Showing posts with label scooter commuting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scooter commuting. Show all posts

Monday, July 26, 2010


One of the great aspects of commuting on a scooter like the Vespa LX150, is that while it is powerful enough, and "legal", for freeway use, it is small and nimble enough so you can literally find parking wherever you care to go.

I alluded to this in the previous post.

I was reading on Modern Vespa today that Boston has expanded parking in the city for motorcycles.

Toronto has taken a much more liberal view, and, in my opinion, adopted the most bike favorable policy I know of, by allowing powered-two-wheelers to park free of charge in any metered municipal parking slot in the city.

Now Montreal has never been that kind to scooter and motorcycle riders.  There are a few (and I mean very few) designated areas where motorcycles and scooters can park free of charge.

There is also a theory (which may have force of law, but who has the patience to find out?) that motorcycles and scooters can also park at the beginning, and at the end, of street parking slots designated for cars.

Here is an example of a motorcycle testing that theory just outside my office.  The reflections from the sun made taking this picture difficult.
 Notice I circled in white the "L" shaped marker designating where the permitted car parking space ends.  Any car parking in the space that the motorcycle is in would surely be ticketed.  The motorcycle? Maybe not.

In other two-wheeled respects, the City of Montreal is among a handful of progressive cities worldwide that make available a municipal bike-sharing program.  The city is now covered with BIXI stands.

Interestingly, just about every BIXI stand just happens to leave enough space at either end for a scooter to tuck in safely.  This is a phenomenon that is sprouting serendipitously all over the city, and here is a great example, also right outside my window.

Close to 300 BIXI stands strategically placed throughout the city means that, in addition to all the existing nooks and crannies where I can park my Vespa, there are close to 600 more cozy spots just waiting for me.

So when it comes to parking for the scooter commuter, although on paper Montreal isn't as enlightened as Toronto, or as forward thinking as Boston, there is no shortage of great spots where you can park a Vespa.

For those of you living in Washington D.C., and for students and faculty at Washington State University in the Northwest, good news, BIXIs are coming your way as well.  More parking for DC scooter commuters.

Ride safely!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


We Montrealers spend the winter months bundled up against the cold. Add a stiff wind and a drop in winter temperatures, and many of us have experienced minus 40 Celsius. The only thing that's convenient about minus 40 Celsius, is that you don't have to convert it to explain to people who only understand Fahrenheit how cold it might be, because it also happens to be minus 40 Fahrenheit.

We are now gripped in the third day of the reverse: a record-snapping heat wave: For Montreal that means well above 30 Celsius (40+ when you factor in the Humidex, 86 degrees for you Fahrenheit folks). Everyone is now moaning about the heat.

Not me. And I'm riding my Vespa morning and night to commute downtown. Morning is cool(er). Late afternoon is another story. And I'm wearing a black full face Nolan helmet, a Corazzo 5.0 armoured jacket, gloves, heavy Levis, and stout Tyrol hiking boots. That gear will keep you warm on a crisp fall day at 60 km/h.

So why am I not complaining? It's a really good question for all you folks on the air-conditioned commuter train chatting about how unbearably hot it is, while I glide along the lakeshore in my portable human oven get-up.

That's another measure of just how much I enjoy my scoot commute, and how committed I am to the (relative) safety of the experience.Last night on the commute back home at about 6:40 p.m., I stopped to take the photos you see here. You can see the heat shimmering in the photos if you look closely enough.

The guy on the kite-board and I, we have the right recipe. Follow your passion. It means you're cool, even when the weather isn't.
The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.