Thursday, March 3, 2016

Dark Ride

I put this on Modern Vespa last night but will give more detail about an unusual ride in dwindling light here.

While finishing work last night I got a call from my wife, Sarah, telling me that she was going to Yoga and that I was on my own for dinner. 

I had Rocket and thought that a 40 mile round trip ride to Everybody's in Baldwin for meat and vegetables would be fun. I do it a lot these days. 

About a month ago, Rocket's low beam stopped working, leaving me with a very low high beam only. It worked for as little as I had been riding the well used scooter. 

But I have been riding more lately as I repaired the last of the running issues last weekend. 

So I rode out to Everybody's and enjoyed a nice meal of ham with cabbage, lima beans and potato salad. 

Even with a working headlight, I was hoping to return home before it got too dark.  My lovely server did well and I was in and out in less than 30 minutes.

The sun was setting as I headed back for the twenty mile ride. A half mile into the ride, I noticed that the headlight was not working. I switched from high to low and neither worked. And the light was dwindling. 

I didn't want to stop, so I chose to ride as defensively as possible. And stay on lighted roads.

But I also wanted to beat the darkness, so I rode with some speed.  At one point on 90, I got frustrated with a truck and following car going 50 in a 60 mph zone, so I passed them.  While out in the oncoming lane, I realized that I was probably invisible to the cars coming my way, but I timed it well and got back with room to spare.

The fastest way, and in my mind the safest way home was to get on Interstate 10 at Chaffee Road.  That put me on a well lighted road with no oncoming traffic.  I could ride at a safe distance behind cars and be in control.  It worked well as I had no issues before getting off on Cassat Avenue.  From there it was neighborhood roads that were reasonably well lighted.  I stayed at a safe distance behind a car along Edgewood, using it as a blocker from turning traffic.  The last bit near home was ridden in quite dark conditions with no help.  I was pleased to make it without incident.

 I am aware that riding without a headlight is dangerous and illegal, but I made it home.  Much better in my mind than leaving Rocket out somewhere and calling for someone to pick me up.. 

Once home, I went straight to the owners manual and eventually found that I needed an H4 bulb. I found one at AutoZone and installed it in thirty minutes. Testing it showed it to be even brighter than the headlights in the other GT's. 

Just another scooter adventure.


  1. Lesson learned, I'll bet. Once either of the beams stops working, go out and buy a new bulb and install it before riding anywhere darkness may become an issue. If it ever happens again, give me a call. I keep a spare H4 blub at the house and could have brought it out to you last night. With a flashlight, we could have installed in a parking lot somewhere.

    1. Thanks Russ. You are the best. I think I will keep one in with my spare parts.

  2. At one point on 90, I got frustrated.....
    How out of character for you.

  3. I have two spares, one in the topcase. Once the low beam goes... changeroo at the next opportunity :)

    1. David, I will do the same now. I tend to push parts a little more than most. Luckily headlights for these things are available at any auto parts store.