August 14, 2011

A Fine Day For It

Scootering, that is.

Until I decide on a geared bike I am pootling around the countryside on my Sym 125. Every ride is a lesson and I am building on my roadcraft. Generally, other bikers give me a nod or a wave, and some of them studiously ignore my nodding and waving. It is usually the bigger bikes that ignore me. I seem to be in the lowliest caste of two-wheelers. Not that it bothers me overmuch. I am enjoying myself even if I am not capable of ripspeed. The countryside can be viewed comfortably at 50mph.

Or in my case, one of the local harbours. At 0mph.


This is Findochty, on the Moray coast. (It is pronounced "Fin ech tee".)

Lovely old fishermens cottages, with a couple of lobster boats on the left-hand side.

Pics will engorgulate if clicked.

The, erm, Silver Dream Machine.

A good ride today. I am now picking roads that are bendy, having learnt how to lean better.

Still not decided on a cruiser yet. All I know is that I prefer one of those over a bike that travels at the speed of hot snot.

I'm built for comfort, baby, not speed. I may as well buy a bike that suits me.



Anonymous said...

Stick to the scooter Captain.

I live in Antibes (Cote d'Azur) great for a scooter as the weather is usually sunny and warm.

Unfortunately you see in my "neck of the woods" a lot of sad born again "paunchers" riding Harley Davidsons.

Your Sym and my Honda "Lead" leave them for dust at the traffic lights plus you don't have to wear all of the Harley "tat". Most of them eventually drop their bikes and their dodgy joints mean they can't lift them up again.

I've ridden all types of bikes throughout my 69 years and a scooter is best. Automatic, clean and reliable.

Captain Ranty said...


My scoot struggles to reach 60mph. It bothers me that traffic behind think I am too slow. It's a pet peeve of mine that some drivers go too slow when conditions are perfect.

And, I'd like to try my hand at bigger bikes when I pass my test. To get the experience I need to pass I need to move up to a geared bike. Not necessarily interested in Harleys, but I do like the look of some of the cruisers I see on my travels.

I had a go on my mates bike and it was really comfortable. Plus, I'd like to do more than these brief, one hour rides. I think a geared bike would be better suited to that. Scooters are perfect for urban riding but not for long, all day rides.

I could be wrong, of course, I am brand new to all this.


Bil said...

Actually a harder decision than it appears. I've put my own cruiser purchasing on-hold until next year. If we have a bad winter, which I think we will have, can't ride a cruiser with all the salt to eat that loverly chrome.

So putting up with my Dulville for another 6 months at least.

But I am riding across America via Route 66 on a Harley in three weeks time ;-)))))

Just enjoy being on two wheels. As a former neighbour who built trikes said to be when he saw me on a pushbike - easier with an engine. Sage lad.

Sue said...

My other half is a biker! I have a passion for motorbikes. He's got a Ninja at the moment. Scary fast...

Anonymous said...

Hi Captain. Me again.

If you do want something "bigger" there are some 500cc and 650cc scooters

You see a lot of 3 wheeler scooters on the road here and they are a lot safer than 2 wheels.

Have a look at this

Richard said...

Nowt wrong with a scooter, Cap'n. And I make a point of waving at scooterists - two-wheelers need to stick together. I'd agree with georgesilver - there are some bigger scoots that will easily demolish traffic and cross continents if you don't need to cruise at ton-plus speeds. Comfortable, clean, economical and quick enough - an auto will kick ass in the traffic light GP. Suzuki Burgmans have a very good reoputation.

Glad you are reconsidering the Chinese option, though.

Anonymous said...

FGS... get those L plates off before you start waving to people...

Then again:
Skid Lid... Yes
L plates... Yes
Road Tax... Yes
i.e. Bike given to DVLA

You'll be telling me that you fly to Africa using a legal fiction next;0)

Anonymous said...

Just a final thought Captain.

Don't buy anything Japanese at the moment.
Radiation levels are off the dial. Big cover-up going on as it's worse than Chernobyl.

Don't laugh I've bought myself a Russian Geiger-counter as there are plenty of Nuclear power stations in France.

Did you know that stainless-steel has been recycled from Nuclear reactors and is turning up as cutlery.
Also if you are of the camping persuasion some of the Far-Eastern gas mantels are highly radioactive.

You can't rely on governments or their agencies to protect you.

Anonymous said...

Re my previous remark

Here's an old link that will make your hair stand on end or rather fall out

Anonymous said...

Spotted A98

richard said...

