Back to the Scooter Life

Weather: Sunny, 80’s, monotonous perfection.

Scooter Life is One Long Picnic...
Hey Booboo, is that a pic-a-nic basket I see on your scooter?

My first thought was: Somebody shoot me! Please, tell me that I am not riding a bright yellow maxi-scooter in public! This can’t be happening! But then, the adult, mortgage-strapped, wage-slave Gary woke up and took charge of the proceedings. And a good thing it was, too…

Ahhhhh, it is so nice to be on the parkways again. I don’t know what it is about a full-size motorcycle that makes me want to mix it up with the maniacal morons on the freeway. Sure, I save half an hour getting to work in the morning, but that’s at the expense of any peace-of-mind I might have started the day with.

I arrive at early meetings full of adrenaline, muscles bulging and veins pulsing, and people are kind of stand-offish until I settle down and blend into the daily flow of life around the office.

No, I think I have finally made up my mind: The twist-and-go, automatic scooter is the best way to commute to work within the confines of the cities.

On Saturday, I was finally going to take delivery of my very own Baron scooter. My wife Amy drove me over to the warehouse in the family Beetle. Emily was sitting impatiently in the backseat, waiting to see this new wonder.

I had chosen the 250 SX, in the same red and silver colors as the Baron I rode last winter. This bike is capable of speeds around eighty miles per hour, and still gets around seventy miles per gallon. I proved that with the shop Hot Rod that I tested earlier this spring.

Riding a variety of scooters that belong to the Company is certainly fun, but there is nothing like having your very own little hotrod, that you can modify however you want.

We arrived right when they opened. I went in to inspect my Red Baron Hot Rod, and saw the vented grille that my testing had made necessary. That was a good feeling. Everything else was the same as my winter Baron, except we had gained 100cc’s more displacement and an equivalent amount of horsepower. I couldn’t wait to take it out…

Unfortunately, this particular scooter had problems with mid-range throttle response, and that is not good when you intend to ride about in normal traffic. Certainly just a glitch in the plumbing or maybe the carburetor itself, I didn’t know. I had to go to work that day to check on an experiment I was running, so I couldn’t hang around while we figured out the problem.

So we looked around the Baron warehouse, and found a demo that was ready to go. It was yellow… very bright yellow with silver accents. Ugh. The name on the side says “Hammer 2.5″. Well, being a Baron Scooter Test Pilot, I felt it was my duty to take her out and see what she could do. So I saluted my crewchief Loren, and launched out of the parking lot at thirteen hundred hours.

This scooter is very similar to the Black Baron PM 250 that you have seen here before. But this one has the bold graphics necessary for it to sell in the Miami, Florida marketplace from whence it came. Not exactly my cup of tea…

After break-in, I took it up to seventy miles per hour on the freeway, just to validate the manufacturer’s claims. Since then, I have ridden it to work every day and home each night, on my beloved parkways, and it hasn’t let me down at all.

On Tuesday, my wife Amy and I, along with our daughter Emily Rose, went for a scooter picnic at a nearby park. We met another couple we know, who have a daughter in school with Emily. The ride was great, and we had a wonderful time, and the girls posed for the following picture:

Starlets on scooter...
Emily Rose and her friend Annabella… glamour personified.

Today, I rode Old Yeller to work again, and afterwards we went back to Baron HQ to check on my Red Baron Hot Rod. Well, the problem persists, even though we swapped carburetors with the other Hot Rod. That means the vacuum plumbing is wrong, or maybe the fuel check valve… I don’t know. I’m leaving it to the experts.

Meanwhile, I am riding Old Yeller, and I guess that isn’t so bad. This is a comfy ride, and it runs just fine. I sit down in the saddle and twist the throttle, and away we go. We can outrun most cars from a stoplight, and squeeze through the spaces that we need to get through traffic. It is so much simpler than riding Frogwing, and there isn’t that pressure to conquer all. Meanwhile, the full-face helmet and sunglasses afford me a small measure of anonymity.

Yeah, I guess I could get used to this. In fact, I think I already have.

14 Responses to “Back to the Scooter Life”

  1. Tom Staggs Says:

    All right a scooter entry. Just why I joined.
    Old Yellow is too formal it should be “ol’ yellar”
    This name has a great history in racing.


  2. seagullplayer Says:

    The little white “Vespa clone” is pretty cool.

    Put a dark visor in your full face and don’t talk to anyone you know.
    That should get you through another week of yellow joy…

    Rubber Down

  3. phil Says:

    It’s all a matter of taste, of course, but I kinda like the yellow. Of course, the ‘previous owner’ of my Airhead had painted it yellow, and my MINI is yellow, so maybe it’s just me.

    Apparently the Yellow MINI has the worst resale, proving… ?

  4. jim Says:

    I think yellow is a good color. It stands out in traffic. Safer that way, if it were me, I’d have a yeller scooter. I think Susan would like one of them there yella scoots:)
    Good picture of the girls. They look happy.
    see ya

  5. Gary Charpentier Says:

    Tom: Well, I’m glad I could accomodate you. The term I used was “Old Yeller”, and that’s the name I’m going with for this Hammer 2.5 scooter I’m riding at the moment. It pays homage to the book, while not trespassing on the racing heritage of the hotrod you linked us to. I am well acquainted with both.

