Sunday, 21 April 2013

Spring Scooter Musings

Spring is here and, despite the bad weather we've had, it's time to get on my scooter. Trouble is I don't have a new battery. I left getting it until I got back from a short a trip and went to the store yesterday that is all things automotive in Canada, Canadian Tire. The guy at my local store looked at my old battery and said he doubted they'd have one but he did a computer search and found that although that store didn't have one in stock, several other stores did. Just in case, he called the next closest store and then the next one and the next one. The computer showed they had the battery in stock but they did not really have any on the shelf. So now I have to wait for one on order.

I took this experience as a sign of two things. One: batteries for scooters are still low on the priority of automotive shops in Canada - how I long for the streets of Vietnam yesterday where every street has a small shop with everything needed for scooters and small motorbikes.  Two: the fact the batteries supposedly on the shelves were not there meant people were buying them faster than the stores were changing their inventory list.

That's hardly a scientific survery but it looks like the world of scootering in Canada is making slow headway. Once again, though, I have to look elsewhere to see how quickly small two-wheeled vehicles are taking over the world. Spring brings stories of the rapid growth of scooters elsewhere. Take this story from India for instance where scooter sales are up more than 14 per cent.

And this one that shows two-wheeled vehicles outpacing cars.

But I don't want to continue writing a blog that shows the expansion of scootering elsewhere and the increasing popularity here. (Just this week I was in the small town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and noticed how many locals were riding around on scooters including a nifty covered BMW scooter like the one in the picture below from the BMW website.)

BMW picture

While I will keep posting scooter news and accounts of my own experience I am more interested in exploring the notion of what two-wheeled vehicles are doing for people's mobility especially women's. Saudi Arabia may be a long way from letting women drive cars or motorcyle but I took the recent news that women will be allowed to ride bicycles for "recreation" a good sign. Women gained a lot of mobility (and freedom) more than one hundred years ago on this continent when they started riding bikes. More of this to come but here's an Aljazeera story about women and bicycles in Saudia Arabia:

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