Sam’s gone…

Sam’s finally gone. He’s all beat up, and reaching his end, especially after what happened last year. By this point of writing, he’s probably on his way to be impounded. Such a pity,¬†as despite the exterior, he was such a reliable scooter. It has been a good run together.

Which is why I chose to have another scooter from the same maker – Kymco. Initially I really wanted the Kymco Like 200i¬†because of how much it reminds me of my old Vespa, but it’s much competitively priced by 1k Euro.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I preferred something with bigger wheels which to me is safer and more comfortable to ride, especially on bumpy roads. So I thought a People could be a better option (Sam was a People Series) Agility 200i 16+

But trying it out at the display room made me realise that it was rather big. It might not look it from the picture above, but I was quite worried that I might fall off the scooter from the weight and the size of it. Agility 200i 16+

Which was why when I saw the Agility 16+ 200i, I quickly changed my mind Рit fit what I needed Рbigger wheels, compact size, which is perfect for manoeuvring through traffic. Plus, it made more sense price-wise РFor about 2k Euro for a People 125 cc, you could get the stronger engine Agility 200 CC. Agility 200i 16+

Looks¬†wise, it’s quite rugged, but I think it’s quite cute anyways. I would get the blue or the red one, but it’s not available in Italy. ¬†Nevertheless, I love the black matte – it’s so classy. Agility 200i 16+

By the way, below isn’t a review as I literally have used the scooter for less than 24 hours but here are my quick thoughts about it :

The front of the scooter is standard Рwith the speedometer and the fuel gauge, the lights and whatnots. But unlike my older scooters, the front has a blue light instead of the typical yellow bulb. Agility 200i 16+

We got the additional large wind-shield as it’s something good to have especially during the winter. Cold wind in your face is very uncomfortable – and I like that this one shields part of the hands too.

You fill up the fuel in front instead of under the seat which I found quite radical. Agility 200i 16+

Instead of the petrol knob, the battery is inserted in the underseat. By the way, it’s inadequate¬†to fit my regular helmet inside and I think this only fits half helmets. Agility 200i 16+

Which is why it’s great that Kymco provided the box together with the scooter, although I don’t know if this is available¬†for other countries. Agility 200i 16+

The box can fit two helmets if you knew how to. It’s also big¬†enough for a regular grocery run. What’s interesting about this is that you¬†could detach it from the base and carry it with you – although I highly recommend that you practise putting it on and off multiple times until you get a hang of it or risk having your box fly off while you ride. Agility 200i 16+

With the same key, you can open the glove compartment. I wished that it had a push button I had from my Vespa,¬†but a¬†really good consolation¬†is that it has a power point! I could charge my phone with a cigarette-Lighter USB adapter. I haven’t tried this yet as mine doesn’t fit in it – I’d need a smaller one.

Although one negative point is that the size is too small to fit my phone in Рtoo small to even fit my winter gloves in  too. Agility 200i 16+

There is also the foot rest that springs out when you press the button. I haven’t had any passengers yet so I still have to find out if it bothers my ankles while I ride. Agility 200i 16+

View of how big the footrest is compared to my feet. Still pretty big. The People is much much bigger compared to this – see why I changed my mind? Agility 200i 16+

But the biggest change would have to be the safety device that Cart was adamant that I get. It’s really cool – with a press of a button, I can set the alarm so if there were¬†anyone moving my scooter, there will be an obnoxiously loud siren. Agility 200i 16+

There’s also¬†the panic button (which makes siren without setting the alarm) and the alarm button which flashes the lights on the scooter even when you’re from a distance away.

This is so high tech. My scooter is like a car!

Riding wise, I’m getting used to it. I’ve been using Sam for years so it does feel different when you’re on a slightly more powerful machine.

Perhaps it’s me, but I feel a sort of drag whenever I’m going at a higher speed – as if there is more inertia. Even when I’m turning¬†on a bend, that drag is there – like an invisible hand is pulling you down. ¬†I guess it’s a new fangled technology using gyroscopes for safety function but it’s a rather unnerving feeling anyway.

