> Some scooterists make a point of riding in all weathers. Not me, I’m a softy. If it’s too wet, too grey, too cold or even too hot, the PX (‘Dino’) remains unlocked. Somedays the weather’s perfect and I just can’t be bothered riding, especially if i’m into a particularly good book. It’s too bleak in December to ride, and I tend to get lots of books for christmas, so until at least february I usually to take the tube to work. A lot of Londonders hate the underground, but actually I quite enjoy it – the trip from Leytonstone is a mercifully short one, which is why it takes me weeks to read anything. However, after a while public transport begins to get wearing, especially changing trains at Mile End which has all the charm of a decomissioned Chinese power station. It’s here I join the District line – the smelliest of all the lines. It’s the people, y’know.
So, with spring ambling slowly towards us I took my first trip of the year to Scooterworks for Dino’s service. I spent most of last year riding to work, and 14 miles a day can grind away at components made in 1981. By the end of last year the brakes had faded alarmingly, the engine would sometimes cut out at idle and gear shifting was becoming a bit of a lottery. All fixed now, and Dino feels as fettled and responsive as when his first owner got him in Verona. When I first started riding scooters almost a decade ago, it was all about cheap transport and maintenance was done by oily blokes in oily lock-ups. In recent years, servicing has become much more expensive and the bill always comes as something of a punch to the guts. £120 this year. Mind you, I once worked out that for everything – insurance, petrol, tax, servicing, spares – the lot – it costs me £1.32 a day to run a scooter. And you get a seat all the way.
>£1.32 per day…stunning. The equivalent of less than 5 Marlboro’ Lights, and more fun too! Cities where scooters are more prevalent than cars also have much higher average traffic speeds. More Vespas (as someone elsewhere might say!).