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Date: Wed, 17 May 2000 14:34:22
Subject: newbie questions
From: Vinnie Chassot
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Something like seven years ago I got a chance to spend about fifteen
minutes on my friend's moped -- I don't remember the specifics (other than
it topped out at about 40mph) about it, but boy do I remember loving it
:) Due to concerns of age and death (not from the moped, but from my
parents if they found out I'd actually ridden it) I couldn't get into it
then. Having moved to the SF bay area two weeks ago and discovered the
twin problems of traffic congestion and really bad public transportation
(at least in Menlo Park) I've decided to take the plunge.

I've used non-motorized bikes as my main mode of transportation, owned and
fixed up four different cars (of the late-seventies/early-eighties vintage
-- new enough to not be completely falling apart and/or antiques and old
enough that I didn't have to learn about computerized systems..or fuel
injection ;) ), played on a 3 wheel ATV, and generally done enough to know
that I really haven't a clue about what I'm getting myself into. In an
ideal world I'd have a few weeks to do some research, get a moped, have a
few weekends and a fully equipped garage to fix it up in, take a few nice
long rides down empty rural roads and then work up to commuting every day.
And I'd have one of my moped-owning friends in the area to guide me
through all this. In reality I need to be dodging menlo park/palo alto
traffic in about two weeks and all my friends here have cars :) So I'm
trying to do the moped-newbie crash course here (hopefully not literally)

I'm planning on getting a used moped, probably from a classified ad. I
don't want to spend more that $1000 initially (moped + parts to get it
running well enough to get me to work and back [5mi one way] every day and
maybe make a run to the grocery store and laundromat [2mi] sometime during
the week) and if I can get that under $700 I will be a happy puppy. I
don't want to have to put more than a day's work in it to get it to run (I
don't have more than a day to spend on it, right now, honestly)

So, questions:

Is this realistic? Have I overlooked something horribly obvious in my
search for information that I based all this on?

In looking for a used moped are there specific things I should look
at? Obviously, I intend on checking how the engine runs, how the bike runs
overall, if anything looks, acts or otherwise seems like it's going to
break soon. Is there anything else I should look for?

Any tips/hints/tricks/thoughts for a complete newbie?

Thanks folks,
Vinnie

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