Despite the near-perfect sensation of riding a scooter, we all have our bad days on our scoots. Whether it's a flat tire, a parking lot drop, a crash or just having a small reliability problem when you are out there in Detroit, it turns a great day into a crappy one. Most of us have been there (and if you haven't, one day you will), and it's not a great feeling.
Being prepared for these small (or large) inconveniences can turn a bad situation into an OK one. A little delay on a ride out can even add to the story, but the number one priority is to come back home alive and with your scooter intact. To help with that, here are the five things to carry on your scooter. Make up a kit that fits the scoot that you ride and carry it religiously, either under the seat, in the glovebox or on a bag on the back. Joe's Army Navy has a great selection of smaller bags that are perfect for this.
1. Riding the right scoot - A scooter to match your riding needs
2. Security - Cell phone, insurance card, cable/chain lock, scooter alarm
3. On-the-road fixes - Your kit: Tire repair, electrical, basic tools, bodges, parking meter change/credit card
4. Preparation - fixing things before they break, pre-ride inspection, maintenance, battery charger
5. Plan B - Being a member of a scooter club or having scooter-specific recovery on your insurance, wrench nights, a friend with a truck or van
What's next: Motor City Shakedown 9 scooter rally preview
1. Riding the right scoot
Pick a scooter to match your riding needs - whether that's around the block, around town, between towns or on the road to the coast, pick a reliable, brand name scooter that you can trust. Buy new or used but get some help in picking the right one.
Always ride and park "heads up." Ride with your best awareness and when you get to your destination, have a plan to safely and securely park. Have a charged cell phone, your license/endorsement/insurance cards, and a way to secure your scoot to something immobile with you every time you ride.
3. On-the-road fixes
Make up a small kit that goes in your scoot. It should include a first aid kit, tire and electrical repair items, basic tools, quick fixes like that magic sealing tape, duct tape, wire and an assortment of screws, nuts and bolts for your scoot, plus parking meter change and your credit card.
Before your ride even starts, prepare for problems before they happen. Replace your cables (shifty) or belt (twisty) BEFORE they break and certainly check them at least once a year. Complete a pre-ride inspection before every ride, get your scheduled maintenance done and keep your scoot on a battery charger, if applicable. Buy the best oil that you can, change it often and keep an eye on the level before every ride (4-stroke), and make sure that you have a plan for 2-stroke oil and/or your premix. Buddies don't carry enough oil for everyone!
5. Plan B
Plan ahead for every possibility - keep your cell phone on your person, not in your scoot, join (or create) a scooter club so you will have someone to call, share knowledge about your scoot on club "wrench nights", and have a friend with a truck or van who will, in the worst case, pick you up in the middle of the night, in the rain. Pay them well.