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Scooter riders enjoy easy travel around city

Cortland Youth Bureau Recreation Supervisor Andrea Piedigrossi enjoys a ride around Cortland on her motorized-minibike during her lunch break Wednesday. Piedigrossi is among a few other scooter and motorized-minibike enthusiasts in the city, who say the rides are relaxing.

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Cortland Youth Bureau Recreation Supervisor Andrea Piedigrossi enjoys a ride around Cortland on her motorized-minibike during her lunch break Wednesday. Piedigrossi is among a few other scooter and motorized-minibike enthusiasts in the city, who say the rides are relaxing.

On a sunlit day in downtown Cortland, one may suddenly feel they have been transported to a European city upon catching a glance of Susan Wilson cruising through the city on her retro-style Honda Metropolitan scooter.

“I can go anywhere with it,” Wilson, an associate professor at SUNY Cortland, said about riding around Cortland. “It puts me in a good mood.”

Wilson is not the only one who finds the motorized-minibike to be a pleasant way of touring city streets, either. There are a few other scooter enthusiasts in Cortland including Cortland Youth Bureau Recreation Supervisor Andrea Piedigrossi.

No figures are available through the County Department of Motor Vehicles on how many scooters are registered in the area.

The image of Wilson gallivanting on her scooter is how most of her students remember her, said Piedigrossi, a former student of Wilson.

For the two, buying a scooter was always a dream. Wilson said she had wanted one since she was in college and finally gave in to buying one.

“I tell people it is my mid-life crisis,” she said.

Piedigrossi bought her scooter for more sentimental reasons. She said her grandfather used to have a scooter and she always loved watching him ride it around. So, when she was able to purchase one, she jumped at the opportunity.

Both Wilson and Piedigrossi said the best part about the scooters is that they are easy to maneuver around the city and are simply a lot of fun.

“The scooters are great for a town like Cortland,” Wilson said.

Whether she is going from building to building around the SUNY Cortland campus or trying to find a place to park in the city, there is no hassle. She said she can basically find a parking spot anywhere with the scooter; noting her scooter has been parked on the front lawn of the Grace and Holy Spirit Church, while she helps clean out the building in the aftermath of a July 29 fire.

“I had my car here (parked in front of the church) and got a ticket because it is easy to lose track of time working here,” she said. “But with my scooter I can just pull it right up on the lawn and not have to worry about it.”

There are also fewer gasoline pit stops needed when traveling by scooter. Wilson’s Honda Metropolitan gets about117 mpg, while Piedigrossi’s Honda Ruckus gets about114 mpg. That is due to the scooters’ light weight, small engine and limited horsepower.

Piedigrossi said she has gotten the Ruckus up to about40 to 45 mph. Wilson’s islimited to about 27 mph, but she said for what she uses the scooter for, she has no need to go any faster.

She uses it mostly for navigating the college campus and downtown Cortland. Piedigrossi said she’ll go outside of Cortland with her scooter, but usually only as far as Homer.

There has not been an increasing trend in people registering scooters in the county, according to County Clerk Elizabeth Larkin. However, Steve Rainbow, a salesman at CNY Power Sports of Cortlandville said there has been an increase in scooter sales this year.

He said the business has sold eight to 10 scooters, so far, this year and it is usually rare tosell any. But the sales dofluctuate every year, withoutexplanation.

Most of the sales are from college students, Rainbow said, because like Wilson, they find it quick and easy to get around campus with a scooter.

Wilson said she will be voyaging with her scooter up until late fall, but do not be surprised to see her cruising along Main Street through November if the weather is nice.