Thursday, September 25, 2008

Time Out

London
I've barely used my scooter to get to work recently. Two weeks ago, I did an intensive driving course in a vain attempt to pass my car test. While I was learning, my instructor banned me from using the scoot to purge habits that don't translate into car driving. As it happens, I failed for speeding and er, "cornering like you were on a motorcycle". On monday I rode to work as usual, only to find that the Aldgate one-way system had been remodelled into a two-way obstacle course of traffic lights and widened pavements. Apparently it's to create a 'piazza-like environment'. I'm all for putting pedestrians first, but I can't imagine who'd want to hang about on that polluted corner. Anyway, it was fine on the way to work, but on the way back the entire length of Lower Thames Street, Tower Hill, Aldgate and Mile End Road as far as the Whitechapel Hospital was a long line of hooting, static, cars, vans, lorries, taxis and cement mixers. I'm not much of a filterer, and progress through this maze of metal was torture. It took me longer to get home that night than it would have if I'd got the tube. It used to take 20 minutes. Same thing on tuesday, but in the rain. So i'm having a break until City Hall sort the phasing of the traffic lights. Scootering, after all, is meant to be fun.

2 comments:

A F-A said...

My dear chap! FORGET the car...currently I am in NY where the Vespa seems to be de rigeur for the achingly chic! Hordes of them, although I feel duty bound to report that, particularly around SoHo, many of the riders tend to be *ahem* a little limp of wrist. Or Italian. The African Americans (I hate that phrase) seem to all ride butch looking Yamaha scooters, whilst your good ol' redneck rides the Hog. Haven't seen a Lamb-chop, but did see a guy on a thundering old Cafe Racer Norton yesterday!

Ten Inch Wheeler said...

I saw just one classic scoot on my one and only trip to NY - a Lambretta series 3 - and someone had set its saddle on fire.

I suspect a lot of those Vespas will be LML clones from India, which are rebadged 'Stella' in the US. Very nice they are too - they're called the Star over here. I nearly got one. Some jokers even say that the LML is better made than the latter- day versions of its Italian cousin.

The NYPD used to ride Lambrettas y'know.