My commute for summer school is about 20 miles. But I look forward to it everyday, since it gives me a chance to ride.
The photo above was taken with my Blackberry tour. I mention this because the photo quality is not great, but it’s good enough to give you peek at my MadAss 125. I have a Canon 7D SLR that I could have used to take a much better picture, showing much better detail, great depth of field, and better focus. But it’s good enough, and taking the picture was quick, and I posted it immediately to my flickr account.
How does this relate to my riding a MadAss 125? My point is essentially this – for its size, it does the job; it’s good enough to get me around town, and at a lower cost (I think I’ve been getting about 85 miles per gallon). If everyone in the US of A rode a MadAss (or any other fuel efficient motorcycle), then we as a nation would consume a lot less fuel (for commuting).
What I’m trying to say is that the American cultural obsession with “bigger” is a big problem; our iconic motorcycle is a Harley-Davidson (which I have never owned; I should probably have one before I criticize it!). Before buying the MadAss 125, the smallest motorcycle I’ve had was a 1975 Honda CB360T, and the largest displacement was a 1985 Honda CB700SC (the Nighthawk, a shaft-drive bike that I wish I still had!). What I have now is the MadAss and a Royal Enfield Bullet G5 – a 500 cc thumper. Both are rated at 85 mpg, though in real world usage I don’t get the 85 mpg on the Bullet. Both happen to be “transnational” motorcycles – the Bullet is a British icon, originally produced in the UK but now coming out of Chennai, in India; the Peirspeed Sachs Madass is a German designed-bike that is produced in Guangdong, in China. Both are more popular outside of the United States than inside.
For touring and longer-distance commuting, the Enfield is wonderful. For in-town commuting (and convenience in parking), the Sachs MadAss is the ticket. There are other “minimalist motorcycles” out there, and again they are more popular outside the US rather than inside.
As our economy changes, and such issues as oil shortages and environmental concerns become more pressing, this trend towards “minimalism” may become a wider cultural trend, even here in the US. There are a lot of examples that I could point to in terms of minimalism as an ideology – even cultural trends like the locavore movement can be understood as a minimalist trend.
Minimalism does not necessarily mean no-fun; this is what is clear from commuting with a MadAss! To find out more about the Peirspeed Sachs MadAss 125, go to the MadAss Army site.