Out of My Mind 2

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My GS on assignment at Lost Lake Campground while covering Oroville students on their Pioneer Trail Ride.

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Photo by Gary DeVon

My GS on assignment at Lost Lake Campground while covering Oroville students on their Pioneer Trail Ride.


High gas prices got you down? Get a bike


Just a fewminutes staring out the window of our Main and Central office will tell youthere is a new trend in the area – people trading four wheels for two. Sure, itis summer, but gas prices seem to be the main influence on what folks aredriving, or should I say riding, nowadays.

People aredusting off their old motorcycles and tuning them up to try and avoid the paineach trip to the pump delivers. Those that don’t have an old standby gathering dust in their garage are hitting the cycle shops, scanningthe local classifieds and watching Craigslist fordeals on two wheels. It’s not only motorcycles that have caught our attention -apparently scooter sales are going through the roof and many dealers reportwaiting lists for the big bikes’ smaller cousins which can get upwards of 70miles per gallon.

It took the1970s oil crisis for Americans to start buying smaller cars like those drivenby many at the time in Europe and Asia. While traveling in Italy in the springof 2007 I was fortunate enough to get a firsthand look at how many differentoptions of scooters, motorcycles and fuel efficient cars are available inEurope. It looks like the current fuel price crisis, with no end yet in sight,may lead to even more Americans trading their “cages” for cycles and scooters.

After morethan two decades without any kind of regular motorcycle riding I decided to jumpthe fence and saddle up a two-wheeled steed of my own. After a short search Ifound a great used one in Cashmere at a reasonable price that seemed to suit mypurpose – a dual purpose that is one that was at homeon the pavement as well as the dirt (well at least in my case, rural gravelroads) a nine year-old BMW R1100GS with a face onlyit’s mother could love. With its long upper fender, which really funnels air tothe oil cooler, it’s sort of motorcycle meets pterodactyl. I’ve been averaging45 mpg plus and that’s helped to take some of the strain off my wallet (albeitthe thing sips premium). Although my pickup has a six cylinder it’s getting oldand about 17 miles per gallon was all it could achieve with careful driving.Buying a new fuel-efficient or hybrid car just wasn’t an option for me attoday’s prices and the motorcycle is just more fun.

And withthe motorcycle I find I want to go out and explore more – revisit our local backroads, find those perfect photos for our recreationguide. Sans sidecar the only real loser seems to be my golden-lab mix Sophie -I think she hates my new toy as it means fewer rides in the back of the pickup.

One lastthing, with all the additional scooters and motorcycles on the road, pleasekeep a careful eye out for us while driving – the life you save may be my own.