Editor's note. This column is being brought from the archives of the now former publication The Harnett County News.. It is the first in a series that appeared in 2004. The medical condition referenced has been cured by a miracle of God working through surgeons at UNC Chapel Hill. This column is dedicated to those heroes.
A two wheeled perspective
A medical condition now keeps me, at least temporarily, from behind a steering wheel of a car, but the necessity of transportation required me to purchase what is called a skooter, but is really a fancy name for a moped. Riding around town on my new wheels, complete with a camoflage paint job, is providing a new outlook and is teaching me a few things.
The law limits the speed of these vehicles, which are treated in the eyes of the law as a bicycle, to 20 miles per hour. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but it beats making long trips with only my shoes between me and the pavement.
Because I had not driven in several months, when I first got my skooter it was like being released from a prison cell. I can only wonder what the people thought as I “flew” down the road singing the words to the classic tune “On the Road Again.”
The first thing I noticed while driving Harnett’s back roads is there are some fast dogs out there. This reality hit me one day driving from Angier. Going along with the sweet whine of my new engine and my helmet on I didn’t notice a dog nipping at my heels.
The realization came when he literally passed me. I know this because I saw the whites of his eyes when he turned to look at me.
Now my new ride is no race car, but the 20 miles per hour I am allowed should be plenty of speed to out run this four legged friend, right? Trust me, it wasn’t.
I am not exaggerating when I say that I did not begin to lose him until I hit the top speed of 25 miles per hour. At that speed greyhound want to be finally fell off the pace and went back to his resting place, waiting for his next victim.
It seems funny to me how curious the public is about my ride. I laughed one day when a Harnett County “good ole boy” pulled up beside me and said “Lets see what that thing has got.”
What was this guy thinking? Here he is high in his muddy pickup spitting smoke out of dual exhaust, and being sarcastic about my little moped. I guess it provided a boost for his ego but to me it didn’t matter. Still, I felt like David looking up at Goliath.
My pride wouldn’t allow me to back down. He reved his engine and I reved mine, and believe it or not I actually beat him from the line. It seems his Goliath couldn’t start off as fast my lightweight David. He passed me within seconds, laughing as he did, but that moment of glory was worth putting a tiny dent in his arrogant attitude.
I have also gotten a quick lesson in defensive driving from this experience. It only takes one eighteen wheeled truck passing you on a bridge to make you quickly realize your vulnerability. The rear view mirrors quickly become your best friends.
When I first got the moped I was somewhat humiliated by the experience, feeling like I was something less than those who drove cars. Many moped drivers own their vehicles because of drunk driving offenses and I thought that is what people would think.
Now, I have realize the advantages. After all I bet that good ole boy doesn’t get 100 miles out of each gallon of gas.