Category Archives: scoot

Like, love, LUST…

I’ve got good news and bad news.

Good news first?

I finished my pro-girl scootering site. This means you non-scooter types will no longer be bored to tears reading about my latest forays into the underworld of Frankenstella.

The bad news? I’m taking some time off from Volumefreak to work on it. School’s out for summer… you know how it goes.

But wait – there’s more… I’ve migrated joyfulthing.diaryland.com into the archives, so you now have six years worth of my self-aggrandizing prose to entertain yourself, should you suffer withdrawal. More likely, you’ll do something constructive with your extra twenty minutes a week.

And now I present to you, my finest achievement yet in both CSS design and uber-passionate content: Scooter Lust!

Oh, and one last thing – if you’re in the Seattle area, you should totally come to the All City Scooter Community Day on Saturday at noon. And I’m not just saying that because I built the web site.

Keep the rubber side down.

>^,,^<

Check Out the Rack on Her!

rack

I got a new front rack for Aphrodite. She wears it well, the bling. I said with finality, “Okay — I’m done putting stuff on this scooter. I’m serious.” And my friends laughed and reminded me that there are no further accessories available.

The rack is utilitarian – not simply for chrome effect. Though I can’t say I mind the sparkle. I installed it myself – do I get a gold star? Last night I went to pick up some flats of flowers to plant on the veranda of the Aloha Cabana, and strapped them to the rack. I should have taken a photo because it was quite picturesque. Daisies in the basket of my scooter like an old Italian postcard.

I finally got a Corazzo riding jacket, after much ado. I’ve been trying them on for a year now. Obviously, female scooterists are all miniature, so none of the jackets made it past my elbows or covered my navel. I tried them on over and over, growling each time. I contacted Corazzo and asked if they could make me custom jacket, and they couldn’t. So I went down to Vespa Seattle every other week, hoping my arms shrank and my waist got shorter during the winter months. I tried on all the boy’s jackets, too. The only boy’s jacket that fit was the The Max, which is super-insulated and would be overkill in the summer – even in the Pacific Northwest.

The problem is that men’s jackets are not proportioned for a girl’s figure – imagine that! – and riding jackets have to fit snugly, with the armor lined up appropriately at shoulders and elbows. They also need to be comfortable when you’re stretched out in riding position. So if the men’s jacket fit in the waist, it was too tight across the chest, and if the arms were long enough, the shoulders made me look like a football player. It was just all kinds of wrong.

I even tried on a few different jackets up at Vespa Eastside, thinking they might fit better in Woodinville. (The altitude is different.) No go. When I was back at Vespa Seattle last week whining about my predicament, Tina offered to contact Corazzo and see if she could pull some strings. She’s good like that.

Well, Corazzo still couldn’t custom sew me any new attire, but they sent Tina a men’s Speedway jacket that is two inches longer in the waist and arms, and slimmer fitting in the shoulders. She called to tell me about it and 15 minutes later I was down there trying it on. It fit! It’s a miracle!

On a semi-unrelated note, one of the requirements for employment at Vespa Seattle must be stunning good looks. Everyone who works there is hot. Like, hello I-forgot-what-I-was-going-to-say hot. It blows my mind every time I’m there. What a fabulous marketing tactic.

My new jacket is electric blue, to match my scooter, with white stripes. It makes me look like Speed Racer. And get this – it makes my bike faster! At the Westenders ride on Monday I was talking to Nate, who got a new black GTS, and he’d put racing stripes on it. I told him it looked really sharp – and faster. He smiled and told me earnestly, “The racing stripes actually do make it faster!” His conviction was the cutest thing ever. I nodded wholeheartedly in agreement. When I put my new Speed Racer gear on and took a spin, I realized this magical law of physics also applies to jackets.

Now I’m super reflective and fully armored. A girl’s got to protect her rack. It’s not just for bling, you know.

NOW! With 50% more bling!

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I thought it would be wise to get the crash bars on the Vespa ASAP, considering the fate of the Frankenstella — that scooter went down three times while the crash bars were still lying limp and useless on my garage floor. I was determined to install the chrome on the Vespa myself, not only to avoid the $90/hr labor, but because I can. Oh yes, I can.

Of course, what should have been a two hour affair dragged on for three weekends due to lack of proper tools (Vice grip? Ginormous allen wrench?!) and the loss of a nut. Now I understand the old adage “for want of a nail the war was lost”. That singular piece of hardware put a wrench in the machine, as it were, of the whole installation. The nut rolled off somewhere — perhaps into the storm drain — never to be found again. I had already installed half of the crash bars on the other side, so I rode around for a week sporting only 50% bling.

