Thursday, February 12, 2009

Motorcycle junkie

When you're married to a motorcycle fanatic as I am, you spend a lot of time looking at motorcycles wherever you go.

Wherever we go, Jon must stop and look at every motorcycle he finds. This is especially true in foreign countries where different brands are manufactured. Then he takes pictures of them. Looking at motorcycles in foreign countries takes up a lot of time that could be spent in museums, parks and shops.

On a trip to London a few years ago, we visited the London Motorcycle Museum in a quiet suburb, and then made a day trip to the Sammy Miller Museum which is located in a small town 15 miles west of Southhampton. Sammy Miller is a motorcycle racing legend, so of course as long as we were in the country, Jon had to go there.

In Shanghai last spring, we went to the motorcycle market, a hodge-podge of dozens of repair and accessories shops. I really couldn't complain about that because we went there to buy parts for a Chinese motor scooter I owned. Still, I did enjoy the experience, and almost bought a couple of new helmets, but they didn't have the ones I wanted in my size. Just as well, I'm not sure where I would have put them in my luggage. Jon did buy a muffler for the scooter. It was a long, round cylinder. We were afraid it might look like a bomb to airport x-ray machines, so we had the hotel write "motorcycle muffler" in characters and put it with the muffler. Sure enough, when we got home, Jon found a note that said his luggage had been opened and inspected.

When we were in Beijing last fall, so I could research walking tours for the Visual Travel Tours podcasts I was doing, I snapped the above picture of a motor scooter. We were walking through the hutongs to a cooking class, when we came across a couple of motor scooters outfitted for firefighting purposes. Hutongs are narrow alleys that are much too small for regular fire trucks, so the ingenious Chinese adapted motor scooters for this purpose.

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