Nevertheless, so far it has been a pleasant ride and I’ve had a really good afternoon zipping around the neighbourhood with it. It’s really lovely to be going around on a scooter again – it’s like I have my wings again! Even though I have a car driving’s license, I much prefer the two wheeler ūüėÄ

At this point of time, I’m waiting for this to come in the mail : Agility 200i 16+

No need to say why ūüėõ

The most beautiful bicycle bag you’ve ever seen

After wanting a bicycle for the longest time, I got for myself one¬†yesterday. It’s a B-Twin Elops 3, has¬†a 5 speed gear and it has a dynamo light in front of it which I thought was really functional. At about 200 euro, I thought that it was quite expensive compared to the ones I see sold in Singapore, but I guess it’s the standard here. B-twin Elops 3 bicycle

It’s been a while since the last time that I’ve been cycling but it’s a skill that you never lose. In no time at all, I was up and around the neighbourhood. It’s really nice being able to reach a place in just a few minutes compared to probably 3 times longer when you’re on foot.

But the¬†thing that I didn’t expect was how¬†my neighbourhood is full of slopes which can be quite tiring when you’re going uphill. You don’t feel it so much when you’re walking leisurely. But I felt it today! My thighs are surely going to be sore tomorrow. At this point of time, I don’t feel too confident of straying too far away from my neighbourhood much less even think of joining a duathlon.

The bicycle that I have is¬†a women’s version – the crossbar is lower so that the woman could cross her legs over daintily and wear a skirt if she fancied. But I noticed that on my bicycle, you need to pedal more compared to a regular bicycle. And considering that it’s a women’s bike, it’s quite heavy at 17 kg. I don’t trust leaving it outside and lifting it up the stairs is a bit of a pain since it doesn’t fit in the elevator. I’ll just¬†think of it as a form of strength exercise. Basil Bicycle Bags

Nevertheless, I’ve been looking around for panniers which I think would be extremely useful for carrying¬†things, like grocery shopping. Quite by chance, I found these : Basil Bicycle Bags Basil Bicycle Bags

Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous? In a sea of industrial¬†looking pannier bags, these look so feminine and charming. It also comes in blue and black, as well as other designs but I find the red one particularly striking.

This bag is from a company in the Netherlands called Basil and they specialise in bicycle assortment from bicycle baskets, bags to accessories. Basil Bicycle Bags

From the site, I also found side-bags which doubles up as regular shoulder bags. There is a hidden flap in each one which reveals a hook which you attach to your carrier. Basil Bicycle Bags Basil Bicycle Bags

I think it’s a genius idea and I wouldn’t mind getting one of that. It looks roomy enough for me to stuff a lot of things inside.

And there is also the milk-basket which gives you the convenience to put which ever bags and items you want in.  And it still looks cute. Basil Bicycle Bags

Which one would you get? At first I wanted the pannier, then I thought the bag would be great, then the basket … ¬†I can’t make up my mind!

Nevertheless, anything that is imported from outside Italy, almost always costs a bomb with the additional tax and whatnots so it’ll have to wait for a while …

Sam is dead

I’ve had Sam the scooter since 2010. ¬†He’s old, ugly and beat up but we’ve been fixing him up slowly – with a new wind-shield, new brake clutches, new centre cover and most recently, I bought a new box which made grocery shopping a whole lot easier.

But the most important part is that he’s been very dependable, bringing me from point A to point B most of the time and I’ve always preferred two wheelers over four on account of how it’s a lot more easier to find parking as well as the more¬†cost effective¬†fuel consumption.

Unfortunately, the area where we live in is very happening, especially during the summer. Once there was a burglary attempt in our apartment, then one of the mirror was stolen from¬†Sam. Even our friend who’s living in another zone had his safe burgled from his apartment.

The last time when I used Sam was on Saturday. I did a quick grocery shopping to¬†get some ingredients to¬†make some¬†apple crumble for a BBQ meet later in the evening. When we reached back home, it was pretty late so¬†we didn’t notice anything amiss.

It was only in the late morning when Cart peeked¬†out of the window and asked me, “Where’s Sam?“. Alarmed, I quickly rushed down to search for him. He wasn’t there. I looked all around the vicinity. Still not there and no trace of him. Someone actually took the effort¬†to carry him off? Someone actually stole my old, ugly beat up scooter? Cart hypothesised that Sam, being an old scooter,¬†tend to be used for snatch thieves and then discarded somewhere else.

Adventures of Stickrinaz

So we made a police statement soon after that so we’d be in the clear should there be any traces of crime. We were lucky that there was someone serving us, considering how a lot of things are closed¬†in August. The whole day, I guess I was either in a state of shock or my brain was still trying to process what was going on but I didn’t feel much. When we recounted our story to my in laws, my MIL thinks that it could be abandoned in the area, but I wasn’t feeling very hopeful.

