Times are tight and fuel is expensive (as are the buses), so when someone tells you that they’ve got a means of transport that will get you around at times that exactly suit you (unlike a bus) and it would give you well over 100 miles per gallon, you’ve just got to listen.
Adrian from Church Street Motorcycles, Ventnor got in touch with VB a while back to suggest we might like to try the Honda Vision 110 scooter and with the Olympic Torch Relay coming to the Isle of Wight, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to test it out.
Why the Torch Relay?
We planned to report live from each of the stops on the Olympic Torch Relay and as a semi-reformed motorbike rider, I knew that two wheels are better than four when there traffic to negotiate around. And one thing we knew for sure was there was going to be a lot of congestion around the Torch – even if it was just going to be the sheer number of vehicles the Relay was bringing of their own!
I hadn’t ridden a scooter before and the sit up position was quite different to what I was used to. Rather than tucking your feet up like a racing-jockey, as you do on a sports bike, the scooter is quite like sitting on a chair, with your legs being shielded from the on-coming winds by the cowling in front of you.
Getting it started is a doddle due to the electric start and you don’t need to think about having to turn the headlights on, as that’s automatic.
The controls are simple. If you can ride a bicycle, you’ll know how to ride a scooter as both brakes are controlled through cycle-like pull brake levers. To get moving, you simply twist the right-hand throttle and you glide away at a perfectly acceptable speed. There’s also no gear changing to worry about.
Unsurprisingly performance isn’t electric – that’s not what scooters are for – but I found no trouble maintaining my position in traffic on the many different speeds of Island roads I travelled on. Equally if you need to travel slowly, the throttle was easy to control.
When you park, just pop up the lock on the seat and you can store your helmet safely, so you don’t need to carry it around and it’s out of the rain.
Finding a place to park is easy. Amazingly, at the time of writing this article, you can park free of charge within any designated Isle of Wight Council pay and display area on street or in bays in their car parks.
Following the Torch
When I was tracking the Olympic Flame route, I went all over – to every place it was shown in public. Setting off from Ryde, I rode over to Totland; then Yarmouth; Carisbrooke; then Newport; ending at East Cowes. Returning to Ventnor in the evening, followed by a few other local trips got me covering 89.1 miles on the scooter.
At each and every stop I quickly found an easy place to park, close to the route of the Torch, and when it was gone, I was the first one out of the area.
Not only that, but as the day went on and the traffic queues got longer, I was able to safely make my way past all of the traffic stuck in jams to the front of the queues.
Frankly, if I hadn’t had’t been on a bike, there’s no way I would have been able to get to the centre of the action to see the Torch go past.
It’s easy to see how, when applied to commuting, this can be a significant advantage.
So let’s get down to brass tacks about the cost of running it.
We’ll open with the yearly road tax. £16. Yes, £16 for a whole year.
Heading to the petrol station, the anticipation of how much I’d spent was high. I knew that I hadn’t taken it easy when riding in the national speed limit areas, so I felt it unlikely that I’d get close to the Vision’s 145 MPG quoted in Government figures.
Indeed I didn’t, but amazingly I’d only used £4.91 worth of fuel. That works out to 5.5p per mile at an impressive 115 MPG.
For about the cost of taking a Southern Vectis bus just from Ventnor to Newport (£4.50), the Vision will get you between Ventnor and Newport for almost four return journeys for nearly the same amount of money.
The Honda Vision 110 is £1,800 on the road and Church Street Motorcycles are running a credit purchase scheme with Honda that, once you’ve put £300 down, you pay £50/month over three years, then you own it outright.
Take it for a demo ride
Church Street Motorcycles have a demo day running this Saturday (11th August) when you can try this and other bikes in the Honda range.
If you can’t make it this weekend, just get in touch with Adrian, he’s got a permanent demo version that you can arrange to borrow at other times.
Church Street Motorcycles
Isle of Wight
Please support Church Street Motorcycles. By them and other companies sponsoring features and taking advertising, they enable you to continue to read VentnorBlog for free – Ed
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