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My Beloved Honda Metropolitan Scooter Has Been Sold

June 19, 2008 Environment, Scooters 18 Comments

It was September 5th 2005 and I was so excited — I had just purchased a 2004 Honda Metropolitan that was only slightly used with 235.5 miles on the odometer (see, My Way of Dealing with Rising Gas Prices). Today I sold the scooter with just over 9,000 miles on it. Even in the cold & rain those were some very fun miles. I didn’t want to sell the scooter, it’s just that since my stroke I could not safely ride it with only one hand on the handlebar. As more time passes and I can once again ride a scooter I will certainly buy another.
With our gas prices now at $4/gallon more people should consider a scooter. On my first scooter post (link above) I was thinking about saving on gas. The timing was just after Katrina hit New Orleans but before Rita hit Texas. Gas prices spiked to over $3/gallon for this week but they quickly fell below $3/gallon but not below $2/gallon. At the time I wrote:

I estimate that given current fuel prices every 5,000 miles I can put on the scooter rather than my car I’ll save at least $600. As fuel prices rise the savings will be even greater. In less than 3 years the scooter will pay for itself in fuel savings.

Keep in mind that at the time I had a thirsty AWD Audi. So it turns out I didn’t do 5K per year on the scooter. I do think that by thinking more locally and combining trips I did manage to save nearly that many miles each year.

A year ago I sold my car (by that point I had a more efficient Scion xA). I made it through the hot summer and most of the cold winter on the scooter (I was in the hospital during some of the worst winter weather). There were a few days in December where the snow and ice forced me to stay in, but only a few days. There was this great high from getting around town on single gallon of gas (the scooter managed 85-90mpg but only held 1.1 gallons). Each passing month without a car payment or insurance bill I knew I had made the right decision.

My current set of wheels is the ultimate in green transportation — a plug-in electric, um, wheelchair. It gets me most places I need to go — I took it on MetroLink today (it was “Dump the Pump” day so I had a free day pass). My morning started with an 8:30am meeting on Delmar in the Loop and before the trip was done I was leaving Trader Joe’s and heading back to the Eager Rd. station. Again the chair, combined with mass transit, does a great job of getting me around.

Former St. Louisan, Chris Balish, author of “How to Live Well Without Owning a Car: Save Money, Breath Easier and Get More Mileage out of Life”, was right — you can live well without owning a car! Having said that, I’m reluctantly buying a used car.

I can do my job as a REALTOR® from a scooter but not from the #70 Grand bus and a wheelchair, so a car I must purchase. And yes I’ll be able to drive. I have to get a car with an automatic transmission as I can’t rely on my left leg being able to operate a clutch. The only two modifications will be a knob on the steering wheel (so I can turn the wheel with a single hand) and a device that connects to the turn signal stalk so that I can activate the turn signals with my right hand.

Going from not owning a car to buying one when gas is $4/gal. is not good timing on my part but it was not like I planned the stroke. So I’m focusing on two of the most fuel efficient & reliable non-hybrid used cars: Honda Civic & Toyota Corolla. Buying an efficient sedan is the best I can do to hedge my bets against rising gasoline prices. That and continuing to use the wheelchair and mass transit for as many trips as possible. Plus working on my walking too. Tonight I just walked around the block (for the third night in a row).

Except for those of you that regularly ride a bike for transportation, each of you could benefit from riding a scooter. Those little trips to the grocery store are just so much more fun on a scooter. Using a scooter for shopping is great too — you tend to not buy things you don’t need because you don’t have the space to lug a bunch of crap home.

So hopefully in another year I’ll be writing about the new scooter I bought and in a couple of years I’ll be back to not owning a car. At that point hopefully the WeCar car sharing plan will have a vehicle within a few blocks of my place (all are east of Tucker at this time). In the meantime I’ll still get to see my old scooter as I sold it to a neighbor in my building.


Currently there are "18 comments" on this Article:

  1. Matt says:

    Wish you would have told me it was for sale. I would have certainly been interested. I really don’t drive that much since I changed jobs, so high prices really are not hurting me, but the option of a scooter is one that I am looking for.

  2. John M. says:

    I second the scooter purchase, I too have been debating it for the small trips.

    By the way I heard some logic posed based on factual evidence of SUV’s and larger vehicles. The theory stated was that since they (SUV’s) get horrible mileage, people have a tendency to drive less, while those with good gas mileage cars, small, tend to overdrive and that these two things tend to balance one another out in the harm served to the environment. Trying not to snicker here.

    I am not discounting it entirely, I just thing the logic is flawed. I saw this in a NY Times article this week.

