Category Archives: Scooter

Scooter Diary Day #2

Clearly, I was drunk on the success of yesterday’s ride home from Ringwood, because when I woke up this morning, I jumped out of bed immediately (unknown for me on a Sunday!) and got my gear on for another ride.

It’s much easier for me to get the leather gloves on now. Yesterday they were too tight and Naomi had to help me get them on (leading to amusing context-less announcements to friends that she was “yanking” me). But the leather loosened up quite quickly and now there are no problems. I’ve already created a rhythm for getting my gear on – which pieces go on while I’m still in the apartment and which wait til I’m at the bike. My helmet still causes a few issues with my newly pierced ears, but then again, so does sleeping, so I’m not letting that stop me.

Anyway, being the cavalier fool that I can be, I decided that my SECOND EVER RIDE would be to Corio, near Geelong, where my sister lives. That’s about 60km away from home, via the Princes Freeway. Yup.

It went well! The map shows the route I took. As usual, I’ve marked my home and my sister’s home as being the local post office for the sake of privacy.

I took the slower route via Geelong Road to begin with, because I knew that I wouldn’t need to go faster than 80km/h for a while. That gave me a chance to get used to the higher speeds, and of course, get used to riding in traffic. A huge Mack truck decided he’d stalk me along Footscray Road, but even at a putt-putt speed of 40km/h, I was able to take off and get well ahead of him after the lights turned green, heh.

Then came the freeway. The speed limit rose to 100km/h and I cranked the throttle to see what this baby could do!

…which was about 90km/h. Well, that’s not completely true. I did manage to hit 100km/h on a downhill section when I had a tailwind.

In hindsight, I shouldn’t have worried too much about being slow on a freeway. I kept to the left part of the left lane and everyone just overtook me as they needed. There was plenty of space and I kept myself in a visible position whenever there were lane merges.

My helmet was good at insulating noise from the scooter and the wind. It’s not the same level of quiet as being in a car, but actually, it was nice to enjoy the birdsong that I’d never noticed before while driving along the same route.

Other highlights included:

  • A very “bikie” looking old dude on a Harley honking at me and giving me the thumbs up as he overtook me
  • Being overtaken by a very old vintage car (like 1920s era) – dang, I must have been slow! Or he was really secretly overpowered under the hood?
  • The speed check display showed “XS” when I rode past. Too small?!
  • No rain this time!

I had that one nice encounter with a fellow bikie, but there were others that weren’t so great. In particular, one sports bike that overtook me in the same lane where I was riding. I could have hit him if I had moved to the right to dodge a pothole or something! I didn’t even know he was there until his probably-illegally-modified-muffler roared right next to me. So much for the hypothesis that those loud engines are safer because they let others know that you’re around. Doesn’t work when you have your own engine and wind noise!

The ride back from Corio was very windy. I had a heck of a crosswind/headwind coming across the farmland and my average speed dropped to 80km/h. Queue even more overtaking!

The petrol use surprised me too. I basically needed a full tank to get from Point Cook to Corio and back. So I couldn’t even do a round trip in a tank. Dad called me last night to chat about the ride yesterday and warned me that I’d be stopping frequently at petrol stations. Seems like I get almost exactly 100km for 5L. It may not actually be that much cheaper than just geting the VLine to Corio…hmmmm….

Heading back to Melbourne, I took the West Gate Bridge route back, but I didn’t take any glimpses at the view like I’d normally do. Too busy monitoring my speed and traffic around me. A friend in Brunswick was having a birthday party, so I stopped by there before going home, but didn’t stay too long because I was nervous about riding home in the dark. As it was, I left when it was well and truly dark enough for headlights anyway, so I suppose I can add “night-time driving” to my list of new riding experiences. Along with freeway riding and my first ever hook turn!

Total distance travelled: about 140km. What a big day!

To wrap this post up, I’ll share what my darling brother-in-law said when I turned up on his doorstep announcing that I’d ridden there on my new scooter:

“Jeez, Magda. Couldn’t you just get a fan and a box of crickets to get the same effect?”

Scooter Diary Day #1

I now own a scooter. I bought a second-hand Yamaha Vity 125 and today I had to get it home from the dealer in Ringwood. This was going to be scary as it would be my first time actually riding on the road. Before today, I had only ridden in carparks and as part of my learner course. So I recruited my friend Naomi to drive behind me in her car. She was my support vehicle, and I’m grateful for her efforts.

I mapped out the route we took to the CBD where I live on Google Maps:

One thing that surprised me was how much fuel was used up for that trip – about a quarter of a tank. It seems like my scooter uses about 5 litres per 100 km. That’s not as fuel-efficient as I would have liked, but I guess it’s still better than a car.

Ringwood is a fair distance from the CBD, but I knew I didn’t want to take the freeway. I didn’t even want to take the Maroondah Highway, which I thought had a speed limit of 80km/h. Instead, I opted for Canterbury Road, which I thought had a top speed of 60km/h. Nope! It went up to 80km/h! So my plan to ride in low speed traffic was thwarted. So too was my plan to ride in the dry – because while it was clear, blue skies in Ringwood when we left, it started to rain just after our pit stop at Forest Hill Shopping Centre. It wasn’t ever too heavy, so I rode through it, but it did make the trip a little scarier. On the plus side, my gear was quite waterproof, and I never even felt damp.

I wanted my first ride to be an easy one, but instead I ended up experiencing many different and difficult riding conditions!

  • 80km/h traffic
  • Car park traffic and manoeuvring at Forest Hill Shopping Centre
  • Roundabouts and speed bumps
  • Wet roads
  • Wet tram tracks(!!!)
  • Riding around buses
  • Up and down hills
  • Roadworks
  • Heavy traffic around shopping strips
  • Riding in the CBD

I had a few wobbles going over the wet tram tracks – man, they are slippery! And I braked too hard at one traffic light with only my rear brake, causing a little skid, but thankfully that was more noise than movement.

The most fun part was actually cruising down Lonsdale Street in the city. There are no tram tracks there, the speed was low and the traffic was light, so I found myself gently swaying side to side in my lane. It must have looked amusing to Naomi behind me.

So I made it home safely! I parked my scooter and went into my apartment to strip off the motorcycle gear and have a hot shower.

Odometer at start: 1208km
Odometer at end: 1245km