Rather than drive her SUV a mile-and-a-half to her job at Avera St. Luke’s every morning, Angie Waiflein hops on her scooter. She gets to work just as fast and actually a little faster than in a car because she can park closer to the building.
She loves her scooter, she said.
Waiflein and other Aberdonians said they enjoy riding their scooters for multiple reasons. Here are seven of the top reasons:
There are few ways of transportation as zippy as a scooter. It can turn on a dime, accelerate quickly and maneuver past stalled traffic, if necessary.
See how agile the Shriners get around on their scooters during parades, and they are not even trying to get anywhere.
“I like to drive them,” said Dewey Hoffman. “They are easy to drive and a lot of fun.”
Miles per gallon
Scooters get great gas mileage. Steve Biegler, owner of C & S Motorsports, said the Yamaha Zuma, a popular 49 cc model, gets 132 miles per gallon. Both Waiflein and Hoffman say that great gas mileage is one of the reasons they love their scooters. Put in a few gallons of gas and you can drive a long time, Hoffman said.
Biegler said that sales of scooters always jump when gas gets expensive.
Motorcycle license not required
There are two types of scooters: those that have a 49 cubic centimeter (cc) engine or less and those that have a 50 cc engine or more.
The smaller engine category scooters do not require a motorcycle license. The 49 cc scooters have a maximum speed of about 40 miles per hour. That is plenty fast enough to drive the 25- and 30-mile-an-hour speed limits on most city streets.
Biegler said he sells more 49 cc scooters than the larger models.
“If you live at Richmond or Mina and drive to Aberdeen, you are probably going to get a 125 cc scooter, because they can go 60 to 65 miles per hour,” he said.
In addition to great gas mileage, scooters are less expensive than buying a car. A new Yamaha Zuma costs $2,749 at C & S Motorsports. A new 125 cc scooter costs about $3,590. Used scooters can be purchased for much less. Parts and repairs on a scooter are also less expensive than a car.
A scooter is so small that it does not need a regular-sized parking space. Many owners park their scooters wherever there is a little extra concrete or near a bike rack. Waiflein said that at Avera there is a designated spot for scooters and motorcycles. She said that when she arrives at work at 7 a.m. hers is usually the only scooter there, but when she leaves at 3:30, there are usually about six.
Newer scooters have fuel injection and liquid cooling systems. They are more durable and efficient than older models. Hoffman said he has ridden a scooter since 2005 and the ones today have more pep and are built better than the older ones.
Pick your adjective: hip, cool, quirky or unique. There is something about a person riding a scooter that is appealing. Maybe it is the popularity of scooters in Europe that gives the mode of transportation a certain Continental coolness. Audrey Hepburn made the Vespa scooter famous in America after her 1952 movie “Roman Holiday.” Many movies since then have shown beautiful people on scooters.
While scooters can not match the muscular coolness of a Harley Davidson motorcycle, most scooter owners have a sense of humor about their bikes.
Hoffman likes to joke about his scooter to his friends who ride Harleys.
“I told my friends I was going to Sturgis, but that I would have to leave a month ahead of time to get there,” Hoffman said.
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