    Sounds to me like marketing speak, on ” We are losing are A** on these things, please buy one!”

  3. Jason says:


    Sorry to see you sell your scooter (by the sea shore..)

    You need a Corbin Sparrow. That would get some looks. Of course there is the shoehorn factor of trying to get yourself actually into the vehicle first.


  4. Jim Zavist says:

    Good luck on your car search. Like they say, timing is everything, and with the current demand, supplies are down and prices are up for what you’re looking for. Any thought of trying to find a first generation Prius? A Honda Insight? These “early” hybrids have probably dropped enough in price to fit your budget, IF you can find anyone thinking of selling . . .

    [slp — so few are available and the ones that are exceed my budget.] 

  5. john w. says:

    I love the Metrolink.

  6. James R. says:


    You don’t want the Jetta, then??
    At this point I may pay you to take it.

    [slp —  sorry James but while I prefer manual transmissions I must have an automatic.]

  7. Jan says:

    A few months back I purchased used VW Jetta wagon with automatic transmission. I needed extra room for my dogs (a scooter is not an option with basset hounds). The added bonus is that my brother (who has limited mobility from a few strokes) can get into the Jetta much easier than I expected. The doors open wider than the Corolla or Civic. My Jetta gets about 26 mpg.

  8. Daniel Raedeke says:

    Steve, sorry you had to part with your scooter at this time, but I’m positive you will return to an even cuter one than the little red/white guy…..in the meantime, good luck with your car search- I’ll keep my ears open for deals.

  9. Daniel Raedeke says:

    sorry, it’s me, Dionna….the xoxo’s aren’t from Daniel like the heading says.
    Hee hee.

  10. Chris says:

    Two items to add to this if you’re thinking of getting a scooter.

    First, take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. You’ll get all of the basics, many of which are non-intuitive. Before I took the course I had never ridden a motorcycle or scooter. Afterwards I felt quite confident, and aware of my limitations. In most states it also serves as a means to bypass the state licensing exam (I’m not sure about Missouri).

    Second, be sure to always wear a full face helmet. About 50% of all head impacts suffered in motorcycle accidents occur to the jaw and face.

    Scootering is fun, but it’s also dangerous. Stay safe and stack the odds in your favor.

  11. Vikki says:

    I’m seriously considering getting a Honda Metropolitan..
    I live in a rural area..and would be able to take the back roads back and forth to work.
    12 miles one way…
    Wouldn’t be able to drive in the winter months here in northern Wisconsin, but, would save a lot in gas money during the warmer months.

    Should I invest in this scooter??
    Or should I get the yamaha scooter??
    Or neither??

    Anyhow.. I guess I’m wondering more than anything if I’d want to drive a scooter 24 miles/5 days a week? Weather providing, of coarse!

  12. sonja says:

    Hello all,

    I like most love my scooter, I have only had it for about a month, A gift from my husband :)!

    I have the ruby metropolitian (red and cream looks white but it is not)

    I now want to customize it, I want a trunk and hemet to match as well as the new chrome exhaust cover

    but I can not find it to save my life.

    I was told not to go to a dealer for the prices would be outrageous at this point
    I just want what I want and I am tired of looking.

    any suggestions


  13. PA Scoot says:

    Hey, Sorry to read about your trials. Just gotta tell you that your posts helped make my decision to buy a scoot about 6 months ago. I’m a 44 year old mom of two who have adjusted to the embarassment of having a scootin mom just fine (now). Have the same little red salsa Met. Love every second of it. Thanks for the inspiration in every sense.
    Keep pushing on in your recovery and all the best.

    And whatever your ride, I’m sure you’ll find your inspiration.

  14. SK says:

    I’m considering purchasing a used 2005 Metropolitan and was wondering how much you ended up selling yours for? I want to get a gauge on the market.


  15. Douglas says:

    I wanted to wish you the best of luck with your recovery from your stroke. You sound determined to get back to riding shape, which is a very good sign.

    I had a Honda 150 (1987!) in California and enjoyed it, but found I was not riding much. Now we are considering downsizing to one car and a scooter sounds like a smart way to go.

    Anyway, all the best,


  16. Robert says:

    Your articles on the Honda Metropolitan were very helpful. I'm planning to purchase one so I can get a delivery job. I'm going to try and figure out a way to attach my bike trailer so I can carry more. Seek Christ in everything and I hope your recovery goes well!

  17. USB 3G says:

    Well, interesting post,

  18. That’s quite sad, sometimes we start loving our vehicles so much that when it goes away it really painful. I have just now replaced my scooty with Honda splendor bike.


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