I tried to pick up a replacement at three different hardware stores, but of course it was a certified Vespa® nut and engineered specifically for the 2007 GTS left cowl. I finally bit the bullet and rode all the way down to Big People Scooters to pick up a replacement nut so I could finish the job.

Orin provided some tools and brute force, for which I am grateful, as I am lacking in the brute force department. The chrome was not quite at the right angle so the placards had to be bent with the vice grip in order to match it to the bolt on the cowl. The left cowl chrome is a little too bent, over-projecting from the bike an inch, but that is both subtle and fixable.

v_windscreen

The wind screen was the trickier part because it involved so much assembly and came with so few directions. The directions that were provided were (poorly) translated from Italian and contained hand-drawn not-to-scale diagrams that had been photocopied a million times. This was no illustrated Ikea “how to”. But I figured it out, mostly with the assistance of Click’s windscreen as a model. The windscreen I installed is one size larger and works quite well at deflecting wind, rain and road-spray from my face and chest.

All in all I’m quite pleased with the results. And I highly recommend the DIY method of scooter maintenance, especially for non-critical items like this. I learned a ton. And the Vespa is all shiny!
I’ve been admonished that “chrome won’t get you home” — but damn if you don’t look good en route…

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Vespeuphoria

sundee

In a Lingonberry carb coma. Photo by Orin. More pics of Operation Flapjack here.

Okay so my lean, mean Vespa machine was returned to me. Aphrodite is back on the road, and though I’m still crossing my fingers each time I start the ignition, it appears she’s done throwing battery tantrums. Each time I start her up, I get a jolt of gleeful surprise — the same feeling I got when my Stella was still outside my apartment each morning, parked in auto-theft central. Yay! It’s still there! Now I clap excitedly to myself: Yay! It still starts!

I’ve learned to keep expectations low and celebrate the small victories.

Sunday I went on the first half of the Operation Flap-jack ride, including breakfast at the Swedish Cultural Center. I ate many pancakes with strange berries on them. Then I rode around Green Lake and across one of my favorite neighborhoods — Phinney Ridge. I absolutely love that stretch. I used to ride it several times a week when I was working regularly at Cat City — from Westlake to 85th via Fremont Ave. and Phinney. Views, parks, long flat stretches of new pavement. It was a good day.

Now that I’ve put about 300 miles on the Vespa, I’ve been able to draw some comparisons between this and the various other scooters I’ve ridden. The GTS is the creme of the crop — a five-star scooter, the Jaguar of the scooter world, if you ask me. Vespa calls the GTS “The Fastest Vespa Ever.” I would also call it the safest Vespa ever. Not that I need to rationalize anything, but purchasing the GTS was definitely a wise move.

As a disclaimer, I am in no way an expert on safety, scootering — or really anything other than, say, cats and indie rock. I am speaking solely from my own experience, which is very limited. That said, I’ve been riding since ’99 and I’ve never had an accident. (Although I have dropped the Frankenstella twice this winter, both times going 5 miles an hour on precarious road conditions.) I really like this article from Motorcyclist Online, 50 Ways to Save Your Life. There’s also places like the Evergreen Safety Council who can provide you with actual legitimate information. Consider my input totally editorial.

Riding a scooter in the city is dangerous. There’s no two ways about it. You have to pay attention constantly, ride defensively, and assume that every single car on the road is going to hit you. You are literally invisible. Even wearing my new Glo Glovs, even with my white 3/4 helmet lit up by 3M Solas marine grade reflective tape, even with the dual halogen headlamps on the GTS, I am invisible. But as long as I accept that, I can ride as safely as possible. This means at every intersection, I assume the oncoming car is going to turn left in front of me, that the car next to me is going to change lanes into me, that the SUV hurtling down the hill to my right is going to run that red light. Even if drivers do see you, they misjudge your speed because you’re smaller than a car, particularly if you’re heading toward them. That’s one of the reasons why many two-wheeled collisions with a car involve the driver turning left in front of the bike, even if they saw the rider — even if they made eye contact.

For the way I ride, it’s not the open roads or speed that I’m too concerned about. It’s intersections, it’s heavy traffic with lots of lane-changing, it’s long stretches of construction without clearly marked lanes, enormous steel plates covering the road with zero traction in the rain. Some people argue that because the GTS is capable of highway speeds, it is therefore more dangerous. That’s totally flawed logic.

