David Masse said...

Sonja, so nice to read your comment.

I am only replying now because Susan and I were closer to you than you may have thought: we were on vacation in France.

We had a great time in spite of the fact that Susan fractured her collar bone in a cycling adventure in some winery caves in Saumur. Thankfully it was on the second to last day. Life became a nightmare from which we are only now barely emerging. Susan will have her arm in a sling for another four weeks or so. She has no regrets, and is encouraging me to do likewise.

I am considering returning to chronicling whatever my life has become. I miss the writing and sharing.

All our best to you and Roland and your idle motos.

Geoff James said...

Hello David,

I have to commend you on your thought process with respect to means of transportation, possibly because we've followed similar paths, driven partially by age, family considerations and a dash of common sense. It's better to make these decisions on your own terms rather than having them imposed on you for whatever reason.

In March at 74, I stopped riding motorcycles whilst still somewhere near the top of my game. Very much like you, I rode a range of motorcycles over the years and thoroughly enjoyed my wife's 2 Miatas. Now my transportation fun comes from a 1972 MGB GT and an e-mountain bike. Whenever a passion is given away, the key is having a fallback to enjoy!


Geoff in NZ

Canajun said...

Interesting how much your thought processes mirror my own, not with respect to Brampton’s (I hate cycling) but the lure of the convertible and the reduced interest in riding. I may have put 2000 km on the Harley this summer and it hasn’t been out of the garage for a month, in spite of a glorious October. And age is also certainly a factor. I’m healthy but I know my reaction times aren’t what they used to be, and I’ve had enough close calls over the years to know how critical that is. So it may be time to hang up the helmets.
Now it just so happens that a friend has a 1929 Dodge Roadster on a somewhat newer chassis and drivetrain that he may be able to be convinced to part with as it has sat in his garage for at least 10 years. We’ll see.

David Masse said...

Geof: thanks for dropping by.

My very good friend Peter Sanderson is deep into an MGB addiction, sports cars are a wonderful way to travel.

Canajun: '29 Dodge Roadster, now THAT has fascinating hobby written all over it.

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