Old Scooter

My first scooter was a 1947 Cushman, reminiscent of the one my grandfather rode to work in Fort Collins, Colorado where he worked for the police department taking care of parking meters. Only his was three wheeled with huge box in the front for money and meter parts.
But this was my second year at the University of Colorado and my mother, brother, and I had moved to Boulder. My brother, Ron, started at the university and mother taught junior high Home Economics at Centennial Junior High and at Casey Junior High.

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The picture above shows a ’47 Cushman fully restored. Mine was not; the rear seat lifted to provide some storage; you sat astride it with feet on the floor where the brake was; you kick started it with a pedal between your legs which you used as you stood beside it. It had a twist grip throttle on the right end of the handlebar. Your gear shift (It had just two speeds)! was beneath your butt on the right side of the scooter. The motor was beneath you.
The hill I had to climb on the way home was still steep. I had to drop the old Cushman into low gear and then wait patiently for it to slowly reach the top.
Later when I flunked out of Chemical Engineering and had gone to work for John Gibbons, a former Navy Seabee who had laid tile all over the Pacific, I still rode the old girl to work and back, maybe five miles or so to Baseline Road.
I remember riding it in the snow. Its wide tires had no difficulty with snow as long as you were careful. I had to use a pair if lab goggles to be able to see in the snow storm.
Once when I was returning from work on the new apartments I was helping John build in the backyard of his duplex, I pulled up next to a ’36 Indian Motorcycle, which was all wheels with the engine and rider slung in the middle. It was ten years older than my old Cushman.

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Finally, one day on the way up the hill to school, after she had taken as much abuse as she could stand, she dropped her exhaust pipe. BANG BANGETY BANG BANG BANG. It sounded like an artillery fire. But I rode it anyway, through downtown Boulder and up onto campus. BANG BANGEDY BANG BANG. I was nearly deaf when I got there. But after school I had to start her up again to get home. BANG BANGEDY BANG BANG.

It just happened that the Honda Mitorcycle shop had a Cushman beauty for sale, a 1959 Cushman Eagle.

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Now this scooter pictured here is old and disheveled, but mine was almost new in 1961. The back seat here is identical to the one I made for mine.
Shortly after I married in 1962 when I returned to school, I had a job delivering The Rocky Mountain News to folks living up in the hills off of Baseline Road.
When I couldn’t take our ’46 Chevy Delux because of snow, I could take the Cushman with the same wide tires as the old girl had.
This was a scooter I had to straddle, so I had visions of grandeur and It would go highway speeds.
So One day I rode it up Boulder Canyon and took out the baffle from the long straight muffler it had and backed it down all the way back through the Canyon, KAPOW, RUMBLE RUMBLE BALLOO, KPOW!
Unfortunately Canyon Road comes into Boulder right by the Boulder Police Department. A police car pulled me over as soon as I hit the city limits and told me to put the baffle back in.
Ultimately I would trade the Eagle for a 90cc Ducatti motorcycle that I owned and rode till I moved out of state in 1966.

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3 thoughts on “Old Scooter

  1. Lloyd, this is so cool. I have not seen one of these in a great while. There was a brief time with the high gas prices and recession, where we saw a great many scooters on the road. They are still out there, but seem to be fewer in number. Thanks for following my blog. I look forward to future comments. BTG

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