Illustration for article titled The art of riding a scooter in a thunderstorm. Also, authorship request for SpecsGTP inside. Repost for the weekday morning crowd. Man, thats a long headline.

Consider this write up a formal request for a moderator to give SpecsGTP authorship. That’s the Kinja name for my buddy and fellow Born to be Mild Scooter Gang member Skim Milk. He would like to share the story of prepping and just getting to and from Idiot Fest 2019.


The words from here on out are his:

Skim Milk had an adventurous lead up to Idiot Fest 2019. I decided to get the valve stems replaced on the Chinesium 150 as they were severely cracked, even though the scoot only had 800 miles on it since new. Not wanting to gamble with a blow out, pulling both wheels and taking them to local dealer for replacement was on the menu. Everything went well until I reinstalled them and went for a test ride only to find a horrible out-of-balance vibration at 30mph. Instead of ordering fries with that shake, pulling the wheels again and heading back to the dealer the night before setting out was the only option.


Unfortunately by that time they were closed so it would come down to the slimmest of margins (or skimmest), of getting out of school tomorrow, racing to the dealer in time before they closed, heading home to reinstall them, and heading out to Cottage Cheese’s place. The tech at the dealer was honest about not balancing the wheels initially because I asked him to only replace the valve stems, and honestly that part is my bad because I decided to throw around my “I’m an ASE certified tech...”, oops! The rear needed so much weight that if time weren’t of the essence I would have replaced it, and the front wasn’t much better. Did I mention this was going to be 400+ mile run with a completely untested scooter? The tech and the manager were both laughing their butts off when they heard of the upcoming Idiot Fest and wished me the best of luck (and safety) as I raced home.

Once home the wheels were reinstalled, but there was no time for a test ride. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway: Friday was a rainy day. Even better than that is the weather went from rainy to full-blown thunderstorms. Not sure of how to proceed I consulted with Cottage Cheese, whose weather report indicated that if I were going to make the 25+ mile trip to his place would require me to leave immediately to avoid the next line of severe weather. Time to send it!


And send it I did. Rain gear on, Skim Milk began his first leg of Idiot Fest 2019 in a drizzle with continuous lightning in the sky. Within minutes the drizzle became rain, which became heavy rain, and then a full on deluge. Not 4 miles from home and the roadway was becoming flooded. Following the tire tracks of the panel van I was behind was literally the only option as the one time I tried to slow to pull over nearly led to the front washing out as the water had become that deep.

So let’s see: torrential downpour, cloud to ground lighting now surrounding me, nearly no visibility out of my visor, front end getting twitchy, not being able to spot the potholes or uneven road surface, and it’s night out. It was at this point I thought to myself “You are scared. This is THE stupidest thing you have ever done. If you wreck you have no one to blame but yourself you idiot.”


[OK, I lied, Shop Teacher/Cottage Cheese here for a moment. This may have been the dumbest thing Skim Milk ever done on two wheels, but I could reel off literally dozens of other dumber things he has done … I’m not going to do that, but c’mon Skim Milk … REALLY???]

After a bit of the strongest pucker-factor that my sphincter could possibly muster the weather actually improved, and by improved I mean the deluge was now only raining, still plenty of cloud to ground lightning, and visibility had improved to where I could see more than 30 feet in front of me. The lightning while terrifying was helping me to see down the road a bit so it was actually appreciated, although some of the close ones were loud!


I miraculously arrived at Cottage Cheese’s place after about an hour of riding; we loaded up both of our scooters in his truck in the rain, so that we would be ready to head out at the buttcrack of dawn the next morning. Once I had time to start pulling off layers I believe I would have been drier if I had just jumped into a pool and climbed out. The rain gear did an admirable job but I don’t think it was intended for naval use or hurricane force rain levels.

The end of Idiot Fest didn’t occur until minutes before midnight on Sunday. After getting back to Cottage Cheese’s place, Skim Milk had to ride back the original 25+ miles back to his house. While it was a little misty and cold out, the biggest issue was that the Chinesium 150 has a nearly useless headlight. At one point while riding down into the river valley where there are no street lights I had slowed to 25mph (in a 55mph zone) and still couldn’t see the roadway, lines, or basically anything else. After nearly running off the road into a ditch and trees, I relied on my memory of the road which was accurate enough to guided me back towards the sweet glow of city street lights. Arriving at home is when I came the closest to dropping the scooter over the whole journey: riding through mud straight into the garage. Luckily the shiny side stayed up the entire trip and the odometer showing exactly 409 miles rode in just over 48 hours since leaving. From severe thunderstorms, sunny weather, overcast skies, to fog and heavy mist, this was an Idiot Fest that may never be duplicated.

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