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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sometimes Helping the Environment Looks Stupid as Poop

posted by on August 27 at 10:13 AM

I first had to deal with the fact in the subject line when I began sporadically riding a scooter. With the big round helmet on my big round head, perched on a shrimpy little scooter (that nevertheless can reach 65 MPH on the freeway), I look, quite literally, retarded. (If I don’t quite look like a legitimately developmentally disabled person, I at least look like I’m playing one in a movie.)

Things get more acute with addition of my fella Jake, who occasionally “rides bitch.” When the two of us are straddling that poor little scooter, I can’t help thinking of the world’s fattest twins crammed onto one wee bike. Passersby laugh at us. We understand, and laugh with them, for it is ridiculous. We call the scooter “My Gassy L’il Pony,” or, alternately, the Dignity Mobile. These are the sacrifices you make during a gas crisis/environmental emergency.

I tell you all this en route to reporting something I saw this past Saturday at University Village. In the parking lot, I watched as two of those couldn’t-be-tinier Smart Cars pulled in and parked right next to each other.

Out of each teensy car emerged one plus-sized person—one large man, one large woman, who walked away holding hands.

It was strangely sweet, despite the vague WALL•E vibe…

Anyway, if you see me out-and-about on a scooter, feel free to point and laugh. It’s for the environment.

RSS icon Comments


I think about the World's Fattest Twins at least once a day.

Posted by Lindy | August 27, 2008 10:11 AM

Gassy L'il Pony? Fucking awesome.

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | August 27, 2008 10:21 AM

Ahhh, totally pics or it didn't happen.

No seriously, where's the photos?

Posted by Lurker | August 27, 2008 10:24 AM

I look fierce on my scooter. It's not fast, but it has style and it's the new reality - there seem to be twice as many out there as last summer. I will accept laughter from those who ride BMWs, Harleys or Triumphs, but screw pedestrians and losers riding rice rockets.

Posted by joe's cousin jerry | August 27, 2008 10:24 AM

Smart Cars aren't electric, not even close.

Posted by Todd | August 27, 2008 10:24 AM

I think the U.S. only has the gas powered Smart Cars.

Posted by Vika | August 27, 2008 10:26 AM

To those that might ask, no, you don't gain back any dignity you lose driving a smart car when you park it in some tiny place.

Posted by harold | August 27, 2008 10:26 AM

I'll take a fruity scooter over a noise spewing, low class, whiskey tango foxtrot Harley any day of the week.

Posted by john cocktosin | August 27, 2008 10:27 AM

5: Thanks, fixed.

Posted by David Schmader | August 27, 2008 10:27 AM

I get called Lloyd Christmas on a routine basis when I'm in my 1985 Honda Spree.

Posted by Jake | August 27, 2008 10:38 AM

So when this couple travels together in their matching Smarts, they're getting worse gas mileage than my dumpy Toyota.

Posted by Fnarf | August 27, 2008 10:39 AM

Okay, let me get this right. They bought the little Smart cars, presumably to save gas. But they're so fat they each have to drive one? WTF??!!

Posted by seattle mike | August 27, 2008 10:40 AM

if they're driving 2 smart cars at a time, they might as well rape mother nature.

Posted by max solomon | August 27, 2008 10:51 AM

Scooty-Puff-Jr. sucksssss............

Posted by vooodooo84 | August 27, 2008 10:51 AM

i think i've seen that couple! i assumed they were on break from the circus.

Posted by sonic | August 27, 2008 10:58 AM

I sometimes get pawed at and asked for dates by fellow women when I'm wearing my motorcycle gear while running errands. I love the gleam in people's eyes when they learn I ride a scooter. And I love it when they ask me about gas mileage, or how easy it is to ride, or how fast I can take it on the freeway (95mph).

The Harley riders stop laughing when I show them the first aid kit, scooter accessories, groceries, laundry and library books I can stash under my seat.

Posted by i love my scoot commute | August 27, 2008 10:59 AM

is it really that hard to surmise that they might have driven to that location from different places?

Posted by Bon Scott | August 27, 2008 11:00 AM


Look, the only way to look cool on a scooter is to stop being American and start being European.

Dress, act, accessorize. Don't get a typical navy blue scooter, get one that's zebra striped or hot pink or pop psychedelic swirls. Don't wear a normal helmet, get an ultra mod one and PAINT it with day glo, and buy the raddest goggles you can find.

Only then can you cruise on your scooter and do well.

