Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco Scooter Girls’

Kickin’ It Into Gear

April 9, 2014

Fourth gear that is.

Yes, I got the scooter up to 40 mph.

Vroom, vroom indeed.

I also learned how to put gas into the tank today.

Guess how much it cost to fill her up?




Granted the tank was about a third full, so it will cost more to fill her up if the tank is empty.

But guess how much it gets per gallon?

Somewhere between 100-109 miles per gallon.


Then there was this other thing that happened with it today.

I got my insurance taken care of.

I was referred to an agent by a friend who rides a scooter–also a Vespa–and I got the quote and a good driver discount from the agent of $154.36 for six months.


I am full on insured, licenced, registered and ready to rock and roll.

I still need loads of practice.

I still killed it once tonight.

But I am getting better.

I have to work on getting used to the brake on the right side of the scooter, which is on the floor of the Vespa and keep my foot more connected with it.

It’s not really comfortable to ride it that way, but I have to learn to let my foot hover over it.  I end up being a bit cramped up and sitting a little further back on the seat than I would like.

I was riding along really well, but my friend noticed that I was not engaging my rear brake fast enough.  So we pulled over by the DeYoung, how awesome to learn how to ride a scooter then by zipping around Golden Gate Park, and he showed me how to hover my foot over the brake more.

I got nervous about it and lost a little bit of the flow of the ride, but I will just keep practicing.

Practice, they say, makes perfect.

I practiced grinning a lot.

I am also going to go out again this week, Friday, with an old friend from back home who’s going to ride along with me on his Honda.

It really is exciting.

It is scary too.

Learning new stuff, not getting killed by large motor vehicles, or by flocks of bicycle racers whipping through Golden Gate Park in large groups doing training rides.

The cyclists were not gentle hearted riders training for the AidsLifeCycle Ride, no, they were serious cyclists, kitted out and riding hard, easily going 20-25 mph through the park.

I had to let them pass me at one point, I did not want to be in the midst of that.

I also crossed my first major intersection with lights.

“We’re going through,” my friend hollered at me, “you ready?”


I said and went anyway.


God, though, the park, so pretty, even with the thick fingers of fog filing in through the trees.  It really is such a gorgeous spot and I do feel incredible getting to learn in it, not too much traffic, rolling hills, riding past the bison in the paddock, the trees and flowers and the lakes, so much beauty.

Then dropped down to La Playa and there’s the ocean.

It was amazing to pull back into my block and see myself get off the scooter, secure it, tuck away my gloves, lock my helmet to the seat and take a big, deep breath, as well as pocket a SFSG flyer.

What’s that?

San Francisco Scooter Girls.

That’s right.

My friend gave me their flyer.

They are having a 10 year anniversary party on May 10th at the San Francisco Motorcycle Club on Folsom Street–right where I took my motorcycle safety class room portion of the course–I might just have to go.

I typically have a commitment on Saturday nights, but maybe I will ride down from Noe Valley and peep into the club and meet some new folks.

I would love to be a part of the organization.

They provide support for women learning how to ride as well as organizing socials and rides.

How much freaking fun would that be?

Ride out with a bunch of girls and terrorize the mean streets of San Francisco.

I am in.

The party is a few weeks out and fingers crossed, I will be up to riding cross town by that point.

I am going to keep practicing in my hood and eventually, not this week, but maybe once next week, I think I am going to try riding into my job in Cole Valley.

I don’t think that I will be quite ready to tackle the job in the NOPA–lots of morning commute traffic–or the job in the Castro–huge hills.

But sooner rather than later, I will.

It’s just a matter of time and I don’t think it’s going to be nearly as long as my brain tells me it will.

There are also a few supplies I want to get for the scooter–some gloves, plastic mechanic’s gloves, to keep in the little side compartment, so when I fill up the tank I am not getting gas on my hands.  I have to pay attention to pumping it in, as well as needing to mix a little two-stroke motorcycle oil in with the gas when I fill the tank.

Then there’s the need for a better placed rear view mirror.

And last, but not least, a net that I can put over the rear seat so that I can haul groceries back on it.

Oh groceries.

I can go over to Rainbow again.

I can get more than a messenger bag full of groceries.

I look forward to this, I do.

I also am just enjoying the ride.

Having fun, being silly.

Yelling at my friend as we turned a corner of road, “Bwack! Bwack!”

Now, to anyone over hearing me, I sound like a lunatic.

But it’s an inside joke that we have had running now for over seven years.

He and I and my friend Shadrach had seen this crazy martial arts movie years back and it was so bad it was good.

I mean, so bad.

The main character at some point or other Shanghai’s a scooter and is riding it like a madman through the streets screaming out “Bwack! Bwack!” as the pedestrians fling themselves to the side of the road.

We all fell out of our seats laughing.

And you couldn’t have told me then where my life would be now, nor that I would have a scooter.

All the little things that add up to today, even when today is not that huge a deal, it was just an hour and a half with my friend cruising around the park.

But it was the culmination of time and teeny tiny baby steps toward getting on the Vespa at all.

The journey has been amazing.

Can’t wait to see where it goes next.

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