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OTHER ITA SITES:
The Case For Gas Scooters - Why You Should Own One
Sure gas powered scooters are noisy, a bit smoky, require maintenance and dogs love to chase them. But they can also give your kids an often overlooked advantage when they go out to make it on their own.
It was about a hundred degrees, with no air-conditioning in a control room still under construction in Saudi Arabia. I was in my early 20's, there to start up a pair of 50MW gas turbines. Laid out in front of me was the internals of a hydraulic ratchet used to keep the hot, turbine shaft rotating when it shut down so it wouldn't bend as it cooled. This particular timing valve wouldn't work properly, would take months to get a new one, and we were due to make power in a few weeks. The massive customer manual advised "Not field serviceable. To be disassembled only by factory service technician".
In less than a day I had totally disassembled this 25 pound mass of intricate valves, springs, electro mechanical actuators, cleaned it up and reinstalled it using basic hand tools from a cheap tool kit. I never had a doubt I could make it work. Why? In part because I had the opportunity to own, and continually repair a go-kart that I made way back in Junior High School. A go- kart that taught me how to fix seal leaks, grind valves, clean carburetors, set spark timing, pull flywheels and set torque values. A go-kart that taught me a valuable lesson on gear ratios when I managed to get it up to 35MPH one memorable afternoon and well exceeded my braking capacity.
Until you pull a casing apart and hear a few random parts drop and then have to figure out where they go. Until you work out how to preload the kick-start spring in the guts of a Honda 50 scooter. Until you diagnose a partially sheared key in the fly-wheel of your go-kart engine you don't won't develop that I-Can-Fix-Just-About-Anything confidence that carries over to your work, reaching your financial goals, your personal relationships and your self confidence. Don't let your children miss that golden window to develop their mechanical skills.
Fixing things, being handy, call it what you want, can be picked up by younger kids just like they learn to play musical instruments, learn languages and develop computer skills faster than we adults. But you have to provide the platform. You have to provide something beyond a few Lego toys or an Erector set. That's where an inexpensive gas scooter comes in.
Gas Scooters are incredibly fun to ride. They have all the elements that appeal to kids. A sense of speed; the noise, the closeness to the ground, the wind on your face all make you feel that you are going faster than you are. The command of a power source; such a small effort to accelerate and brake strongly. And for kids that own gas scooters the ability to learn how to fix them. Fixing something that was previously broke is even better than doing great magic tricks because you have created value where only hours before there wasn't any.
Fixing a gas powered scooter gives you the confidence to work on your car, to take care of your pool, to start up power plants, to pursue a mechanical engineering degree, be a civil engineer, architect, the list goes on. Watch your children dive in to figure out what's wrong when it won't start, longing to hear that engine sputter back to life as reward for their efforts. Small gas engines are a wonderful incentive mechanism. You cannot imagine the feeling of satisfaction you get when a "dead" engine roars back to life as a result of your efforts.
When I look back at what brought me to the point where I am now four things stick out clearly in my mind:
I learned to juggle while in the 8th grade.
I learned ball room dancing in the 9th grade
I learned to type in the 10th grade
I had a home made go-kart, motorcycles and model airplanes in junior high school.
By far, gaining proficiency in mechanical repair has helped me the most. I encourage you to provide your children a means to develop this skill set, and what better way to do it than by owning a gas scooter.
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