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Five Years Ago Today

September 4, 2010 Scooters, Steve Patterson 1 Comment

Five years ago today I bought a scooter — a red & white 49cc Honda Metropolitan scooter (see post).  I had witnessed the horror in New Orleans via CNN. Gas prices spiked.

ABOVE: by June 2007 the scooter was my only motorized vehicle, used in all weather
ABOVE: by June 2007 the scooter was my only motorized vehicle, used in all weather

In two and a half years I put over 6,000 miles on the scooter — what a blast.  After my stroke I sold the scooter, no point keeping it around.  I had hoped to get another scooter at some point, but that is not looking to be a possibility.

– Steve Patterson


Motorcycle & scooter parking needed in our region

Before my 2008 stroke I got around on a 49cc Honda Metropolitan scooter.  Because of the small displacement engine it did not need to be licensed by the Missouri (some states require registering all scooters regardless of engine size).  I’d park in out of the way places but at times I’d get notes from officers suggesting I park in a metered parking spot.  My scooter was tiny and would be lost in a space.

scooter at parking meter
ABOVE: Scooter at parking meter, wasting space

Recently I noticed a much larger scooter parked at a meter on Lindell Blvd near Grand Ave. What I don’t know is if the space was empty when the scooter was parked or if the owner slipped in front of a car that left before I took the photo.  Either way you can see the ridiculousness of having fixed-length parking – the one-size-fits-all formula that wastes lots of space.

In high demand areas we need to have motorcycle & scooter parking. In the space of one car you can fit in parking for 3-6 motorcycles/scooters.  For payment you use pay-per-space machines:

ABOVE: Motorcycle parking, San Francisco 2/2004
ABOVE: Motorcycle parking, San Francisco 2/2004

You pay for the number for the slot you park in. Regular meters can also be used where you have 2-3 spaces.  By creating the spaces perpendicular to the curb line you can fit in many motorcycles & scooters.  Motorists will be less frustrated by not having a scooter taking a full space.  Riders will be happy having a designated space for their compact tw0-wheeled vehicles. The city will collect additional revenue.

– Steve Patterson


A Year of Driving

A year ago today I bought my first post-stroke tank of gas. The 9 months prior to my stroke I did not have a car — my motorized transportation was a 49cc Honda Metropolitan scooter that got around 90 miles per gallon.  A year ago I felt guilty about going back to driving a car. I’m over the guilt although I want to, someday, go back to not having a car.

So the day I buy gas for the first time in nearly six months just happens to have been the day gas prices peaked in St. Louis.  I paid $3.979/gallon for basic unleaded. By December 30th I paid a low of $1.339/gallon – a 66% drop. I tracked each fuel purchase and my mpg on an application on my iPhone:

Cold winters and recent a/c use took a toll on my average MPG.  My last fill-up was on a return trip from Chicago – 70mph with a/c.  Pretty good numbers.

During the year I drove 7,200 miles which included a trip to Oklahoma and the recent one to Chicago.  Take out those two road trips and I drove about 5,500 miles around town.  Admittedly I have a big advantage of working from home.  But I also have a compact life shopping locally as well as combining trips. Even as the price of gas dropped I continued to conserve.

The above chart shows the price per gallon that I paid over the last year.  Yes, I’m a nerd by charting this but I’m a visual person.  As we seen the price per gallon has steadily increased in 2009.  It is still a long way from where it was a year ago – the climb up is much slower than the drop off.  But the prices from last summer will return at some point.  There will be a point in a year or two where $4/gallon seems low.

By the end of 2010 I hope to have another scooter — perhaps a hybrid or all-electric scooter.  Like before, I’ll go a couple of years having a car and a scooter before going to scooter-only.  This time I will be able to join Enterprise’s WeCar car-sharing program for those times when I need/want a car.

– Steve Patterson


I’m on Google Streetview

February 6, 2009 Midtown, Scooters 8 Comments
Steve Patterson on Google’s Streetview taken before 2/1/08.

If you love Google maps then you probably love streetview — the ability to see what an actual street looks like.

Friends of mine, planning students from St. Louis living in New Orleans, recently blogged about spotting me on my former Honda Metropolitan scooter in a streetview at Washington & Grand (link).

Thankfully I wasn’t over the stop line!  Thank you to Matt Mourning and Michael Powers!  I’ll be back on a scooter by Spring 2010.


A Scooter For Graduation?

September 24, 2008 Scooters Comments Off on A Scooter For Graduation?

One of the most disappointing results of my February 1st stroke was of course the loss of function on my left side. I was left handed. But the big disappointment was selling my Honda Metropolitan and getting a car. I love having the car but it is just not the same as riding a scooter in the open air. Granted when it is raining the car keeps me dry whereas the scooter would not. Riding a scooter, however, was far cheaper transportation. Even with the windows down and the sunroof open the feeling of enclosure in the car is much greater than I prefer.

Goal setting is an important function to move individuals and organizations forward. Throughout my recovery I’ve set goals for myself. As I achieve them I set new ones. Resuming work on my Masters degree was an important milestone. I’m now on a schedule to graduate in December 2009. I think being able to scooter by that time is a goal worth striving for. That is a little more long term than my prior goals have been. Others in the same vein would be being able to type two-handed again, write with my left hand again, and to walk without a cane. Short term goals are mostly subtle at this point — largely improving my walking speed. But riding my bikes and getting a new scooter is real motivation for me.

I’ll graduate in just over a year and hopefully I can afford a new scooter at that time. This gives me time to research the myriad of new scooters on the market and coming to market. The Honda Metropolitan was excellent transportation, providing me with 9,000 cheap & trouble-free miles of fun transportation. So a new Metropolitan is certainly at the top up my list.  New hybrid & electric scooters are hitting the market.

I’ll probably do like I did before — have both a car and scooter at the same time until I’m ready to sell the car. Once I have reliable use of my left arm/hand I’ll be able to join Enterprise’s car sharing program, WeCar, for local trips and be able to rent a car for longer trips.

But a cute scooter for the spring of 2010 sounds good for now.