Compared to my previous scooters, the Vespa GTS has the following safety features: better brakes, larger wheels, stronger acceleration, brighter headlights, louder horn, lower center of gravity, and all-around better handling.

There are three ways to avoid obstacles or danger on a scooter — speed up, slow down, and/or swerve. You have to make split-second decisions on which is appropriate in any given situation, based on who’s behind you, who’s in front of you, what the road surface is like, and how fast you’re going (and myriad other factors). On the Stella, I tended to brake and/or swerve to avoid danger because I just couldn’t move fast enough to get out of the path of the obstacle. Particularly with the hesitation in 3rd and 4th gear. The torque on the GTS is unbelievable and I can easily throttle my way out of situations instantly. And I don’t have to shift before accelerating. It makes riding so much more enjoyable.

Stopping on the GTS is smooth and fast. Compared to both the Stella and my Honda Elite 250, the brakes on the Vespa are a million times better. The Elite was 20 years old, so I did replace the brakes with new ones. But I still had to stand up on the foot brake to stop on Denny. The GTS has no foot brake, which was disconcerting at first (and I occasionally slam my foot into the floorboard for no particular reason), but with both brakes on the handgrips, I found I could maintain better balance when stopping. On the other scooters I would need to hold my right leg at an awkward angle to use the foot brake — I don’t know if I sit weird or it’s because my legs are so long. With both feet braced flat on the floorboard, stopping on a hill is much more comfortable on the GTS. Plus the GTS has disc brakes both front and back. The Stella and the Elite have front disc brakes and rear drum brakes. Hence the standing-up-to-stop maneuver.

As an added stopping bonus, the GTS is fuel injected so engine-braking kicks in fast if you don’t give it gas. When riding in the city, I often don’t even need my brakes if I leave room in front of me.

The GTS halogen headlight is wicked bright, and there’s a second headlamp on the mudguard for increased visibility. The stock headlight on the old Stellas are inadequate at best. Luckily, adding a halogen headlight is one of the things Genuine improved upon for the new Stellas coming out this year (along with a decent crank). Of course, the Frankenstella’s electrical system was so royally screwed that I rode with practically no lights or signals for a good few months. (See safety disclaimer above.)

The GTS is a very heavy scooter. The weight was the one thing I was concerned about when comparing models during pre-purchase research. My Elite 80cc weighed 170 lbs., while the GTS weighs 326 lbs. In between are the Stella, at 240 lbs., and the Elite 250cc, at 287 lbs. Forty pounds difference between my largest bike and the GTS didn’t seem like much, especially since I carried a 170 lb. passenger every day on the Elite 250. And I easily weighed at least 40 lbs. more than I do now.

I talked to Tina at Vespa Seattle about the weight differences among the models, LX150, GT and GTS. She said I wouldn’t even notice it. And I don’t — except when I’m parking. Or putting the GTS on its center stand, on top of my big toe. Because the weight is distributed so well on the GTS, and the center of gravity is so low, the bike is perfectly balanced. Once you give it some throttle, the weight disappears. The bike feels like it’s made out of graphite.

After riding the GTS for awhile, I got back on the Stella, and could instantly feel the difference in the center of gravity. The Stella felt downright tipsy. Maybe that’s why I keep putting it down.

I’ve been entertaining myself by blowing people away at lights — particularly when they inch up alongside me and I know they’re going to try and pass me when the light changes green. They see a girl in a skirt on a cute little scooter and get their panties in a bunch that they’re going to be “stuck” behind me. So I leave them there to reconsider. It’s juvenile and unnecessary but I have to get my rocks off when I can. On Aphrodite, I’m no commuting secretary — I’m a superhero in civilian clothing.

In summary, I am totally, fully and completely smitten with the Vespa GTS. In the words of Ferris Bueller, “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. ”

Raising the Dead

scoots2

I returned from class on Saturday via the bus, exceedingly motion sick, to find both Orin and Celeste the Frankenstella awaiting my return. The two had spent the day together and after some pleading, tweaking, and I’m sure, threatening, Orin convinced the Frankenstella that she indeed desired to be on the road, cruising in the open air, basking in the sunshine.