60mph is quick enough. Speed isn't everything, I've done a bit of low-speed Highlands touring on my Honda C90.
Don't get that Chinese single-but-looks-like-a-twin. The Sym is a better machine.
If you want a 125 bike as distinct from a scooter, the Honda Varadero and Derbi Terra are two bikes which are good in their own right and irrespective of capacity. If you need a Custom, the Honda Shadow and Suzuki Intruder are V-twins (both discontinued). The Shadow is particularly convincing and not as gay/for girls as the Suzuki. Or else Suzuki's or Kawasaki's 125 singles.
None of the above will be much faster than the scooter.

Captain Ranty said...

Thanks all for the links.

Anon-you saw me on the A98? I noticed quite a few riders out that day. Were you with a group?


Captain Ranty said...


Thanks for the suggestions.

I just called my local dealer and asked his advice. He said to stay away from the Pioneer as well.

I've asked him to look for a cruiser for me. I'll let you know what he comes back with.

The Honda Shadow looks nice.

I am still a bit confused over what I can ride and what I can't. Am I stuck with a 125cc? (I still need to do my module 1 test).


Richard said...

"I am still a bit confused over what I can ride and what I can't. Am I stuck with a 125cc? (I still need to do my module 1 test)."

Ask the dealer, if he runs a training school as well. I haven't a clue. Can't keep up with it all. To me, a 250 is still a learner bike :)

+1 to the Varadero, by the way. A guy at work had one and a) it looks nothing like a 125, very butch, and b) it seemed very well made indeed. I would seriously consider one as a second bike. Can't say much about cruisers, as they are not my thing.

Captain Ranty said...


The Varadero's look good too!

Is there a rule of thumb about motorbike mileage? I only know about cars. How high is too high?

I just had a look on the gov site about tests and modules and it isn't all that clear. My dealer does not have a training school. I'll phone the people who put me through the CBT.


Richard said...

Mileage: very hard question. Bikes are in a much higher state of tune (generally) than cars, but they are also (generally) made to much higher tolerances and with better materials. And bikes are put to many different uses. A sunny Sunday toy might only do 2000 miles a year but have the arse caned off it every time it goes out; a commuter might rack up 10k per year but be well loved and maintained. I know which I would rather have. Here's your rule of thumb, and it's useless: a highly-strung 125 (like the Aprilia, not the stuff you are looking at) could be toast within 10k. But I know of high-mileage riders who have but 150k on a Honda Pan European with nothing but regular maintenance. The owner is another factor, so is service history, so is the regularity of use. It's nothing like buying a s/h car!

Since you ask, I would offer as basic advice: over 6k a year is high, but need not be a deal-breaker if the price is right. More importantly, I would look for a full service history (with a nearly-new bike) or a caring owner (for an older one). A bike that is in regular use is a much better bet then one which is low-mileage but has been stored in a shed for the last 6 years. Nothing kills a bike like not using it. Having said that, compared to cars bikes are easy to fix and generally a lot cheaper to do so than a car. A few hundred spent even on an utter dog should have it back in good order. (Exceptions are things like Ducatis, which are not in your field of view at the moment. The wrong decision there can cost you thousands.)

OK, pin me down: 2k/year for a small bike, 4k for a medium sized one and 6k for a big tourer are the mileages I would be happy with. But so many other factors apply that it's almost meaningless. By the time any bike has reached 20k/30k/50k it is probably due for some major attention. But ... oh, sod it, I don't know.

Ask me one on football.

Captain Ranty said...


Thanks. I am grateful for the tips.

There is a similarity with cars in several of the points you raise.

I just wanted to pick your brains and it worked. I know more now than I did an hour ago so that is good.

The dealer I am talking to understands what I am after so let's see what he finds this week. I'll lose a few hundred quid on the Sym by trading it in but at least then it is a clean deal. He knows the Sym as he has looked after it since he sold it to my mate, and has done one service on it for me.

I started buying the bike magazines to see what was what. They have great advice on all sorts of things.

My learning continues.

Thanks again,


PS-I know nothing about footie. I get mildly interested in the game once every four years. Beyond that, I don't know diddly.

Richard said...

"PS-I know nothing about footie. I get mildly interested in the game once every four years. Beyond that, I don't know diddly."

Me too. That's why I said it :)

Anonymous said...

Get a middleweight cruiser. Preferable shaft drive ( less maintenance ). Good around town, and fast on the open roads.

Learn how to service the bike yourself. This way you will know, no clown, is ever allowed near your bike.

Get a screen fitted this will allow for travel over long distance in comfort.

Saddlebags for all weather gear.

tubeless tyres if pos, and carry tube of tyreweld at all times.

Try before you buy.

I have had my present bike 8yrs no problems at all. Japanese

Have to pass your test first. Good luck on that.

Ride safe. Be free.