Mopeds provide a different breed of collegiate ride

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Mopeds provide a different breed of collegiate ride

Postby Micronaut » Wed Oct 12, 2005 5:05 pm ... b13e875e76

We’ve all heard them, seen them and inhaled their exhaust smoke. They cut us off at crosswalks, we see them everyday and yet their mere existence still remains a mystery to many. I’m talking about mopeds and their recent resurgence on our campus. Sure, many of you have cars and love to cruise the commuter lot for nearly 45 minutes to find a spot that’s as far from your class as your apartment. For others there’s always the faithful Blacksburg Transit; the buses that continuously circle the Drillfield like tanks, transporting students to and fro. I can’t speak for everyone, but my only incentive for boarding the BT is the promise of being able to pull the stop cord and hear the soothing automated voice say, “Next stop … University Mall and Math Emporium.” But, soon we all must face the problem of what to do when the buses stop running, or when filling up our gas tanks costs more than out-of-state tuition. Maybe we need to turn to a more resourceful and exhilarating alternative; the great American moped.

First, you must take a closer look into the life of a moped rider— a life of risk, camaraderie and no regrets. When I say “risk” you think I mean danger, but mopeds are hardly dangerous when operated properly. However, there’s always the risk of looking idiotic on one. This isn’t so much a risk as it is an issue of pride. To people with that attitude I say, put pride aside and ride.

Also another necessary clarification — mopeds and scooters are not of the same breed. Scooters are for the elderly and the meek — mopeds are for the fearless. There are plenty of stereotypical preconceptions about a standard moped rider. Maybe when you picture one you see a guy in high-tops, a black zip-up hooded sweatshirt and possibly a lip ring. Some might even call him “Emo.” Sure, that may be the clichéd moped rider exterior, but who’s to say we all can’t ride? I say, girls can ride as well as boys; young as well as old; it should be a universal movement.

Then you will say to me, “But Susan, there is no way I would be caught riding a moped while still maintaining my current high-ranking social status.” I used to feel the same way; to me mopeds were for losers and those who couldn’t afford. To my surprise, many of my friends, both male and one bold female, fell victim to the moped plague. They treated their ‘peds like their first born child, and I too came to understand their true charm. Perhaps there is nothing more enlivening for a single girl like myself, than sitting on the back of a moped, arms wrapped around a male chauffeur, the wind in our hair and the endless stares of hundreds of spectators in our midst. Sure this may become a spectacle, but what is better is the sheer thrill of the journey and the door-to-door service.

Junior political science major, Dylan Wedan, an avid moped rider, tells it best when he says, “A couple years ago, when I was a freshman, there was a moped gang that ruled this campus with an iron fist. Now, most of those members are dead or have graduated, but they used to have a saying: ‘Mopeds are for riding, gangs are for fighting, but love brings them together.’ While wholly affirming this central axiom, I’d submit another saying for this new generation: ‘Mopeders: We do what we want.’” This take-no-prisoners attitude is something we all could learn from.

My super senior brother and his posse are the common moped folk at Tech. In their classic flying-V formation, the gang may appear to terrorize the occasional unknowing bystander, but they mean no harm. The Drillfield is their haven, and the student body, their captive audience. Walking to class, I can hear the faint murmur of that all-too-familiar moped engine, it’s a lullaby to my ears, and a sign that one is approaching. These fearless riders have a sense of unity most of us may never understand until we sit on the throne of a moped. The occasional high five between two adjacent moped riders is a rather inspiring sight. It shows there is such a thing as good, clean fun in this world.

So am I saying that everyone must own a moped to endure a trouble-free college existence? Of course not. Mopeds have their faults too. They can break down, require the occasional pedal up a steep hill and sometimes there isn’t enough room on one for two. But, maybe it’s time to consider a different way of getting around. Dare to be different, Virginia Tech, dare to ride.
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