The Frankenstella’s story is an unbelievable tale fraught with so much intense emotion that I’ve tired of even discussing it. Especially among my scooterless friends, who simply don’t understand the level of involvement I have with Celeste. I had so much invested in that bike that I decided the best plan of action would be to take her off the road, restore her to showroom condition, and retire her to my garage, perhaps taking her out on sunny days for a spin around the lake. Hence the purchase of the new Vespa. I had totally and completely written her off as a viable form of transportation.

Then, of course, came the unfortunate chain of evens involving the new Vespa, wherein I rode it for three days and it has since been in the shop undergoing diagnostics because it will not start. Three days on the road for every ten days in the shop is my historical ratio with scooters, and this one is no different.

At Soundspeed on Friday, I was advised that riding the Frankenstella in her current state was dangerous. She only performed well with wide-open-throttle and often died in fourth gear. The idle would race psychotically when in neutral, and sometimes it would race in gear uphill and continue to accelerate until I removed the keys from the ignition. My Stellaspeed Forum posts for help resulted in the diagnosis of an air leak, which I didn’t want to hear, because I didn’t know how to fix it. Jeb offered to keep the scooter for a while and figure out what was wrong, but I was sick and tired of dealing with mechanics and couldn’t reconcile leaving two scooters at two different shops while I continued my adventures on foot. Again.

So I rode Celeste home, using the kill switch and the brakes, crossing my fingers that the engine was running rich and not lean, so it wouldn’t seize while doing 45 m.p.h. on Westlake.

This was the state of affairs on Saturday when I got on the bus for class. And when I returned home, Celeste had been revived and sat brightly pop-pop-popping in my driveway. It had been an air leak after all, resulting from the Sito-plus exhaust installation. Orin’s PX was showing similar symptoms, and he fixed that, so he was able to fix the Frankenstella as well.

I took her for the test route – Montlake loop up the backside of Capitol Hill. She cleared her throat and growled, didn’t hesitate in third or fourth, and each time I pulled in the clutch or put her in neutral, the idle returned to normal — an unsteady heartbeat, rather than the usual rollercoaster on acid.

I was afraid to talk about it too much, or look directly at it, like the sun threatening to burn out my eyes if I paid too much attention. So I invested very little energy in the restoration, even though I wanted to throw a party and string purple lights across the scooter and ride it down Broadway blasting “I’m Walking on Sunshine!” from a boombox strapped to the rear rack. Instead I parked her in the garage and turned off the light.

But Sunday she started right up again, first kick, an arrhythmic pop-popitty-pop to greet me in the early morning. So I rode to Edmonds with Orin, tool kit in my glove box, AAA card in my wallet.
She didn’t falter. Not a hiccup. Barreled on down the road, coasted contentedly, returned to a leisurely idle when left to her own devices. I was, and still am, amazed.

My only consistent issue, which I’ve had for quite a while, is that the Sito+ pipe increases the gear range. When I’m riding with a group, most of the roads seem to be 35 m.p.h. zones. That’s the exact speed at which the Frankenstella wants to shift from third to fourth. So if we’re traveling at 35, I’m either winding it out in third or glugging in the bottom of fourth. Neither is comfortable. It’s a bit frustrating. She just wants to go fast. All the time. Who can blame her?

The resurrection of Frankenstella requires a bit of a schema shift, as I had written that bike off and established some new rules about The Way the World Works. I’m learning these rules must be fluid — in fact, they are not rules at all. And situations in my life are constantly under flux, so I should let them ebb and flow, even though it makes me extremely nervous to not have an Excel spreadsheet to guide me through everything.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned out of the past six months is the importance of community. While I was raised vigilantly to be completely self-sufficient, I don’t think that’s the best way to go through this world. It’s satisfying to know I can get along just fine on my own if the need arises, but I’d like to change my default setting. It blows my mind how much generosity, help and support I’ve gotten from my friends and Westenders family through my many trials and tribulations with this silly scooter. As my new favorite motto goes, “It takes a village to raise a Stella.”

Here are some photos I took during the ride to Edmonds. Edmonds is pretty. It smells like pine. You should go.

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boy

sailboat

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scoots

Birthday Pity Party & You’re Invited

tow

The avuncular driver from AAA who picked up my new Vespa for its second tow this week was so nice that my bitter sarcasm was totally lost on him. After I realized this, I stopped being such a bitch and tried to let him cheer me up.

“Oh, no no no — no crying allowed,” he said, visibly concerned. I tried not to. I really did. But as I sat in the front seat of the tow truck, watching my scooter in the rearview mirror bob and weave on the flat-bed as we lurched down Airport Way, the tears just overtook me.