The next day, I heard the intercom buzz and a kind neighbour said that she found a blue scooter next to the church. A little bit hopeful, I quickly rushed down to investigate. Sam was there, right where she said. But he was in such a bad condition – his seat was broken, the FR panel was ripped apart and the neck of the scooter was broken – I couldn’t put my key in the ignition so I couldn’t tell if the engine was still working or not. As bad as how Sam looked before, I just couldn’t bear to see him now.

In fact, it’s Cart who snapped these pictures. Not me.

No idea the reason this part was broken for.

The hinge was forced open.

The strange part is, the riding gloves which I left in the scooter was still there, as well as the chain and lock. These combined, costs quite a bit. However, they took my straw hat which costs around 10¬†euro.¬†I don’t understand why?

So if you ever see a guy in Rome wearing a straw hat with a pink band on it …

Cart’s advising me to to get Sam fixed while we transition on getting¬†a new one. I don’t know, it seems like a waste of money. Moreover with my mechanic coming back from his vacation in September, seems like a waste of time too.

Riding a scooter in Central Rome Toon riding a scooter in Rome

If you’ve ever been to Rome, you would have seen plenty of cobblestone¬†roads around the Central area. It makes the area look charming, but it can be quite a¬†workout¬†if you’re on a two wheeler.

If you carried milk with you, it’ll probably turn into butter after riding around Central Rome for about an hour or so.

Is it worth owning a car in Rome?

The P or ‘principiante’ sign is a sticker that new drivers put on their car. I finally took out the P-sign off my car last weekend. It was such a peculiar feeling for me, like pulling off a band-aid.

It’s been about 2 years since I’ve passed my driver’s license so that’s something that should have been done a long time ago.¬† It’s just that I feel ‘safer’ with it somewhat as in my mind, I think that with the P-sign, other drivers will tend to avoid me.

At the same time though, regardless with or without the P-sign, there are a number of reckless drivers on the road.

The most dangerous would be those who just cut you off, even when you have the right of way, without signalling and you’re going at a high speed. Why is why I never take chances, and am always alert at all times when I drive.

But once you’ve experienced driving in Rome, I think you’ll have the skills to drive practically everywhere else in the world. Especially when parking in Rome, where it’s notoriously difficult to find any empty slots so one is forced to manoeuvre in that teeny tiny little spot.

Look at how Cart parked his car one time : Cart's mad parking skill

There is no space at all between his and the other cars. How on earth did he do that? Did he learn Shaolin?

I still have a long way to go before I could do something similar. In fact, I don’t think I will ever have even 1/10th of Cart’s skills.

Having a car in Rome is useful, and I feel grateful during the days when I have to travel around, especially during Winter or when it’s raining. But there are days when I wonder if it was worth buying my car.

Owning a car in Rome isn’t as expensive as compared to in Singapore. Nevertheless, it still quite a yearly expenditure as insurance is about 500 euro a year and road tax is about 120 euro. Not forgetting the rising fuel prices. Car insurance and road tax in Rome Italy

The things is, Cart has his own car while I have my own. So that expense is doubled. We also have a scooter, but it costs significantly less to keep a two wheeler.

It seems like such a waste somewhat that I only use my car 2 or 3 times a week and Cart drives to work and leaves his car at the office the entire day. There has got to be a more efficient way.

Despite the issues of driving in Rome, I’m still glad that I learnt how to drive as I think that it’s a useful skill to have – especially when faced with the frequent transport strikes in Rome. How does one deal with having to go commute or sending their kids to school then?

There was a time when my vehicle wasn’t working, and got caught in a transport strike. At least 5 hours of my life wasted. It was a nightmare!¬†I really don’t want to go through that again.


What I wore yesterday

You know how during the holidays, people tend to dress up nicely? Well, it was Eid-al-adhar yesterday,  and this was how I dressed up  :

They each had a function. My baju kurong, which I like to wear during festive days like these. A windbreaker and a makeshift headgear tied to my neck to protect myself from the cold Autumn wind. My purple sling bag which is great for travelling on scooters. My purple canvas shoes, for easy slip on and off. Coloured socks (The first thing I grabbed from the drawer) and of course Sam the scooter! I have had enough of trying to search for parking in that area. It was such a breeze just parking Sam at a little corner by the road.

In any case, as hipster as I am, it still feels odd going out like that. I look horrible! Hahaha! I just had to thicken my skin. :p

Is this the ugliest car in Rome?

Sometimes when I’m in my neighbourhood, I’d come across this car :

Instead of fixing the damages, the owner just duct-tapes it over. I’ve seen other cars with tapes over them, but not till this extent! I believe that the car is still functional as I see it parked in different places.

Cost effective I suppose …