Personal transportation should be fun and convenient. It's not affordable by any means, chance are, it's the second or third biggest line item in your budget. We pay in other obvious ways for the need for single occupant transit: the air we breath and the way we legislate and treat the built environment (see tons of surface parking lots in the city, and even more in the county). One thing's for sure: Americans love their personal vehicles, and the St. Louis region is no different. It doesn't take an astute eye to notice that EVERYBODY is commuting to work in a vehicle (usually fuel inefficient) by themselves. We love our cars. Look at how we choose to spend huge amounts of money on something that depreciates and costs even more money to maintain/operate. We work hard for this choice of expensive personal travel. I'm not here to judge, I'm just like you...stuck in the car funk. But until a couple years ago I never considered any options to the mundane commuting that I felt was part of being a working stiff.
Still, for me personally, this auto investment I have to make sucks. I don't even enjoy the amount of money I'm spending. I have no personal vanity in my car choices, nor do I view vehicles as a status symbol, so I don't have that working for me. I can see that there are people out there who just love driving their Jeep, or their Mini or their Lexus. I'm just not that guy. Commuting and driving around town just is not fun for me. Quite frankly, driving stresses me out.
Until.........I bought my first scooter.
Scooters are inexpensive to own and operate. They keep up with city traffic amazingly well, they are highly maneuverable, you can park them just about anywhere; but, first and foremost: it is a blast to ride! The best way to improve my stress levels and personal satisfaction has been owning a scooter. Commutes are now fun. Bad day at work? You've always got that scooter ride awaiting as the close of business. Kids driving you nuts? Take a quick spin to free your mind. Can't find a parking space? Park on the sidewalk or at a bike rack. How does and average of 75 mpg sound on a 125cc ride that goes up to 50 mph?
If you are feel like you are in a rut, and there's no escaping the banality of the workaday commute, take a chance and buy a cheap, used scooter. Plan an alternate route devoid of interstate highways, and ride on.
It's easy to do.
I'd never ridden a 2 wheeled motorized vehicle at any point in my life prior to purchasing a scooter ~4 years ago. I thought I'd start slow with something lightweight and simple to operate. A twist and go 49cc Honda Metropolitan was my choice. I ended up buying this simply because I got a great deal on craigslist. I really wanted a Yamaha C3, but there were way more used Honda's on the market at the time.
I got my sea legs and next thing you know, I'm hooked. If you are looking for an entry level bike to get started, this one may be tops. Cheap, reliable, ~90 mpg, goes 35 mph, is designed well and of course a lot of fun.
I wanted to go a little faster though after awhile. I wanted the ability to ride two. I wanted something that would not bog down on steep hills. Back to craigslist for an upgrade. This time I chose a Yamaha Vino 125cc. This one gets ~75 mpg on average (I'm hard on the acceleration), is still twist and go (no shifting) and goes 50 mph. It's not designed as well, nor as smooth as the Honda, but it's even more fun.
My confidence is up to 50 mpg now. Now it's time to lock into the perfect scooter for me. I'm saving up for an Aprilia Scarabeo, or the coolest of all, a Genuine Stella. Take a look, these are some sweet rides.
The Aprilia has larger tire, more akin to a motorcycle. I think this would provide a smoother ride over the bumps and potholes of a typical city ride.
And then there's the stylish Stella:
Trust me friends, there is no commute more fun than a scooter/motorcycle commute. Economical, cheap to maintain/operate, easier to park, you simply can't go wrong.