Sunday, 11 September 2011

Windy, windy, road....

Ah, that's better. My leg muscles have finally unclenched.

Scooters have a heckuva lot more space to move your legs around than motorcycles. At least that's how I feel today.

But first, back up to yesterday.

So my current spouse and I drove into Vancouver and checked out Stella Metro. We had tried a week earlier and had wandered around in the store but couldn't find anyone. The note that said, "Back in 5 minutes," was apparently inaccurate.

Now Stella Metro happens to be in the same building as Vespa Metro but they can't share the same floor space so I had to go to the back of the building, apparently a different address, to see the Stella.

It is a gorgeous machine. This one was in old school refrigerator green but the styling screamed vintage Italian scooter (even if it is made in India). Excitedly, I handed over my Learner's (with the motorcycle skills endorsement) and exchanged that for the keys. I wheeled the Stella out of the building and up a ramp and then started it. It sounded great. Unfortunately I stalled it trying to get it going and then... it wouldn't start. The battery just couldn't give enough juice to start it up again. I'm hoping it was a problem with leaving the ignition on at some other point.

Disappointed, I left, but still grateful that I had a chance to at least sit on it.

Back to this morning.

My ride today started at 10 this morning. There were just 3 of us - Dave (the instructor), Charles (the other student) and me. Charles is close to completing the course and already has a 650 on order. Dave had him ride the Honda 600 that I had ridden before. Me? "Ride that Marauder 800," Dave said. *Gulp*!

We rode around town for a little while, getting used to the bikes ("Shoulder check!" "Intersection scan!") and then headed out on the highway.

On my Vespa, 65 km seems pretty fast. On the motorcycle, 85 km seemed similar to piloting a rocket! Don't get me wrong - I loved it! But I don't have the same secure feeling that I have with the Vespa - on the motorcycle I sort of feel like I'm riding a really fast horse under control that is ready to bolt in an attempt to commit suicide at any moment!

We ended up in Hatzic (I think) that had the twistiest and hilly roads I have seen. I kept up all right but this is where I was clenching badly. "Relax...." Dave said. Yeah, right!

After a half an hour of twisting and turning, we ended up at Hayward Lake for a break. Charles said that he really had fun on the twisty road and I agreed but secretly I was happy to be walking around instead of zooming around crappy roads that had (what I thought were) huge ditches. But I tried to look like I had had fun!

This link is from Youtube and shows some of the road we were on - I think!

We then headed back and I felt relaxed and strong during the final half hour or so.

Overall we had spent 3 hours on the road. I am getting more comfortable but still have to really work at relaxing and being less tense.

Next ride..... Tuesday evening!


Matt Maxwell said...

Dave -

What did you think of the Stella. Im always surprised with how big they actually are when you get around them... This is probably due to my lack of size-references when it comes to motorcycles or scooters but they still seem to fit us big guys fairly well.

When will your next test drive be? Im very interested in your thoughts and opinions when you finally get a chance.

So... Are you still a scooter guy... or is the motorcycle training swaying your thoughts?

Great blog.

American Scooterist Blog said...


Did you try to kick start on the Stella? I don't know how the modern four strokers are but the two strokers of yore were pretty compliant and never demanded anything even close to a hearty boot. Just a firm follow-through on the natural arc of the lever would get em to fire up. I had a 64GL. God, I don't miss that bike...


Dave Dixon said...


I liked the Stella from what I saw - it felt good to sit on it and I thought the styling was, oh, so retro cool. I'm just disappointed the thing wouldn't start!

I like the motorcycle but I still love the scooter - it's fun to ride all these big bikes but my heart is in scootering - I think!


I did try to kick start but maybe I was doing it wrong? I've kickstarted my Vespa a couple times (when I first owned it) but had no luck with the Stella -and I didn't want to wreck anything!