Learning to deal with mixed signals is a life skill. One which it seems that many people, particularly men struggle with. I am among them. If there is one thing I struggle with the most in life, it is dealing with the mixed signals of my own wife. What she says, and what her body language/actions say are often at complete odds. Being a fairly literal person, I tend to want to take her at her word. I miss the body language, and then end up misunderstanding what she intended.
When I get on the scooter, I switch gears without realizing it. I cope with the mixed signals because I expect them. Drivers around me as constantly sending mixed signals. Preparing to do one thing, then in fact doing another. The obvious ones like turn signals, we as prudent riders have learned to never trust. But what about the less obvious ones? Slowing at a stop sign, but never really stopping? That person preparing to turn into the road, looking away from you and the wheels start moving?
On the road, we see mixed signals all day, every day, and as rider's we either learn to cope or we stop riding.
Since the beginning of the year, I have been working hard to get more fit. Being a programmer & small business owner, I spend a lot of time behind a desk. That is not conducive to being very fit. 20 years ago, I could jump on a bicycle and ride 100 miles pretty much at will. In January when I really got serious about getting fit, a 2 mile run was barely doable, and a 10 mile bike ride was a stretch. That was 30+ lbs ago, and just a bit over 600 miles ago.
Yes, 600 miles. Combined walk, run and bicycle miles. No, I am not following one of the big diet plans, I am working on a plan geared towards my goals, and weight loss isn't a goal, it is a by product. You see my goal is to run and finish a marathon with my brother. In order to accomplish that goal, I had to fix some things in my life and lifestyle.
For me, it is fairly simple.
1. Get back into a routine of fitness. (Run Mon,Wed,Sat - Ride Fri,Sun - Golf(walk) Thur)
2. Don't eat like an idiot (No more french fries or chips, smaller portions, fewer 'cokes')
In June of last year, I turned over the keys of my car to my daughter and went full time scooter commuter. In the ensuing year I have ridden in all the conditions that Atlanta weather will throw at you: rain, snow (flurries), ice (patchy), wind, pollen, heat,even more heat, and of course oppressively humid heat. To work, to play, to workouts and anywhere else that strikes my fancy. For the most part, it's been good. There have been a few moments along the way where a car might have been nice.
50lb buckets of pool chemicals are a little tough to transport. 3 gallon Crepe Myrtles are exceptionally difficult to transport on the scooter. Solutions to hauling a bicycle on a scooter are difficult to find, and ungainly for the most part. Gearing up for the ride becomes a lot more complex when your destinations become more complex, and complacency is not something that is specific to car drivers.
This year has been a lot of learning. Learning to cope, or more specifically, adapt, to the realities of commuting by scooter and having no other readily available option. Having both in the garage and having the option to use the car whenever desired and not having that option really does affect how you go about your day. It makes you plan your trips better. It also puts a new stress on your gear.