“It’s my birthday,” I said sullenly. I was missing my class. I parked downtown to grab a bite before school and when I returned to my Vespa, it sat stony and silent on 6th Ave, unresponsive to key or ignition.
“Really?!” he cried, “It’s my fiancé’s birthday too! What a coincidence! Wow! That’s so great! A week after Valentine’s Day!” He was so nice. I felt bad crying in his truck. He told me animatedly that he had left his fiancé at Tulalip Casino at 10:30 that morning for her birthday, and eight hours later she was still there, having a blast, playing the slots.

I asked him what would happen if the scooter fell off the back of the truck, because I figured that was the next step in my obvious karmic disaster. “That would never happen,” he assured me. “I have VERY good truck karma.” Great, I said — maybe it will compensate for my previous life as a blood-sucking cockroach.
“Oh no, you have good karma. You broke down in a well-lit area of downtown, and that space opened up on the street right as I pulled up to park. You could have broken down on the side of the highway. That’s the worst thing ever. It could have been really late.”

He was right. But I’m not buying that argument easily these days.

He said, “Well okay, if it falls off the back of the truck, you have insurance, so you can just replace it with a new one! You could even get another color if the blue isn’t working out for you. Maybe the blue’s bad luck.”

“Maybe I should have gotten the yellow one.”

“Yes — lemon yellow! Lemon, wait — that might be a sensitive word right now. Sorry.”

He talked jovially the whole way and I stopped crying. His joy in life, he said, came from helping others, so driving a tow truck was the perfect job for him. “If your friend isn’t there yet when I drop you off, I can take you someplace else — someplace safe.” Georgetown is sketchy during the day; at night, it’s downright frightening. He’s not supposed to provide taxi service, but he’s a nice guy, and he likes to bend the rules if it means helping a damsel in distress.

We arrive at Big People Scooters without incident, though I could have used a couple Valium. The shop is closed for the night and totally deserted. As we unloaded the scooter, my friend arrived to pick me up. The driver’s fiancé called to check in and update him on her winnings, and he handed me the phone so we could wish each other a happy birthday. I should have just hit the casino with her.

Today I returned to BPS to drop off the key. I had my fingers crossed when I pulled into the parking lot, hoping the Vespa would still be there. It was. I had hidden it behind a big electrical box against the building, and it was still safely stowed. Maybe my karma is making a comeback.

They said they’re going to keep it over the weekend (in cycle shop terms, this means “till Tuesday or Wednesday” since everybody is closed Sundays and Mondays here — slackers). He said they’d replace the whole electrical if they needed to. I guess the big question is, WhyTF would they need to?
In order to stay sane, I need to recount the positives — I broke down in a safe place, I had a nice tow truck driver, I had many friends offering to pick me up, and I ate an enormous piece of German chocolate cake.
I would like to take this opportunity to publicly praise AAA. I know I’ve said it before that it was the best $60 I ever spent, but I am SO serious. (It cost me $60 to add cycle coverage to my existing account; it’s a total of $119 per year.) My dad got me a membership when I turned 16, and I’ve kept it ever since. It’s the greatest invention ever.

Especially if you were a blood-sucking cockroach in a past life.

Magnolia Sunshine

magnolia

Took this today at Magnolia Park. Every time I think I’ve seen the most beautiful thing Seattle has to offer up, I get a whole new view. This sunshine seems as rare as tonight’s Lunar Eclipse. I’m enjoying both.
Oh and I’ve decided to trade in “sick” days for “scooter” days. Sorry boss — I’ve got wanderlust today. And it’s pretty serious.

Renton/Zen

This weekend was red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. It was your favorite pair of jeans. An electric thunderstorm ending a draught. Four cherries on your scratch-off ticket. Flawless, like the duck — perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

A memory resurfaced this morning in the cafe, a strange correlation made by my sleepy mind. The image I remembered was one of those golden moments when you’re afraid to move or breathe or change anything because at that second, the entire world is so perfect you don’t want to scare it away. Moments of fleeting bliss. Zen moments.

Queue this song: Luna: Ride Into the Sun.