Here endeth the lesson.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 27, 2008 11:01 AM

I ride my scooter all the time. 80mpg is nothing to scoff at, plus it's just plain fun. And yes, I kind of look like a dork in that helmet. And yes, the jackasses in their massive SUVs laugh at me. But I don't care. Because they're jackasses in their massive SUVs. :)

Posted by Afreet | August 27, 2008 11:05 AM

There is no reason to look like a retard while getting 60+ mpg. Just get a small-engine real motorbike, preferably vintage. My baby Joan cost half what a new Vespa ET4 does and is faster and so, so much prettier. I rode scoots for almost a decade, and the shift to a real bike is like a whole new world.

Posted by juris | August 27, 2008 11:29 AM

In an episode of German Johnny Carson in the 1990's ("Wetten, dass...?"), they managed to cram 20? maybe it was 20, high school students of all sizes into one Smart car, on a bet. They started by folding the smallest cheerleaders into where your feet go.

That may have been the same episode that featured guests Neil Diamond, the Scorpions, Ivana Trump and Michael Jackson, who they couldn't even get to sit in a chair he was so crazy.

Posted by Amelia | August 27, 2008 11:40 AM

@18 - Is Will in Seattle really the Uptight Seattleite?

Posted by Sue Ann | August 27, 2008 11:41 AM

A pair of Smart Cars. Trendy, but lame. Combined, they get worse milage than my midsized 4 door wagon.

A pair of scooters, on the other hand, still get better milage than a single Smart Car.

Scooters for the win.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | August 27, 2008 11:41 AM

@17: Or that they normally need the two cars for different commutes?

Posted by Gloria | August 27, 2008 11:52 AM

Smart cars are retarded.

You pay $11,590 for a car that uses 300 gallons per 10,000 miles in the city, and has can't carry diddly squat. A Kia Rio, to cite only one of many examples, costs $1000 less, and uses 370 gallons per 10,000 miles. So 70 gallons a year costs you $350 extra, which means it take 3 fucking years of living without 4 doors, no back seat and no trunk before the so called "Smart" car has saved you a nickel. How is that worth it? That is some seriously retarded German engineering.

Scooters are the bomb, Mr. Schmader, and they do not make anyone look "stupid as poop." They make you look fuckable as poop, if they make you anything as poop. A scooter is basically a motorcycle for people with high IQs and more than an ounce of self-esteem. Motorcycles are massively fun and they can compensate for some feelings of inferiority, but hands down, scooters win in all categories.

Posted by elenchos | August 27, 2008 12:03 PM

I found a letter in one of my goodwill desks from the world's fattest twins. Apparently the previous owner of the desk was their distant cousin. They were stopping by on their minibike tour and sent the letter to remind him to have lots of food on hand. Because they were fat.

Posted by laureney | August 27, 2008 12:06 PM

#20 is right on (also, nice bike!) - why not just get a small motorbike? The gas difference from a scooter is negligible, and the extra power will make it a far more practical means of transport. In some cases, a bicycle might even be a better option.

Seeing a huge person in a tiny car is pretty funny, but seeing a tiny person climb into a huge SUV is also worth laughing at, though mostly just sad.

Posted by Dougsf | August 27, 2008 12:09 PM

@25 I think "fuckable as poop" wasn't the best choice of words when taken literally... in fact, it has about the same connotation as the original saying, if not worse.

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | August 27, 2008 12:15 PM

There are plenty of reasons to pick a scooter over a standard motorcycle, not the least of which is - automatic transmission!

Personally, I love the fact that I can go 45 - 50 mph without having to undergo the "rub belly pat head" mechanations involved when having to use a clutch and gear-shift on top of everything else.

I will admit, though, that sometimes I wish I had a bit lower center-of-gravity, especially on tight turns and in wet weather, but it's a relatively minor trade-off, IMO.

And FWIW, my next door neighbor owns FOUR Ducati's and he has actually said complimentary things about my "Little Nellie".
Plus, about half the two-wheelers who make with the "cycle greeting" when I encounter them are bikers, so clearly there are many traditional motorcyclists who don't seem to have any problem viewing scoots as part of their larger community.

Posted by COMTE | August 27, 2008 12:21 PM

I commend scooter riders everywhere, but one part of the trend worries me - the increase in accidents involving two-wheeled vehicles. Sure, drivers on 4 wheels not paying attention are often to blame, but the fact of the matter is, when you are on motor-powered two wheels, on wet, slick pavement, you can wipe out, and badly.
Please be careful out there.

Posted by Madashell | August 27, 2008 12:28 PM

And you should not compare the price of a Vespa to a motorcycle. Vespas are all about Italian chic, and you pay an extra $2000+ for it. The only motorcycle that comes close to the value of a 125 cc or 250 cc Japanese or Korean scooter is the legendary Kawasaki Ninja 250. Until you add in the cost of chain adjustments every 600 miles, and valve adjustments, and tires. If you add up total cost of ownership, motorcycles can't compete against scooters. Or even, to tell the truth, against a cheap used car, 50 mpg or no 50 mpg.

