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Irony on Two Wheels - Peak Oil Preparedness
at the end of the world, will you feel fine?
Irony on Two Wheels
I've been posting for a year or two now about motorcycles and scooters for future transportation needs, because they offer a much better power to weight ratio and still allow you to get to work, using Much Less Fuel. It could save our civilization (economy) and allow for some happiness while we transition into purely electric grid-based vehicle networks (streetcars and electric passenger trains). Scooters are the bare minimum of vehicle that don't require human muscle power (bicycles) to operate. They let you get to work without being physically drained, so you can do your job to the satisfaction of an employer expecting you to do physical labor. As that's likely the primary occupation of our future (physical labor) getting there without being tired is really important.

Scooters. They're based on a small engine attached to the rear wheel on a step-through frame with front shields to keep the slashes off so you arrive with clean clothes. Not for short skirts, but those aren't really appropriate for manufacturing are they? The most basic scooter was air dropped by the million over Europe during WW2, and the tiny 49cc engine is approximately the same power as you pedalling a bicycle, and that design gets you around 120 mpg. They've been like that for most of a century. Its well proven technology, fully mature. A couple italian veterans invented the Vespa scooter using that air dropped engine and an American patent for an automatic transmission for ease of use and suddenly a very fuel efficient vehicle anyone can use with a few minutes training was born. Of course, this is where the irony comes in. The primary manufacturer of Scooters is in Italy, a nation that is heavily invested in Greece, a nation about to Default. Italy is expected to do the same, perhaps later the same day. Parts for export may not be around because they'll end up dumping the Euro (currency) in the Default and go back to Lire. Italy, being as Globalist as any other nation, also manufactures many scooters in China then puts their badge on them. You would think this would be a good thing, but getting replacement parts for these is troublesome since the contracts seem to be limited rather than ongoing, as the cost of Chinese-made Italian scooters (Vespa) is a huge markup meaning they end up Toys for rich people rather than transportation for poor people. Parts delays are measured in weeks, not days. Taiwan only ships parts by air freight (they also make scooters) but for some reason can't get them onto a plane in less than 5-6 weeks. The only cheap scooters are offbrand Chinese made ones, with no replacement parts at all, and are famously unreliable so wrong for transportation to a job you actually want to keep. Japan used to manufacture scooters and cars in a district called Saitama, which got slammed by a Tsunami last March and is still rebuilding and might not end up making frivolous vehicles like scooters when all is said and done.

The irony is that the vehicle we need to get through Peak Oil may no longer be available due to natural and financial disaster. Unless domestic scooters are manufactured in each nation who wants to use them, we're going to be bicycling or walking to work. Lovely.
4 comments or Leave a comment
darksumomo From: darksumomo Date: October 10th, 2011 12:48 am (UTC) (Link)

theheretic From: theheretic Date: October 12th, 2011 01:02 am (UTC) (Link)
A scooter is neither of those.
merccom From: merccom Date: October 10th, 2011 03:45 am (UTC) (Link)

isent it you that says you need to find a good mechanic that knows how to fix things without just replaceing parts?

or learn how to do it yourself

you could always follow part of the alpha strategy. when you get a new scooter go ahead an stock up on the most likely to break or need to be replaced parts.

the other good news on scooter engines is most stuff is interchangeable. the 49cc is mostly unchanged since the beginning of time. a carb that works on a 66 vespa will also work on a new china scooter. a tire is a tire a strut is a strut a piston ring is a piston ring a clutch pack is a clutch pack an ignition coil is an ignition coil.

the secret is understanding how things work.
theheretic From: theheretic Date: October 10th, 2011 07:59 am (UTC) (Link)
If only I lived somewhere flat enough that 49cc was enough engine. If only I owned a house so I'd have a garage to work on a vehicle, and a place to lock it up at night so it isn't "borrowed" by a couple strong junkies with a pickup truck. Flatlanders can enjoy the above advice well.
4 comments or Leave a comment