Saturday, 22 September 2007

Scootercast (SCTRCST) Interview

Just a quick post to say that last week I had the privilege of being interview by Dave Mangano of the SCTRCST podcast.

I was a bit nervous about the interview but once I connected over Skype with Dave, his calm manner relaxed me and I was pretty happy with the result. Dave did a great job of editing and asked questions that I enjoyed answering.

He asked me mostly about my experiences with scootering and blogging and we spent a bit of time exploring a couple of recent posts including my flat tire and my trip to Lynden in the US.

Unfortunately, when Dave asked me about the scooting situation, I had to tell him that I didn't really know. I guess I'm just not ready to get involved in big rides. Maybe next summer.

By the way, the photo montage was made by Dave. Not the best photo of me, in that tiny little helmet (I only borrowed it for a test drive)!

If you go to the SCTRCST web site, it's Episode 28. And if you haven't already subscribed to Dave's show, please do - it's a very enjoyable half hour.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Flat Update

Just a quick post to say that, after $300 (new tire, labour and servicing) I once again have my Vespa.

The folks at Vespa Vancouver were great - it was actually ready yesterday but I needed a ride into the city to get it. There was no problem with any part of the repair (well, after I recovered from fainting from the price). As for the $300 - hey, I think I save almost $1000 in just insurance compared to another car, let alone payments, etc.

And now I can have fun again!

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Flat to School

Well, it was back to school last week.

After a summer of relaxing, some travelling, a bit of fixing up the house, extended family time and great guests, it was time to head back to the classroom.

As always, I looked forward to the first week with an odd mixture of dread, anticipation and excitement. Once I had my new students,. however, the dread subsided.

On the Vespa front, things were not as positive.

On the way to school on Thursday, it seemed to be going a bit slower. I thought about checking the tires but I didn’t have time.

When I left school that day, I went to an after school presentation on wellness put on by the district presented by Dr. Martin Collis. I hadn’t doubled anyone on the scooter for a while so when I doubled a teaching buddy, I was surprised that the scooter seemed a bit wild. On the way back from the presentation, I finally noticed that my rear tire was almost flat. I was luckily near a gas station so I filled the tire up with air and arrived home without incident.

Fast forward to Saturday. I downloaded a video on how to change the tire on a Vespa, gathered all the tools and studied the video. I then went out to my garage, thinking, I can do this! I arranged my tools and set my laptop on a shelf, set to the video.

Close to an hour later, I still hadn’t been able to get past the first step - removing the two screws that hold the exhaust system to the engine. My fingers are good for hanging on to things, squeezing things, and shaking hands, but they are not mechanic’s hands.

Disheartened, I slowly put back my tools, closed up my laptop, and shuffled back to the house.

I thought, instead of going into Vancouver to get it fixed, I’ll try someone local. I phoned up CR Cycle, the place where I’d first test driven a scooter. After salutations, the conversation went something like this.

“I have a Vespa scooter and I was wondering if you could fix a flat on the rear tire.”

“Well, a tire’s a tire, so we can fix it.”

“Great! Can you take it today?”

”No, we’re really busy so we wouldn’t get to it for two or three days.”

“OK. Can I drop it off today?”

“No, we don’t have room so you’ll have to make an appointment for when we have room.”

“OK. Look, if there’s a problem with the tire, can you replace it?”

“It depends if we have a suitable tire.”

“Well, do you?”

“I dunno.”

“OK. I’ll get back to you.”

Needless to say, I pumped up the tire, lashed my floor bike pump to the back bar of the scooter, and headed into Vancouver, stopping every fifteen minutes to refill the back tire. Of course, I was headed for the people at Vespa Vancouver. Although they weren’t able to work on it right away, they were happy to hold it there until they were able to fix it.

And now, I have to wait, Vespa-less for the first time in a year, until it is ready.