May 29, 2008
I ran into Darren and Penny. They have matching scooters, Yamaha Vinos, I was on my bike. I know Darren from the marina, where he works, and where I sometimes shoot. He's modeled some shots...
"We're going to the yacht club for some nachos," he said.
"That's where I'm going," I said.
We met up about fifteen minutes later, me ten minutes behind. Darren and I talked about scooters until Penny was bored to tears. Their Vinos get almost 100 mpg. I'm seriously thinking about trading my motorcycle in for one. Scooter sales are booming.
I rode my motorcycle most when I was shooting for the newspaper. Photographers are the one news gathering element that must be physically on the scene of the story; unlike a reporter, you can't get your story from a phone call, though the proliferation of digital cameras and high speed connections are beginning to change that. But staff photogs are out all day. You're given a mileage allowance of course, but I didn't want to put that kind of tread, seventy miles a day or more, on the pony. The GZ 250 is a small bike, but with a top speed of 90 it had no trouble keeping up with local traffic. So I'd rod around, pulling up to crime scenes and fried chicken fundraisers on Dragonfly.
I wiped out once, on the fourth of July. I had the weekend beat, covering the fireworks. I'd parked the bike on the street and knocked on the front door of a house on the river overlooking the show. They were having a party and asked me in, offered me a drink, (declined), and let me use the dock to do the shoot... anything I wanted. When I went back to the street I found a bike with the key in the ignition and the headlight down to a flicker. I would have to run start the bike. I'd done it before, but this time it started unexpectedly and took me with it. The next thing I knew I was on the asphalt with my jeans ripped and a slice taken off my calf - as if you'd taken a cheese slicer and stripped off a slice. It was numb, but I knew that wouldn't last. I got the photos into the system somehow that night, late that night. The edit stations at the newspaper were empty, production had gone home. The numbness was starting to wear off... Back home, I took a shower and debrided the wound as best I could with a bar of soap. The pain was excruciating. The burn resembled the profile of Brazil, still does, 4" x 6" down the right side of my calf. It took three months to completely heal. The doctor prescribed an exotic antibiotic ointment that cost $65. for a tube the size of a lip balm. I think he was concerned about MERSA. I took a week off. That was three, four years ago. I told the editor that Monday that I'd slipped off a ladder at the condo. I didn't want the paper to ban my ride.
But I'm in way less of a hurry now. And dragonfly is a bit of a handful for the kind of too-far-for-a-bike trip I'm likely to take these days. So... I like the Honda Ruckus. . .
a muscley little scooter, bare bones and minimal storage. But it's only 49 cc and good for backstreets or the bike lane. It's $2k and change; I could probably get a third off that in a trade at the dealer.
I ran into Darren yesterday at the marina. He was tooling around in a golf cart. The trees at the restaurant were in flower. I had wanted to see if I could make the trip by bike, and how long it would take. Now that I was there, I was taking pictures of the trees in bloom. Darren had business at the dock. I stopped for a cappucino and headed back, into a warm breeze.
Posted by Joe Jubinville
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