Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Resume Service

My sister-in-law's company was recently sold and she found herself out of a job. After looking at a bunch of resume services online, she tried resume writers and got an interview for a great job within a couple of weeks. Still waiting to see if she will get the job, but thought I'd pass the referral along.
10% off. Coupon Code at Checkout: newjob

Friday, June 02, 2006

Good luck, Vespa Twins

photoIn what may turn out to be the ride of a lifetime or a lifetime in hell, two brothers (Jack and Cespu) are bisecting Australia on a pair of 80's Vespa.
The idea was to ride all over the Australian’s coasts, but not together, a solo trip. They would leave together form Adelaide, Jack to West direction, Cespu East way, and finally they would meet again after some months in the North of the Continent to celebrate their 30th birthday together.
Seeing how Australia is one of my favorite places, I wish the pair good luck and will be following the progress on their web site.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Breaking News from NPR

Yesterday on Morning Edition, NPR ran a story about a growing trend. It seems that with gas prices at all-time highs, some people are thinking about trading in their gas-guzzling SUVs in favor of....wait for it....Scooters!
When a hummer drives up to NoHo Scooters in North Hollywood, Calif., owner Mike Frankovich is no longer surprised. With big jumps in gas prices, sales are skyrocketing at scooter shops around the nation. After all, a small Vespa can get as much as 90 miles per gallon.
Not really to fault NPR, but it seems that everybody and their brother is writing about high gas prices and scooters. Good thing I would never stoop to something as derisive as that.

That out of the way, I have a couple of nits to pick with the story. The first is an assertion that it will take 4 years of gas savings to pay for the scooter. While this may technically be true, it does not account for other savings and benefits that make scooters more attractive. Forget for a moment about the adrenaline rush, fun, culture and environmental benefits. Also forget for a moment the risks of driving something much smaller than the tanks driven by the cell phone distracted hords on the road; instead look at it from a purely financial model.

Say your commute is 30 miles round trip and the price of gas is in the $3 per gallon range. Depending on the car you are driving you can expect a gas only savings of $1,200 - $1,700 per year. Now what if you don't need that SUV any more (perhaps you can get by on one less car), this might net you a savings of $300-$500 per month. What about insurance? Dropping a car from our policy saved around $100/mo while adding a scooter was around $30, chalk up another $70 per month. Even if you are not able to sell the second car, there are still real savings in decreased mileage, wear and tear, etc.

The second nit is related to safety and doesn't have anything to do with NPR, but rather the owner of the North Hollywood scooter dealer featured in the story, who repeated the old saw:
There are two type of motorcycle [and scooter] riders out there. Those who have crashed and those who will crash.
I don't dispute the fact that the more you ride, the more opportunites you have to get into an accident (the same can be said for driving a car, taking the train or crossing the street). Rather it is the fatalistic tone and the suggestion that safety is somehow outside of our control.

Admittedly I haven't been at this scooter stuff for all that long, but in my life I have met both longtime riders who have not had an accident well as some good riders who have had several.

What do you think? Are accidents an inevitable part of riding or can care, training and luck keep the accidents at bay?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Scootin' around high gas prices

I know I shouldn't. I know I should be more dignified and understanding of other people's pain. I know all of this, but I still can't help feeling more than a little smug when I pull up to the pump with Vinnie.

Take this morning for example, despite the needle persistently pointing to "E" for the past couple of days, I had put off getting gas. Since I had been pushing my luck for two days, I figured I better pull into the station. So I hang a louie into the gas station.

Beside me there is a guy with a big SUV. He has this look that I imagine as being somewhere between horror and resignation. I lifted the seat, insert the credit card and in less than two minutes and about $5, I'm ready to hit the road. As I get back on the bike, I glance over my shoulder and notice the SUV guy watching me rather than the dollars going into his tank. Still, I know I shouldn't (karma will get me), but I can't help feeling a little smug as I pull out of the station.

There is no doubt that soaring gas prices are sparking more interest in all things two wheels, especially scooters and mopeds.

Four years later, Mr. Biek is still hooked. "Once you ride one, you have to have one," he says. "It's consumed my entire life, and I have no real explanation for it."

