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A Scooter Nerd’s Top 10


Aaron Hillegass

While zipping around town on this beautiful spring day, I noticed that nearly all of the cars were occupied by exactly one person. Why, I wondered, isn’t everyone roaring about on a motorscooter like me? A scooter gets great gas mileage, is a hoot to ride, and I haven’t died on mine even once.

Perhaps, I thought, they don’t know what gear will make the scooter a truly effective replacement for their cars. I’m a programmer, so I had to deal with problems like “How do I carry my 17” laptop?” For nerds who are considering the move, here is how I roll:

  1. Piaggio BV250 This is the same scooter the NYC police ride. It gets 60 miles to the gallon and has a top speed of just over 80 mph. Because it has large 16” wheels, the bike feels stable at those speeds. It also has an automotive power outlet, so you can charge your cellphone as you drive.
    I bought mine from a guy who had decided he wanted a Harley instead – he was clearly compensating for something.

  2. Givi E450 Top Case This case is big enough to hold a 17” MacBook Pro. It will require a mounting kit that depends upon the scooter to which you are attaching it. While you are coding in the coffee shop, the case will hold your helmet. (There is room for a second helmet, but you should tell your significant other to get their own damn scooter.)

  3. MacCase Jacket While the 17” laptop will go into the Givi case, a bulky laptop bag will not. Solution? A really simple bag.

  4. Cup Holder It works best to use your own tumbler with a closed lid. If you don’t have your own mug, to prevent from getting wet feet when the coffee sloshes I’ve done a couple things: close a piece of wax paper inside the lid (most shops have these for the danishes), or Starbucks has stickers that they use to label the bags of coffee beans. Ask for a sticker and put it over the hole in the lid. This works great, but don’t drink through the lid after you take the sticker off–some of the gummy stuff stays on the lid.

  5. Little thermometer/clock/compass Many scooters don’t have a clock, and few have thermometers or compasses. It is good to have an easy answer to questions like: “Am I late?”, “Why am I so cold?”, and “Where am I going?” Using velcro tape, you can stick it to your dash.

  6. Magnet The magnetic sensor in the road will often fail to notice your scooter, and you can sit a long time at a red light. If you mount a magnet on the underbelly of your ride and roll slowly across the sensor (you will notice the grooves in the pavement), it will feel your presence most of the time.

  7. Gloves These gloves have a squeegee on the thumb so that you can clear your face shield on misty mornings. They’re waterproof with Thinsulate lining

  8. 5.11 Tactical Pants My jeans tend to bunch up in the crotch on my scooter, and, in the timeless words of Morris Day, “Rollo likes his freedom.”? I’ve found two solutions: Go commando, or wear commando pants. These pants are durable and comfortable. And they have a dozen pockets.

  9. Armored Hoody Corazzo makes a breathable, waterproof jacket that looks really nice and has rubber armor around the elbows and shoulders. (The armor also makes a skinny guy like me look a little ripped. Sweet!)

  10. Steve Jobs T-shirt OK, this isn’t really about scooters, but I thought you might be wondering where I got the shirt.

The cowboy hat is part of my persona, but I really wear a helmet on the scooter because I don’t want to die. You, however, should not wear a helmet. See, if our species is ever going to evolve to withstand the brutal acceleration/deceleration that interstellar travel is going to require, we are going to have to start breeding out some of the delicateness. I think we should start by stress-testing your genes. Also, please stop wearing your seatbelt when you are in a car.

The last word in what to carry in your ride comes from Mr. Day:
“Morris, do you always keep lingerie in your glove compartment?”
“Well, none of my women wear gloves.”

Ride on.


Aaron Hillegass

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