Breaking in new tires on my scooter, and a horse in traffic

With new street tires in place of my dirt road tires from the dealership, I was eager to get back on the streets of NY. The mechanic cautioned me about the 50 mile break-in period for the new slicks. What better way to get some miles than to ride into Manhattan?

So this Friday, I traded up my usual commute for an exciting trek over the Queensboro Bridge. It was quite a hoot. I memorized a route with a glance of Google Maps and headed on my trek. Riding on Northern Boulevard, the asphalt was open season for the new tires. And with a single pull of the throttle, you could feel the 2-stroke working hard to keep the speedometer count going. It's incredible how a vehicle that's slower than a typical sedan can feel so frenetic. 

Weaving in and out traffic, I was able to beat the morning rush of traffic. Big trucks, SUVs, and yellow taxis all fought for real estate on bridge. My scooter paved its own route in between, squeezing through the narrow gaps like a maze. I made it to Manhattan with a trophy for Best Traffic Maneuverer.

I rode the scooter crosstown on 57th Street, hoping to grab West Side Highway southbound. Unfortunately, with no GPS (I avoid using my phone and scooting) and only my memory, I merged northbound on the highway with no choice but to continue riding. That's right, a 50cc scooter that has a max speed of 40 mph was sharing the road with cars going 75 mph on average. I hugged the right most lane and felt the other cars whoosh by me. I was in fear for my life. 

My nerves were shaken further after witnessing the aftermath of an accident: a Toyota Corolla with fully deployed airbags, smashed out windshield, and front end while an Audi A4 sat on the shoulder with its driver talking on the phone. It wasn't a good sign to me. I zoomed past the accident and headed out West 79th Street. I knew I'd be late for work. I kept to the local streets, dialing down the thrills. 

As I weaved in and out of traffic, I got caught in Times Square rush hour. Creating my own lanes on 46th Street, I still couldn't beat the traffic. I slowly meandered on a block. When I came upon the source of the traffic, a horse was breathing down my neck. For a second, I thought to try and cut off the horse to get ahead. However, I stashed those thoughts when the horse pulled its lips back and clacked its large, sharp teeth. With the horse asserting its right of way, I sat still in traffic. I didn't want to try my luck again.

On a green light, I sped through the intersection with no patience., scaring some jumpy tourists. The big screens, the LEDs, and the tourists were all a blur of light and screams. I was just trying to get to my workplace, so I hurled my sorrys and continued downtown.

Finally, the traffic thinned out on 7th Avenue. I made it to work in one piece. I parked the scooter behind a big honkin' SUV and dismounted. Just as I was leaving, a passerby gestured towards my scooter. I turned around and saw my license plate hanging off one measly screw. With no tools to fix it up, I headed into a busy work day, leaving the problem for later.

When I left work around 6pm, I came back to my scooter for some road therapy. Just as I was going to jerry-rig my plates, I noticed that the license plate was already fixed. It seems that a good samaritan used a ziptie to fix it. It was such a nice gesture and saved me so much headache. Thank God and thank you, friendly New Yorker.

Roaring back home, I had a gleaming smile on my face. A few miles shy of the break-in period, I rode in the 1st Avenue tunnel with my engine echoing in the walls.

I watched the road ahead with glee, a rebel in the city, my scooter forging a path home. 

 

Ashraf Ali