Motorcycles are fun, but scooters still win.

And, Comte, any motorcyclist who thinks scooterists aren't in the club is a douche.

Posted by elenchos | August 27, 2008 12:33 PM

@4 - Dude, believe me you don't look fierce, or cool, or anything other than Lloyd Christmas.

Posted by Seriously | August 27, 2008 12:39 PM

There's a seriously reverse-camber, steeply uphill left turn between my work and home. It's almost always slightly flooded, too, even after days or weeks of dry weather. If I got a scooter I'd be dead before the week was out.

Posted by Fnarf | August 27, 2008 1:02 PM

You could always ride it wearing a leather jacket and pants, Fnarf.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 27, 2008 1:26 PM

In fact, having recently laid my scoot down, I would recommend ALWAYS wearing protective gear - gloves, a good jacket with padding and heavy nylon pants at the very least.

Although it's tempting to go riding in shorts and a tank top when the weather is nice, just thinking about the ginormous bruises and flayed skin I endured makes me cringe a little whenever I see some scantily-clad two-wheeler.

Posted by COMTE | August 27, 2008 1:47 PM

elenchos - don't look now, but your dumbass is showing. Calling cycle riders douches won't help your cause one bit. Motorcyclists ignore scooter riders due to their poor riding skills, not because of stylistic differences or a 10mpg jealousy factor.

We watch you hold up cars and buses, refuse to use your signals or even look both ways when riding thru an intersection - it doesn't matter who had right-of-way when you're dead.

Take the motorcycle safety class and maybe we'll start giving a shit about you despite your crappy attitude. Otherwise, feel free to run that high IQ into the back of a bus.

There is no 'win'. There is only 'get there alive'.

Posted by douche | August 27, 2008 1:57 PM

@34, I could do that if I wanted to wear leathers, fuckhead. But I don't.

Leathers are also unlikely to protect me adequately from the front and underside of the 358 bus.

To be honest, my desire to fall onto the wet pavement at speed, even somewhat protected, is quite small. For some reason. Fuckhead.

Comte, my favorite is still the guy I saw riding in shorts, no shirt, no shoes, holding a year-old baby on his lap with one hand. Sounds like something Will in Seattle would do.

Posted by Fnarf | August 27, 2008 2:00 PM

Sometimes looking stupid isn't the only stupid thing. You might be hurting the environment much worse than if you were driving an SUV if you've got an old scooter or possibly motorbike:

If you want to help the environment, ride your bike, take public transit, only buy what you need, and whatever you buy, get it locally produced or grown so that it doesn't come from thousands of miles away. An immense amount of fuels are used in the moving of your purchases to you.

Posted by Ian Page-Echols | August 27, 2008 3:09 PM


Will the MSF class help me in turn 4? Because I'm slow as fuck in turn 4 and I could really use some help there. And please don't tell me my technique sucks. I know. Douche.

I don't have a cause. I don't care if anybody scoots or motorcycles or flaps their arms and flies like a bird. It's just fucking math. Simple fucking math. Add up the total cost of ownership and explain to me how you get different numbers.

Everyone should take the MSF course, no matter what you ride. It's a crime that WA allows smaller scooters to be on the street without a motorcycle endorsement.

And motorcyclists who don't wave at scootersits have little teeny tiny penises. They need as shrink to work on their self-esteem, not a bike. Douche.

Posted by elenchos | August 27, 2008 3:46 PM

Just remember to keep your gassy little pony well tuned. Those little engines get great mileage but they can really spew out the hydrocarbons. I loved my motorbike but hated riding in the rain here so I gave it up. Keep enjoying yours, David

Posted by inkweary | August 27, 2008 4:12 PM

i wonder if that guy i saw rolling down fourth avenue last week after he wrecked his scooter was happy in his leather jacket and jeans. He wasn't moving.

Posted by ticky-tack | August 27, 2008 4:49 PM

Oftentimes those foods and other goods from far, far away are much, much lighter on the carbon usage than the local equivalent, even taking into account the shipping. Flowers, for instance. It is VASTLY more carbon-efficient to grow flowers in South America or Africa and fly them here than it is to grow them here, usually. New Zealand lamb requires much less carbon to put on your plate than (most) Washington lamb.

Posted by Fnarf | August 27, 2008 4:58 PM

Oh, I'm looking good @ 32. Maybe you should go rent Quadrophenia loser.

Motorcycle riders look down on scooter riders b/c they're riding scooters. The truth is, if you're riding anything less than an 850, you should sacrifice performance for style and ride a scooter.

Posted by joe's cousin jerry | August 27, 2008 5:49 PM

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