Cracker by Damian Christie



I've always said that if oil is going to run out, the best thing we can do is to chew through it as quickly as possible so we can move onto something cleaner. Like those water-fuelled engines my P-smoking friends insist the petrol companies have been covering up for decades. That's how I justify driving a 1965 HD Holden Special. And if we are living in the last days of oil, I'll be buggered if I'm going down driving a SmartCar. Make it big, and make it hungry.

Of course, I also have to balance the burning desire to drive a muscle car until the gas runs out, with my urge to do the right thing by the planet. Until now I've been chucking my bicycle in the back seat and calling it "carbon neutral", but I don't know if that's fooling anyone. And increasingly, the thirsty old HD is hurting a little in the wallet department too. I'm happy to fork out for a good old carbon-emitting cruise down the motorway on a Sunday afternoon, but paying $50 every day or two so I can run a few errands in town doesn't make a lot of sense.

So I've joined the scooter revolution. A brand new 200cc Vespa (yes, you need a motorbike license; no I don't have one but I'm working on it; let's see what comes first, a fine or an L plate). It's great, it's white, and apart from today when I learnt that driving rain is even more aptly named when you're driving into it with your face exposed, it's a whole lot of fun. Easy to park too, or at least I'm told it is, but I'm still not quite sure where I'm supposed to leave it(?)

I'm the third of my friends to make the move to two wheels this year, and there's probably a dozen or so of my pals I know who've decided to ride. At $15 to fill it up (my early-adopting friends sigh as they recall the days when it was "only $12"), I can see a whole lot more of us heading that way in coming years. Having spent a bit of time in countries where scooters are the rule rather than the exception, the downside is inner-city air thick with two-stroke engines. Mind you, having sat behind a few cars at the lights recently, those vehicle emission rules still have a way to go too.

So what's my point?

If you see a dick on a white scooter bunnyhopping away from the lights with a cop behind him, spare a thought. But more importantly, if you don't see a dick on a white scooter, check your blindspot again before you pull out, thanks.

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