Thursday, March 8, 2012

Yay! The end is near...

... for my heated grips project, that is.

The new Warm & Safe Heat-Troller® is in my hot little hands, as my mother was fond of saying.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


... turns out that what I thought was light, was snow.

An easy mistake at this time of year.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Light at the end of the tunnel?

It's February.

When I was a kid in grade school, my mother would say "it's February, better bundle up!"

February was often the harshest month of the year. "Sub-zero" was often heard on the radio back then when it meant something in the Fahrenheit times.

But this winter has been more clement than harsh, and this February has been more March-ish. Everywhere you look winter seems beaten. What little snow we have is brittle and withered. The mantle is all in shades of grey and has receded to reveal the outline of our lawn.

If my Vespa were not in mid-project mode, I'd be considering a commute or two if it continued to look like positive temps and no precips.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More... of the things you see

Here I was walking back to the office after mailing the Heat Troller® back to Oregon to repair my mistake, when something caught my eye in a store window.
The backdrop to the display was a huge poster of a dragon-red Vespa LX against a lovely patch of fresh spring grass... Ahhhhh! Just the ticket to put thoughts of spring in my mind and the coming Vespa commuting season firmly in sight.

PS: This post goes under the heading of curious sights.  There is one other post like this.   Maybe I'll make this a series and title all these posts as "... the things you see...".


 The waiting game starts afresh since the Heat Troller® I wrecked is now on its way back to Warm & Safe in Oregon for repair.

Did I mention that Jim Hollander at Hot Grips™, Pat Denayer at Lockitt Group Inc., and Mike Ebers and Deata McCubbin at Warm & Safe Heated Gear™ have unbelievably stellar customer service?  I'm happily repeating it because it's so true and so refreshing in today's big-box, mass-marketing, internet mega-store world.

You'll be able to read all about this most unwelcome detour in the installation of heated grips when I finally complete the project and post a very detailed project report.

Having felt the heat before I wrecked the controller, I can tell you that I am so looking forward to the luxury of those grips when the commute resumes in March.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rick Snyder's Cannonball Run

Rick Snyder's a great guy.

Rick has set his sights on the 2012 Scooter Cannonball.  It's a challenge most riders don't get to measure themselves against in a lifetime.

It takes guts, a chunk of free time, great riding skills, a willingness to sleep in a motel room with your scooter, iron determination and a butt to match, an adventurous spirit, and money.

Rick has most everything he needs, but some money to help pay the Cannonball bills would be really nice.

I don't have what it takes to take on the Cannonball.  That's why I'm planning to enjoy the whole thing vicariously through Rick.

Until the 2012 Scooter Cannonball is in the history books, the Scoot Commute is throwing its support behind Rick and his daring adventure.  You'll notice a makeshift banner that will fly here for the duration.  Click on it to support Rick.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Major set back (Aarrrrgh!!!)

No, I'm not a trying to be a pirate.

I was literally minutes from completing the installation of the Heat Troller® switch, wanting to get it nice and snug, I destroyed the switch body, turning the entire Heat Troller® into instant junk.
How dumb is that?

This means that the project report, that was also almost done, won't be posted until I get a new Heat Troller®.

Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.

PS:  Patrick Denayer of and Deata at Warm and Safe have collaborated so that I can get my damaged Heat Troller® repaired.  Jim Hollander of Hot Grips™ has also had his eye on this as you can see from his comments on this post.  Quite honestly this is just incredible customer service, and for a customer who messed up a perfectly good piece of equipment. That'll teach me that working in a cold garage might numb the brain.  It's amazing to be rescued from my self-made misfortune by such caring suppliers.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Who cares?

In the beginning I blogged knowing that no one was out there reading (turns out I was wrong, Bobskoot was reading - ed).

I felt that if just a few people found my blog, and that I helped them with some scooter commuting challenge or question, I would have performed a public service, returning the favour other bloggers had done for me.  Paying it forward, so to speak.

Then at some point, several months later, there were some readers out there.  Then some people actually went to the trouble of subscribing to my posts.  Still later, some fellow moto-bloggers found me.  Then I got a few followers.

Pretty soon, I got traffic.  Not a lot of traffic.  Kind of like on a side street, off main street, in a small town, in the boonies.

Now I feel that I have some blogger friends.  What's a blogger friend?  I consider someone a blogger friend if, should they come to town, I would happily lend them my Vespa for a few days, and consider it an honor if they took me up on the offer.

As all of this was going on, I was checking my stats in the blogger dashboard.  At first a couple of times a month, then weekly, then daily, and now... well you can see where this is going.

I think I need to go back to daily, then weekly... Basically that little stick figure needs to sit down and smell the flowers while he's still in the foothills.

I'm curious what my fellow bloggers think about this, or indeed whether they think about this at all.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hiatus: for readers only

I started the installation of Hot Grips™ heated grips today.

It's an ambitious project, so it's going to take me a while to complete, and it's also going to take some time and patience to produce a decent project report.

So I'll be working hard behind the scenes here at the Scoot Commute, but readers will have to be patient waiting for the next post.

There's only so much a blogger and amateur mechanic can handle in his spare time.

