Thursday, August 6, 2009


We're still not quite ready to give up our dream of personal transportation. The idea of buying a car is still alive and well, but the reality of paying for a car in the city — especially including parking — dims our prospects.

Also in the running is the option of either a motorcycle or a scooter. They aren't as useful: in the winter we'd basically have to retire it. We can pack a whole lot less in saddle bags than in a trunk. No back seat, meaning it's only ever just the two of us traveling. And we simply can't go as far on a Vespa than we could in a car.

Still, something about this idea is compelling. There is ideal scooter parking only a few blocks from us, so we'd be set on that difficult front. Many of the trips we want to take are spontaneous day or overnight trips in the northeast, so we wouldn't need to pack much or drive for excessively long stretches. We could scoot our way around the city, making farther-flung neighborhoods more accessible all while avoiding the subways which are more crowded than ever these days.

We'd need to get our motorcycle licenses for the highway-rated Vespa, so that's the first obstacle to overcome. Maybe we can do that this fall, save up all winter, and then be scooting by first thaw. What do you all think?


Leslie said...

I find it a rather interesting idea! And surprisingly, I have to say . . . . a good one! :)

Tina said...

I love the scooter idea. And over here they ride them through winter - albeit just wet and not snowy. There are all kinds of accessories like hand protectors/ warmers and lap guard/mud guards that you can buy. And you'd be surprised what you can carry on your back and between your feet on these things!

I say: Not a full transportation solution, but a very big increase in city mobility! :)

rena said...

I'm torn. I think the vespa is a cute idea but you can't go to Ikea and pick up a bookcase with it. If you are willing to spend the money on the vespa, you could use that as a down payment on a car. I think you'll get such good use out of a car and being able to fit more than 2 is a plus :) If the car is a dead idea at some point then a vespa sounds like a great alternative.

Tori said...

It took me a while to come around to the Vespa idea, too, for just the reasons you mention, Rena. The economics of the Vespa just make it so much more accessible to us, though. A brand new Vespa is cheaper than many good used cars. More important, though, is that we can park the Vespa at no cost only a few blocks from us; there is an overpass over Amsterdam connecting one bit of Columbia’s campus to the rest. Underneath are spots to lock up motorcycles and Vespas securely and out of the rain. The garage near us, on the other hand, charges $500 a month for parking! We could try to find a cheaper garage someplace farther away, but it’s less convenient and at best I think we’re still looking at $200 or more per month. Plus, the Vespa gets 65 to 70 miles to the gallon, so we’ll spend so much less on gas. Insurance is a lot less, too.

By getting the Vespa, we’re essentially closing the door on the potential of getting a car, but since I can’t see how we can afford a car anyway, the Vespa is looking better and better.

Maybe we’ll be really impulsive, buy it today, and drive up to you tomorrow on it! :)

rena said...

Love it! In that case, I'm all for it :)

Spooky said...

Please ignore my motorcycle comment on your later post. :p