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Saturday, April 19, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 35.0° F  Fair
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Scooters and mopeds

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

Scooters and mopeds

Postby jjoyce » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:18 pm

I could barely get down my street this morning and planned an unconventional route in to work thanks to seeing reports of cars sliding off John Nolen and backing down Gorham. So imagine my surprise to run across students on scooters three times on Broom Street between Wilson and Johnson.

Last week on my way to the Kohl Center, I delighted my son in pointing out a pair of UW football players skidding to a stop in the slush on their scooters in front of the Red Shed. It's not every day you see a couple 300-pound dudes riding mopeds. It was like that infamous photo of the World's Heaviest Twins in the Guiness Book.

I'm amazed there hasn't been a tragedy. It seems criminally stupid to ride a scooter on slick streets and, of course, none of these kids was wearing a helmet. I'm sure they all felt like they needed to get to wherever they were going quickly and their scooters were the best options available. When I was their age, I probably rode my mountain bike in similar conditions and maybe that was stupid, too. But scooters travel much faster and, it seems to me, their drivers have much less margin for error.

I haven't been on a moped since high school, so I don't really have any idea how stable they are in these conditions. Does anyone know? Is riding a scooter in Madison during the winter the dumbest thing ever or not?
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Re: Scooters and mopeds

Postby Madsci » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:51 pm

jjoyce wrote: Is riding a scooter in Madison during the winter the dumbest thing ever or not?

Not voting is dumber.
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Re: Scooters and mopeds

Postby Mean Scenester » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:28 pm

Madsci wrote:
jjoyce wrote: Is riding a scooter in Madison during the winter the dumbest thing ever or not?

Not voting is dumber.

That statement is dumber still. Last I checked, the probability of fatality from not voting was statistically insignificant.

Between you and PJ there sure ain't a helluva lot of respect for the ol' Specter of Death.
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Re: Scooters and mopeds

Postby Stu Levitan » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:35 pm

I think it should be illegal to ride a moped with earbuds in.
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Re: Scooters and mopeds

Postby jman111 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:41 pm

jjoyce wrote:Is riding a scooter in Madison during the winter the dumbest thing ever or not?

Asking that question is dumber.
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Re: Scooters and mopeds

Postby Mean Scenester » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:45 pm

jman111 wrote:
jjoyce wrote:Is riding a scooter in Madison during the winter the dumbest thing ever or not?

Asking that question is dumber.

Jesus fuck, people. No. It isn't.

It might be if riding a scooter in winter were the dumbest thing you could possibly do. It's dumb all right, but if you think a round of Russian Roulette, skeetching behind a school bus, juggling live toasters in a bathtub full water or snowmobiling over lake ice in late April aren't dumber still you're an unimaginative toolbag.
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Re: Scooters and mopeds

Postby jman111 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:57 pm

If you lend enough credence to the possibility that riding a scooter in Madison during the winter is "THE DUMBEST THING EVER" to ask that question, I say asking the question is dumber.

The scooter riding may be ill-advised and dangerous, but it is far from the dumbest thing ever (a reasonable person could weigh the pros and cons and decide to ride). You'd have to be nearly devoid of comparative assessment ability to even suggest there are no dumber things (not to mention the temporal ramifications inherent in "ever").
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Re: Scooters and mopeds

Postby rabble » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:42 pm

What's the difference between a scooter and a moped?
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Re: Scooters and mopeds

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:52 pm

rabble wrote:What's the difference between a scooter and a moped?

Image
Scooter

Moped is the past tense of mope.
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Re: Scooters and mopeds

Postby Mean Scenester » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:56 pm

Apologies, jman. I misinterpreted your intent. I don't even know why I care. I think it's the weather. I'd go beat up a snowman if there were any still standing.

rabble wrote:What's the difference between a scooter and a moped?

Technically, you can pedal a moped. I'm not sure anyone even makes the things anymore. They weren't very effective in pedal mode, but as an alternate means of lugging your ass around, the option was there.

For my money mopeds and scooters are both pretty stupid and seem to be disproportionately attractive to stupid people, as evidenced by the lack of helmet wear among that same demographic. Also, a significant percentage of them seem to be wobbled about by people who would be doing themselves a favor by walking to a destination now and again.
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Re: Scooters and mopeds

Postby ArturoBandini » Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:20 pm

I admit that I share the irrational disdain and othering of "scooter people" evidenced by many forons here, but I have personally witnessed the aftermath of only one scooter accident in Madison. While certainly not completely safe (what is?), maybe scooters really aren't that dangerous. I've seen scooter people bouncing out of their seats as they careen across train tracks, dodging crossing pedestrians at high speed, and weaving through car and bus traffic while carrying an illegal passenger. But, in an apparent miracle each time, the vast majority of them do not crash. Another special annoyance is the "feet down" method of stabilizing a moving scooter in slippery conditions. Does that actually help?

So, what are the statistics on scooter crashes and injuries?

I am also annoyed with the scooters that have rusted-out mufflers and/or poorly adjusted carbeuretors (which is to say, about every fucking scooter in Madison) - the noise and local air pollution are a nuisance.

Also, seemingly for most scooter pilots, there are only two throttle positions - off and full-blast. I can't imagine that this is good for whatever sort of clutch scooters use to transfer torque to the wheels. Any mechanical types want to comment?

Or maybe I'm just envious.
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Re: Scooters and mopeds

Postby rabble » Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:37 pm

Mean Scenester wrote:Technically, you can pedal a moped. I'm not sure anyone even makes the things anymore.

You can get one in France, last time I checked.

I just want to know why we still use that word here since I haven't seen a street legal moped since 1959.
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Re: Scooters and mopeds

Postby jman111 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:14 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:Also, seemingly for most scooter pilots, there are only two throttle positions - off and full-blast. I can't imagine that this is good for whatever sort of clutch scooters use to transfer torque to the wheels. Any mechanical types want to comment?

I assume they utilize a centrifugal clutch, in which case full-blast would seem to be better than "feathering" the throttle by allowing for full engagement of the mechanism rather than intermittent slippage.

Having never owned nor worked on one, I don't know for sure. But I did cobble together more than one "mini-bike" as a kid, so I'm quite familiar with burning out centrifugal clutches. Full throttle generally isn't the problem.
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Re: Scooters and mopeds

Postby Igor » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:25 pm

jman111 wrote:The scooter riding may be ill-advised and dangerous, but it is far from the dumbest thing ever (a reasonable person could weigh the pros and cons and decide to ride). You'd have to be nearly devoid of comparative assessment ability to even suggest there are no dumber things (not to mention the temporal ramifications inherent in "ever").


This video clip came to mind as I read this discussion...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxN9Mw6iQUs
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Re: Scooters and mopeds

Postby snoqueen » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:32 pm

Most scooters have a continuously variable transmission. You can hear it particularly when they rev up.

View the second video on this page for a nice clear demonstration:

http://onemansblog.com/2008/12/03/how-a ... cvt-works/

I don't think this is the same thing as a centrifugal clutch, but correct me if I'm wrong or we're just calling similar things different names. On a scooter, there's no clutch and you're either in gear (continuously variable, not like a bicycle) or idling.
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