I had a friend in high school whose dad owned a moped. It had an aqua blue finish with honey brown leather on the seats that begged you to climb up and take it for a spin. It didn’t see much use, which added to the luster of the beast. And it didn’t see much use because, well, it was a moped. It doesn’t matter how thrilling it is to zoom down side streets with the wind in your face – for whatever reason, it’s not a motorcycle; it’s just an open invitation for your friends to shit all over you. Which we did. Because mopeds are for pussies. According to Internet, “they’re fun to ride until your friends find out,” just like tilt-a-whirls and tandem bikes. Urban Dictionary attached the term to the guy or girl you hook up with and hope to god no one finds out about. And of course Urban Dictionary’s shithead cousin Yahoo answers tried their best to take the ball and run with it saying, “fat chicks are like scooters…but they make stranger sounds.” Oof.
I don’t want to hate mopeds, in fact I’d love to love them. But I never thought I would. Things began to change early in fall quarter when one day while walking down the street I hear a faint humming coming from behind me. It’s getting closer. Then they enter my line of sight – two big ass dudes cruising on a dinky little bike. I stop and gaze disapprovingly as the passenger meets my gaze with a subtle smirk and a Fonz-esque head nod. I shook it off. Who’d he think he was? He’s just some schmuck with a misguided sense of transportation. He has to be..
Fast forward about two weeks. It’s not winter quarter but I’m living in a barren, cold reality. Mopeds are cool, and apparently I’m not for not thinking so. Fuck this. From what I’ve gathered from the other dejected students forced to walk to class – these scooters are provided from the school so the ‘athletes’ can make it to practice ‘on time’ and ‘win sports.’ Is that definitively true? Nope. 80% conjecture. Does it make a whole lot of sense that they get these so they can travel to Ryan daily? Irrelevant. Just to save more time, any and all facts are not relevant in this article.
I get that the athletes need a way to make the mile trek to the gym every day and sometimes even multiple times in a day. And I don’t think whichever administration member who made the moped call intended for their transportation fix to be the punch to the crotch it’s been to my daily walk through campus as I watch the football team weave in and out of migrating nerds. Hell, mopeds might have been the perfect choice to avoid that result. Who could have thought that throwing two massive dudes on top of one tiny, doofy bike could be so damn cool? No one. Not one single person.
But fast forward to now. It’s spring quarter. They’re back. Tearing down pathways with a renewed fervor. Leaving me behind, on foot and feeling strangely emasculated. By a moped. Goddammit.