    SGP: I considered such a strategy. But then, I thought, “What the hell?”…

    I am a Baron Scooter Test Pilot, after all. I may be asked to torture a hot pink Vespa clone or a chartruese Retro at any moment!

    Do I refuse, as though I am insecure in my manhood? Of course not! I’ll beat the hell out of them if it means that Baron is going to bring better scooters into the country. I pity the fool who makes fun of me in traffic, if he cannot outrun me when he pisses me off…

    phil: My mom owns a 1971 Ford Maverick Grabber in bright yellow and black. It is an attractive car. A lady at work has a new Mustang, also in yellow and black. Pretty.

    But I dress all in black, most days, for reasons too deep to explore in this shallow blog. The only colors acceptable in my personal conveyances are black, olive drab, and bright, Ferrari Red. We have history, and I’m too old to change.

    jim: If I wanted safe, I’d drive a (bright yellow) Hummer! Just kidding, of course. My safety depends on my awareness, experience, and reflexes.

    The first assumption is that I am invisible, no matter what I am riding. I don’t depend on anyone to see (or hear) me. I depend on myself to avoid them. That makes it simple, if a bit more stressful. But in the end, it is also more rewarding, because I am living the commute, rather than just enduring it.

    Yes, the girls are happy. Children have the gift of ignorance which some of us never lose. I envy them…

    Ride well,

  6. Dan Jones Says:

    Welcome back to scooter world. Whew… that’s some color scheme.

    Hiyo is through his break-in period and seems to have the growing pains behind him. Just passed 2000 kilometers (that’s about 1200 miles when converted and corrected) yesterday and the scooter has been running like a top. A few little issues were touched up by Loren and the gang. Now I only get to stop in for social reasons and to eyeball the V5.

    Here’s hoping your rad, hot red, red hot hot rod roars to life rapidly.

    See you on the road.


  7. Biker Betty Says:

    The yellow scooter looks pretty cool!!! Hope they get your Red Baron Hot Rod fixed fast for you. At least they had the other one for you to borrow in the meantime.

  8. Gary Charpentier Says:

    Dan: Nice to hear from you again. I was wondering how you were doing. We should get together for a real ride sometime soon…

    Betty: As it turns out, they are still really busy around the shop, so my little Hot Rod is not a top priority. I am going to have to solve this myself, sometime after the holiday weekend. I’ve got several ideas about what to try next, and if worse comes to worst, I can always just swap parts until it’s fixed. But that’s kind of like cheating, I guess.

    We are planning a bunch of family scooter rides this weekend. Watch this space…

    Ride well,

  9. Steve Williams Says:

    “But I dress all in black, most days, for reasons too deep to explore in this shallow blog.”

    Now you can’t just introduce something like that and walk off…

    Do you wear a beret with those black clothes? Writing, photography, it all makes sense….


  10. Gary Charpentier Says:

    Steve: Who says I can’t?

    No beret for me. Not since the U.S. Army made them common as blue jeans, anyway.

    I wear black for mostly practical reasons. Fooling around with motorbikes means getting dirt and grease on your clothes. If you are wearing anything else but black, you will look sloppy whenever you go out in public.

    The fact that some people also wear black when they are in mourning, as I am for our murdered democracy, for instance, might come into play as well. But writing that invites the 900-pound gorilla back into the room (notice he is gaining weight?), and violates the restraints of my Ride to Work mission.

    It also invites other folks who dress in black to come and visit me, armed to the teeth, in the wee hours of the morning. No thanks. I didn’t purchase my own personal copy of “The Patriot Act”, so I don’t know which of my constitutional rights are still in effect. Better shut up while I can still write…

    Ride well,

  11. irondad Says:

    “Old Yeller”. Hope life does not follow art too closely. If you see pronounced foaming at the intake, be prepared.

  12. Jason Says:

    I have a black Baron 150 VLA and have a little over 700 miles on the bike so far, but I am getting a vibration that seems to be coming from the rock guard under the rear fender, anyone else have problems with this? I have checked and don’t have any loose bolts or anything. I talked to the dealer and he was telling me on some he has had to cut away part of the guard because it rubs against the engine and creates the vibration I am hearing.

    Any help would be appreciated since am very new to the Baron Scooters.



  13. Jason Says:

    Sorry all, I fixed the problem this weekend, took off the rock guard and was still making the same vibration sounds. I went and rechecked the bolts for the bracket that hold the muffler in place and “low and behold!” the noise went away… So thought I would post this, in case anyone else ran into the same problem.


  14. Rudy Santiago Says:

    Hi, My name is Rudy and I need to ask a question. I purchased a hamer 2.5 scooter for my sons birthday off of e-bay. The scooter was transported from Florida to Oklahoma; while in transit it took a beating. I am trying to locate replacement parts for this scooter but not having much luck. I obtained information on Baron/Wusi scooters and made contact with them but after repeated attempts there is no responce or return correspondence (frurstrating) Does anyone have a point of contact so that I may order parts ? The carrier stated that I would be reimbursed for the items that are needed. Thanks R.