Bambina.

My beloved moped.

 My Moped.

Yamaha Zuma, Model CY50, 1989 Scooter,
Red and White, Plate UL8922.

Named Bambina and brought at the demise of the Blue Demon. She was perfect. Brand new, one of the first in town. I became the bane of truck drivers everywhere (OK, I still am.) I zipped around on that thing like a bird, free of gravity. I loved hitting bumps and soaring up into the sky. OK, it was only for about 5 cm, the zuma's top speed was only 70mph, but it felt like forever.

A white milk crate was attached with occy straps to the back, very handy for carrying the essentials. Groceries had to be brought with size in mind i.e. pizza and French loaves were out. The washing had to be kept on top of also, or it wouldn't fit in the back. I put some stickers on for decoration, unicorn ones on the back of the driving mirrors and 'Safety Is You're Responsibility' (I tried) and my '2 years accident free' sticker from work (pure luck).

The place where I worked at the time had quite a few bike riders. Tough, mean, chrome jobs, with black leather and pit bull motifs. (the bikes that is. OK, some of the blokes too.) At knock off time the guys would grab up their scungy, chipped and dented open-faced helmets. I would take up my sleek, face plated, cool helm and follow them out. They would get on their hogs, and I'd get on my mopped. I always thought that was hilarious, they had the fast and deadly bikes, I had the whizz helmet. Go figure.

My sense of the ridiculous is sharp. For instance there is the time I pulled up next to the petrol pump behind a red leather clad girl on her hard bitten red and white dirt bike. "That's what mines going to be when she grows up." I crowed. She flicked her eyes over my plump little bike and smiled. I don't think she believed me.

Bambina's top speed was 75 mph, going down hill with the wind behind us, but I discovered some-thing about bike riders and speed never-the-less. It's cold. Very cold. I wore a sheep skin jacket backwards under my coat to keep my chest warm. I wore fingerless gloves under my leather ones to keep my hands warm. If I could have grown a beard to keep my chin warm I would have (so that's why bikers have them, it's not the tough image, it's their blue chins!) instead I wore a belaclava and a scarf. In the rainy season I struggled into yellow slickers, and dried my soaked boots in the oven when I got to work. Biker fashion, black leather. It's a practical thing.

Despite having left Bambina in the middle of town with the keys still in the ignition, thieves insisted on trying to steal her from my home. The first time they couldn't undo the built in steering lock and left it two doors down from me on a neighboring lawn. The cops came a-rapping at my door, as soon as I knew what was up I dashed out in PJ's and bed socks (not my best look) and scurried over to keen mournfully at the buckled key plate. I went to town, yelling about rampaging moped thieves and how I wanted action. There actually were rampaging moped thieves, a whole gang of them, but they moved on sometime later (after my Bambina was take).

The second time I had loosely chained my bike to a wooden shelving unit out the back. Late at night, I heard a thump. Pausing to turn on the lights as I went (so they knew I was coming and would run away) I arrived to find Bambinas tarp pulled off, the chain unhooked from the shelves (the thump had been them lifting it up then dropping it, the darned thing was heavy). Luckily for them they had fled, as in my wrath I had picked up a weapon, and fully intended to use it. Lucky for me they were gone, as what I had picked up was (...the throwing knives?... Double edged letter opener? ...the Claw hammer?) a hair brush. The choice weapon of mad as hell idiots. Enraged I probably would have attacked them with it too. The most likely result would have been me smeared all over the yard. But I happen to know a few moves; you can blind some one with a well-aimed hairbrush. Glad it never came to that, really. Still, I kept my bike, that time.

Next try was a little later; I began chaining Bambina to a chunk of metal under the lean-to. I came out one morning to find her off her stand, dirty fingerprints smeared all over. It was then that I did something I shall regret for a long, long time. I listened to my Father. He said not to bother calling the cops, that it was only a waste of their time. Now I can not help but think, it might have been the thing that got those bastards caught. If only. Regrets suck.

Last is the stinger. I worked the late shift. Came home about six am, had an appointment at nine. So I didn't bother to lock her up. Big mistake. I came out and she was gone. I sat and scratched my head, What the hell? Had I left her at some one else's place? (I do have a bad memory after all.) Nope, she was took. Police found her several days's later, mirrors stripped, banged up body, petrol cap gone, head lights smashed in, front axle twisted. Anger was a live thing in my heart.  

Bambina with her milk crate on the back

Now, some words of advice, from one whom has been bit. Get insurance. There were some complications with my pay out, and I went several months with out a vehicle. Never again. Folks who say they will give you lifts with a smile and a 'can do' look in their eyes get fed up with carting you about fairly swiftly. Taxis are expensive, unreliable and at times, scary. We had no bus service at the time in Geraldton. Bicycle transport is an option only if you work a lot closer than I did, and had confidence in the truck drivers who screamed up and down the main road, which, oddly, I didn't have. All in all I don't know what I would have done if the insurance hadn't come through, but it did, so I am saying to you all, get insured.

I loved that bike; it gave me a freedom, a mobility with stability that a car just doesn't have. I would just hop on it and ride. The valleys and flats all about I explored, parking in the center of town was never a problem. Day trips and picnics, visits to museums and touristy things. Exploring the coast. RIP Bambina. You were a great ride.

 

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