I am probably setting myself up to be the butt of some cruel jokes at the hands of the entire biker community, but I have to confess to liking this little 50cc scooter. It was our response to the increasing cost of bus fares to work and the antidote to the increasing frequency with which I collected parking tickets in Nottingham.
We live about 4 miles from where I work, the other side of four hills, so I put my foot down when it was suggested that I could have a pushbike. We worked out that I could ride a scooter on my car driving licence, so we set out on one of Sue’s fact-finding missions to Midland Scooter Centre in Stapleford where we looked at one or two machines that seemed to be styled for getting granny down to the local shop. There was no way I would ride one of those, thank you.
So I ended up as the proud owner of a red 50cc scooter that I am sure the marketing department at the Italian manufacturer saw as an entry-level machine for teenage lads. I suppose I should have been embarrassed, but I wasn’t. Jo-Jo, as the scooter became known (registration FN 52 JJO), was the perfect machine for that short commute to and from work. In it’s whole life it did very little else than trundle at a maximum of 30 miles per hour between home and work.
I would probably still be riding it now had it not been for one of those SMIDSY accidents that plague far too many riders. Except that the driver of the red Renault Clio who turned right straight in front of me back in February 2006 didn’t actually say “Sorry”. Although the scooter was very badly damaged, I came out of it comparatively unscathed, although the half-dozen sessions with a very attractive young physiotherapist made my bashed knee worthwhile. I also took some satisfaction from the fact that my helmet shattered her windscreen when I bounced onto the bonnet.
It took the insurance company about a year to pay out, by which time my knee was as OK as it is going to be, the scooter was a memory and it’s replacement had done nearly a thousand miles, mostly on that commute.
I regret that the only photos I have of this loyal and uncomplaining workhorse were taken by Sue on the back of the truck that took it away after the insurance company had decided that it was a write-off.
In Part 4, I’ll introduce the current commuter machine which, you may be relieved to learn, is a proper bike.