I remembered a Sunday spring afternoon long ago, zipping down Storrow Drive on my little white scooter, cute blue-eyed boy riding on the back, en route to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. It was late afternoon, the time when the sun descends from the sky and shoots gold all over the trees. I smiled into the rays. I knew we were both hearing the same music playing in our heads — the boy and I — it was Luna’s cover of the Velvet Underground song “Ride Into the Sun,” and I could hear it clearly as if it were being piped in through my little white helmet. We rode that stretch of parkway in a breath of bliss, nothing but sunshine and Luna, the Charles River, open road. A perfect moment, savored. I smiled and thought, “I could die right now and be so happy.”

I don’t remember if the Red Sox won that night, but I remember coming out of the stadium to find my little white scooter missing. The next day I would be called down to identify the body, opening the glove compartment to let the water and seaweed spill out. She had been found floating in the Charles River. The Kryptonite lock was still through the wheel, which meant she had been lifted and carried to the Mass Ave Bridge by some drunk Yankees fans, and thrown off into the icy depths of the dirty river.

That was a decade ago.

Yesterday was shamelessly delicious. We rode to Renton, this long stretch of dusty road past Boeing, holiday deserted. The sun warmed my face and I basked — it felt like it had been months since I’d seen daylight. Aphrodite skimmed the pavement effortlessly, vibrationless, nearly silent, and I was free to simply enjoy the ride — no shifting, no pleading with her to top 50 mph, wondering if the engine was going to explode around the next bend.

After Renton we climbed up to Alki, riding along the beach, every mountain within 100 miles pushing its snowy shoulders above the water for us. We looped West Seattle at a languid pace. Coasting along the waterfront, sunshine on my face, warm, with a bellyful of lunch, I realized my head was totally silent. I was not planning, not analyzing, not trying to make sense of anything, or capture my experience in words. I was not replaying or practicing or archiving. I just… was. I soaked in the moment, the air, captured it with my skin, savored it on my tongue. It was a pure moment of Zen. And I thought, “I could die right now and be so happy.”

The glow persisted for the rest of the afternoon, and though my head predictably turned the volume back up, I didn’t have much material to work with. Good friends, new scooter, perfect apartment, good job with a fat raise, fulfilling school, I’m healthy, I’m sane — there’s not a single thing I would change right now, if I could. So I’d review that list, reassuring myself, making the dialog quiet down again, so it could just become waves in Puget Sound, and mountains in the sky, and sun making the metallic midnight blue Vespa sparkle like a chariot.

When I returned home in the early evening to pick up some items and venture back out, the scooter would not start. The LCD display sputtered and the engine clicked and whirred, and then silence. I checked the kill switch, which has a habit of getting pushed in when you put the seat up. I made sure the brakes were in. I checked the oil. I checked the sparkplug. I tried again. No dice. Aphrodite, my three-day-old scooter, was dead.

See, I don’t want to become one of those people who really believes that when things seem too good to be true, they are. I want to believe I deserve a shot at happiness. I felt like the universe was getting back at me for having such a great day. “For every action, an equal and opposite reaction.” But that can’t be true, can it? I’m trying to hang onto the other maxim, “shit happens.” Sometimes, shit’s timing is not so great. In this case, I’m glad I got to enjoy Monday so fully before the shit happened, and I’m grateful the shit happened in my driveway and not in Renton.

I was paralyzed by the irony of riding the Frankenstella out to Greenwood last night for dinner. The scooter I forcefully abandoned because I know an abusive relationship when I see one. She took me all the way out to 120th without incident, and then home, in the pitch black night, over the Ballard Bridge which smelled like the sea, all along 15th to Denny, where I rode past Vespa Seattle, gazing through the showroom window and grinding my teeth in frustration.

Big People Scooters came this morning and picked up the immobilized Aphrodite, loaded her on a trailer next to another midnight blue Vespa (though an LX150), and I watched her disappear around the corner. I returned sullenly to work. My friends are trying to convince me that the coincidences are just that — but my sister can recommend a good exorcist for the Frankenstella.

Luckily, it appears Aphrodite suffered only from a dead battery, which I imagine was from sitting in the showroom for so long. Lots of people have cited the stock battery in the GTS as total crap, and recommend replacing it as soon as you get the bike home. Well, she’s got a new battery now, and I’ll have them examine the charging system to make sure that’s working; I’m not totally comfortable with the fact that I rode nearly 200 miles over the weekend and the battery didn’t charge. But she’ll be due for her first service in a week or two, based on my current weekend adventures.

I’m hitting the restart button. Control + R. Refresh. Clean slate. “Coincidences” bedamned. From here on out, it will be smooth sailing. Or scooting. Maybe it’s all the X-files I’ve been watching, but, I want to believe.