The moped and its bigger, flashier cousin, the scooter, are swarming out of Jimmy Carter's America and into George W. Bush's republic - a movement propelled by soaring gasoline prices surpassing those of the late 1970s and by legions of Americans who take seriously the call for oil independence. If the serious intent is mixed with a little fun from "moped gangs" who call themselves the Heck's Angels [The Angry Bees] or the Hardly Davidsons, so much the merrier.

Ok, so maybe the original quote from the Christian Science Monitor didn't mention The Angry Bees, still the story about how high gas prices 'propel moped madness is an interesting read.

All smugness aside, saving money while reducing pollution and congestion are great things that factored into our decision to shift from cars to scooters as our primary transportation. The most compelling reason is feeling you get when zipping around town or down a country road.

If you have a scooter, moped or motorcycle do you feel a bit smug when pulling away from the gas station? If you don't have a bike, does the rising price of gas push you closer to getting one? Tell us about your experience by clicking the comments link below.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Vesparados

A funny scooter cartoon from the New Yorker (of all places). Click the link in the punchline below to see it. “The Vesparados” (Mexican outlaws riding motor scooters through the desert.).

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Just do as you're told

Hot on the heals of our post about the GPS on a Vespa installation, comes a story that is, well, frankly hard to believe.

In the most recent case, drivers passing through the village of Luckington have found themselves landing in the River Avon, by following a GPS-recommended route that pointed to a bridge that has been closed for a week. Despite warning signs on both sides of the road, and nothing but water straight ahead, local villagers have found themselves pulling an average of two cars a day out of the river for the past week. "When you ask what happened, they say, ‘My sat-nav told me it was this way,'" one resident told The Times.

It seems drivers (car drivers) in merry 'ole England are putting more trust in their onboard GPS than what they see out the windshield. Take a look at this article.

Lest you think that this is only a problem in one area, be sure to read about the same issue in the village of...wait for it... Crackpot. A local truck driver in Crackpot says:
"It's only a matter of time before something happens - and it's a 100ft drop over the edge."

It should come as no surprise that only those driving 4 wheels are affected by this insanity.

From the BBC about the problem in Crackpot (still giggling about the irony.)
From the London Times Online about the Luckington situation.


Monday, April 17, 2006

Don't stop for directions

Looking around the web you will see a fair number of discussions and pictures about attaching a GPS to your Vespa (and occasionally other scooter). Most people have done it to check the accuracy of the speedo. With many of these the installations range from those that make use of copious amounts of duct tape to nicer versions with only a little duct tape.

Here is a really cool custom installation of a Magellan RoadMate 760 on a spanking new fire-engine red 150cc Vespa. I am not sure if the RoadMate comes naturally in that color but the color match is great. -
Then I ran across this nifty install while browsing a gadget site. I'd love to have a similar install on Vinny. I'm not sure how useful it would be but it sure looks cool.


Mile high BBQ - a bit closer to heaven

On my last day in Denver, I had a couple of hours to kill, so I took at "stroll" to Erico Motor Sports, which is Denver's Vespa dealer.

Stroll isn't a word I use for a nearly 3-mile (rt) hike, but it was sunny so off I went. Erico is down an industrial road on the outskirts of downtown Denver and after passing a couple of art galleries and wholesale meat places, I found myself surrounded by Vespas (and Ducatis, at al). The dealership was nice and the people knowledgeable and helpful. I browsed around a bit looking for a present for my wife. We chatted a bit and I came away with a black messenger bag with half a dozen patches on it and a friendly reminder to give them a call should I want anything I can't find locally. Before leaving, they also reminded me that they rent scooters and it makes an easy way to see the town or to join a local club for a ride. Sounds like a good plan to me.

On my way back to the hotel, I passed a this hole-in-the-wall BBQ (see picture) place called Yazoo that had a line wrapped around inside and out the door. I'm always on the looking for good BBQ and if the line is any indication, I was in for a treat. When you finally make it up to the counter you have a dizzying array of choices, but when push came to shove, I went with the old standby, a half rack of pork ribs. I was a good choice and as I was sitting there chomping on the ribs, I couldn't help feeling that being in the Mile High city that I was a little closer to heaven.