Oh well... anticipation is half the fun.

Enjoy the reader's hiatus!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Here at last!

Hot Grips™, that is!

Now the fun can begin.

With a big thank you to the team at Hot Grips™ and the nice folks at who thoughtfully enclosed a couple of treats to sweeten the experience.  One for each heated grip.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Winter blues? Take a hike! Buy a Vespa!

Here's the deal.  It's finally full-blown, snow-down-your-collar, spin-your-wheels, trudge-along, winter.

Plus, I'm fat.  Really, fat?  Judge for yourself: 30 lbs to lose.

As part of my new diet, in addition to eating "right", and watching what I eat, I'm walking.  About 45-50 minutes a day.  That's where the taking a hike thing comes in.
In Montreal, we have miles and miles of underground pedestrian walkways and lots and lots of stairs, if you care to avoid escalators.  It takes about 50 minutes of brisk walking to go from the northwest corner of the underground where I work, to the northeast corner at the other extreme.  It's like a giant "U", just like that, in fact.  Though the "U" is hard to see on the highly stylized, not-to-scale "R-E-S-O" map posted here and there in the underground.

Here's the map of the underground city, and a link to a PDF map.  It's huge.  What better way to get the exercise I need?
While I was taking my daily walk today, I bought a vintage Vespa.  A nice winter white vintage Vespa.  So fitting.
 Just the trinket to park on my desk.
To remind me of the 2012 riding season that each day brings closer.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hot choice

After quite a bit of research and sober deliberation I have come to a couple of decisions.

The first decision is to stay with my LX150 for a third season, resisting the temptation to upgrade to a Vespa GTS.

With that decision behind me, installing heated grips on my LX150 became an obvious next choice.

I considered two alternatives: either Oxford heated grips or Hot Grips™ heated grips.

The Oxford heated grips are from a UK-based supplier and they are manufactured in Asia. They come standard with a variable electronic controller that includes automatic shutoff if the scooter battery drains down to 11 volts or so. The electronic controller also has the advantage of managing the load on the battery since at lower settings, the controller actually reduces the amps consumed to heat the grips.

The Hot Grips™ model on the other hand is manufactured in the USA. They come standard with a three position high-low-off switch that doesn't manage the electricity budget as well as an electronic controller. An American made electronic controller is however available as an added cost option.

I read reports of reliability issues with the Oxford controller, and mounting that controller on the Vespa, due to the controller's bulky exo-skeleton type housing, while it would work well on the typical motorcycle, wouldn't be very elegant on a Vespa, unless I mounted it in the glove box. Mounting it there would make adjusting the heat a challenge, even at stop lights.

The Hot Grips™ optional Warm & Safe Heat-Troller® electronic control on the other hand lends itself to mounting on the Vespa's dashboard quite elegantly where the controller will be easy to adjust even during a ride.

The final element weighing in the decision is that there won't be any import duty issues with the American made Hot Grips™ product as a result of the North American Free Trade Zone.

So that's it! It's Hot Grips™ for David's Vespa! I placed the order with, a motorcycle accessories distributor recommended by the manufacturer. Hot Grips™ doesn't ship directly to Canada since it's a 50 minute return trip to the post office from the plant in Plainfield New Hampshire.

I should add that when I ran into some issues when I attempted to place the order on Hot Grips™ website, and e-mailed the manufacturer, on Saturday evening, I got responses to my questions and the recommendation to order from from Jim Hollander at Hot Grips™ at 10:00 p.m. Now that's service!

Now all I have to do is wait for the package in the mail.

Don't you love waiting for stuff that's coming in the mail?   I do. There's that element of anticipation that just brings out my inner child.

I can understand how some people become addicted to online shopping.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Wishing all readers a happy and healthy 2012.


Dar suggested that it was a good idea to have an ICE entry in your cell phone (In Case of Emergency contact and vital information). My nephew had mentioned the same thing over dinner the other night.

If you have an Iphone, and if, like me, you must keep it locked to satisfy a corporate security policy, neither the ICE entry in your contacts or the ICE app (yes Virginia, there's an app for that) will be accessible should that emergency arise.

In an interesting twist, my wife lost her phone in the Aventura Mall here in Florida just a few days ago.  We were able to lock it remotely using the Icloud "locate my Iphone" feature after I posted a bunch of "Lost Iphone: if found, please call (XXX) XXX-XXXX" text messages to the phone.  The text messages did the trick and the phone was returned to us by a good Samaritan finder (also a Canadian).  Curiously, the Icloud lock and locate feature only kicked in after we retrieved the phone, and then wouldn't let us unlock the phone, necessitating a trip to the Apple store to restore the phone.  Kind of cool, kind of not.

If I had read Dar's post earlier, I might have done the following trick to my wife's Iphone and avoided the whole ICloud ordeal.

Here's a work around you can set up on your Iphone in seconds.

Use the Notes app to create an ICE entry, take a screen shot of it (hold the top on button and simultaneously press the home button) then set the screen shot as wallpaper for the lock screen.

Problem solved.

This is the easiest New Year's resolution to make and keep. Do this now, Iphone people.
The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.