Stations of the cross-country ride

Friday, 26th June 2009; 10:26 pm - Location: , , , ,

The best-laid plans for a cross-country ride can be thwarted by technical problems. I’ll never forget watching the rear wheel of my friend Adam’s bicycle self-destruct, one spoke after another, as we rode through Northumberland. Or the feeling of Cam’s beatermobile sputtering off the interstate at a small town in northern Michigan just as the only garage there was closing up for the weekend.

I figure I can fix pretty much any of the ailments likely to befall a bicycle. But I’ve never been interested in automotive mechanics, so even though I understand the principle of internal combustion, I’ve remained ignorant of the workings the vehicles that use it. So if I have scooter trouble, and it isn’t something that can be diagnosed from theory alone and then fixed improvisationally, I’m screwed.

Or maybe not.

As it happens, there are three scooter shops along my route who are Genuine dealers. If something goes wrong that’s covered by warranty, they’d not only be able to fix it, they’d fix it for free. They are Bayside Cycles of Frankfort (about the middle of the ride for Day Two of my trip), Practical Power Sports of Charlevoix (at the end of Day Three), and Riverside Rides of suburban Green Bay (near the end of Day Eight). (There’s also Vespa Holland, where I bought the scoot, but even though they’re near the lakeshore, they’re not quite on my way… and if I had serious problems that early in the ride, I’d consider aborting.)

There are no Genuine dealers in the UP. Not that this is surprising, since the population is so much smaller, and the scooting season is so much shorter. But even so, there are cities here and there and villages in between. If I have a break-down somewhere, there’s bound to be someone driving by before too long. And AT&T claims coverage in… well… most of the areas I’ll be driving through.

But seriously: People live there. If I can’t find someone in any of these parts who can get a simple engine like my Buddy’s working again, that’ll be very surprising. Plus, Genuine offers roadside assistance as part of their warranty package. I don’t know how well it works that far from a dealer, and I hope not to find out, but it’s part of my safety net.

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