BY ROBERT DIGITALE

Sometimes I think motor scooters were made for Sonoma County.

We have the winding country roads. We have the mild, Mediterranean weather. And we have the views that bring people from around the world.

However, I can’t take credit for buying a scooter. Nor can I brag about how I carefully planned for my wife and me to become a one-car, one-scooter couple.

The scooter was Carol’s idea. My children probably thought it was our response to them leaving home. Some parents get a dog. We got a shiny red Piaggio Fly 150. One daughter thought it was really cool. One worried that we would end up in the emergency room. And one seemed slightly embarrassed by her parents’ mid-life crisis.

We took the motorcycle safety classes at the county fairgrounds. And we started discovering how you can get all around this county on two wheels without ever getting onto those state highways where the cars and trucks exceed 55 mph.

In the past four years, we’ve been out to tour and dine at Graton, Freestone, Forestville, Occidental, Sebastopol, Bodega Bay, Windsor, Kenwood and Healdsburg—plus, all around Santa Rosa. The back roads and city streets give us plenty to see.

In the early years, we still kept two cars. But in May 2010, our ’92 Dodge Caravan stopped running. Here’s all you need to know about why we didn’t get another car. We have paid for nine straight years of colleges for three daughters. And we still have one more year of college bills in front of us.

A year ago, we started to get by with one car and one scooter. It works because I live only about a mile from the newspaper office. I can ride the scooter throughout the year if the streets are dry.

When it rains, Carol sometimes gives me a ride.

When it looks like rain, the city provides free covered parking to keep the scooter dry during the day.

Right now, you may be thinking, How would I know if a scooter’s right for me?

That’s a hard one for me to answer correctly. I think some people buy a scooter and then discover it isn’t what they wanted after all. Perhaps taking the motorcycle safety course would have helped them come to that realization sooner. It costs a few hundred dollars, but that’s a lot less than the price of a motor scooter.

People on two wheels (cyclists, motorcylists, scooter riders) will tell you that you really are more vulnerable on the roads (to distracted drivers, to a growing number of potholes and to the cold and rain). You’ve got to enjoy scootering enough to deal with such threats.

What’s the best part about riding? It’s when Carol gets on the back and we go to discover something new about where we live. For our anniversary this year, we went overnight to Healdsburg. It gave us an excuse to play tourist close to home—at 60 miles to the gallon.

***

Here’s a video Carol and I made two years ago for the newspaper about Scooter Rosa, an annual ride sponsored by Revolution Moto. (She took the video shots from the back of the scooter.)

This year’s ride will be July 23. Click here for more information.