Today, I'm going to talk about why I choose to ride my Honda PCX 150 scooter at a slower pace, even though it can go faster. We'll look into why I prefer riding slow and talk about some benefits that come with it. This doesn't mean I never speed up when I ride. But most of the time, I don't feel the need to ride at my scooter's top speed.
Video snippet of me riding home today. Slow riding was traffic-enforced.
The Power of the Honda PCX 150
Let's start with understanding the Honda PCX 150's power. The 2013 model has an engine that can produce about 13 horsepower. It's not the most powerful scooter out there, but it gets the job done. The newer models have slightly bigger engines and can produce around 15 horsepower. Even with this power, the top speed for the PCX 150 is about 63 mph. But remember, this is just an estimate because the accuracy of the speedometer may vary.
I've driven the PCX 150 on the highway before. When all the other cars are moving between 65 and 80 mph, I don't need to switch lanes to overtake them. On the highway, the scooter can reach up to 63 mph. When going uphill, the scooter slows down to around 50 or 55 mph. But when I'm going downhill with the wind helping, I can go as fast as 70 mph or even more.
The local highways have a speed limit of 55 mph. This allows me some extra speed if I need to overtake another vehicle, but that doesn't happen often. In other words, the PCX 150 can easily keep up with highway speeds most of the time. However, on some windy days, the top speed might drop to 55 mph. These aren't the best days to ride on the interstate.
The Choice to Ride Slow
The majority of my time on the scooter is spent cruising around the local area. I live roughly a mile from the town center. There's a stretch of road about a mile long with a 55 mph speed limit. Once I reach the town, the speed limits are usually 30 or 40 mph. In these areas, I have no option but to stick to the 30 or 40 mph limit. However, on the faster road leading into town, I often choose to ride at 45 mph.
I ride slower than the limit for a few simple reasons. These include staying safe, saving fuel, and just having fun.
Recently, I've been riding more casually, often without my protective gear like a jacket, boots, or gloves. This certainly increases my risk of getting hurt if I fall off. Part of the reason I ride slower is because of this. With temperatures soaring over 100 F this summer, I've been riding without my jacket when it gets above 95 F. It feels like riding in an oven on most days. Slower speeds might not completely protect me, but they can reduce potential injuries.
Also, riding slower gives me more time to react and I need less distance to stop or slow down, which is safer.
Before I started using the PCX 150, I used to drive a Prius. I would fill up the car with about $20 worth of fuel every week, unless the fuel prices increased. However, with the Honda, I only need to spend around $4.25 to fill up the tank, and this lasts me about a week too. I'm not exactly sure if I'm getting 100 miles per gallon from the scooter, but I do know that riding faster would reduce this mileage. So, part of the reason why I ride slower is to improve fuel efficiency. I want to be able to ride more while spending less on fuel.
Enjoying the Ride
The main reason I ride slow is simply to enjoy it. The slower I ride, the longer I'm on the scooter. Most of my trips are either to work or to get groceries from the town. I don't feel the need to rush. I enjoy the ride itself. So, riding fast would only shorten the time I get to enjoy.
The Experience of Slow Riding
Thinking about it, it's not just on my scooter that I enjoy a slower pace. Even on long car trips, I've noticed that many people seem to be in a rush to reach their destination. They drive fast to save time. But I prefer to stick to the speed limit while listening to audiobooks. If I take an additional half hour to get there, it means I get to enjoy my book a little longer.
The same logic applies to riding my scooter. For me, it's more about the joy of the ride itself than reaching a particular place. The destination is just an excuse to ride. If I go faster, I'm simply shortening the time I get to enjoy the ride.
I've seen YouTube videos of people going on long journeys with their small Honda C90 or CT90 motorcycles or scooters. One person even rode from Australia to England. These riders could get to their destinations faster on bigger motorcycles. But instead, they choose to ride slow on some of the smallest bikes.
Watching others embark on these long journeys on scooters and lightweight motorcycles, I understand the appeal. Let's say I decided to ride from South Texas to Wisconsin. This trip would take several days on a scooter, with the journey taking up more time than the actual visit with my family. However, this slower pace would allow me to truly experience the road and the journey itself. On a motorcycle, I could probably complete the trip in a day and a half, but the road would become something to conquer rather than to enjoy.
Some articles discuss how riding impacts your body, such as improving focus, reducing distractions, raising adrenaline and heart rate, and decreasing stress. They also suggest that riding a motorcycle is a good mental workout because it demands attention and awareness. However, these articles don't make a clear distinction between the effects of riding fast versus riding slow.
Riding slowly also has additional advantages that we might not consider. For instance, slow riding can help prolong your engine's lifespan. This is particularly important for me because summers in south Texas are extremely harsh. Riding hard can cause the engine to overheat, which isn't good for it. Plus, riding slow means you're not putting as much strain on your brakes or tires.
For many of us, riding a bike is a chance to be alone with our thoughts. Sure, we can have someone ride with us. But unless you invest in communication devices, it's mostly a solitary experience. Riding slow gives you more time to react and think things through, compared to speeding along the streets.
Have You Tried Riding Slow?
Many YouTubers who love scooter riding also own larger, faster bikes. However, they still enjoy their scooters because they don't feel the need to speed. They know that even if they wanted to, their scooters couldn't go that fast.
Actually, having a slower bike might be necessary to enjoy slow riding. On a fast motorcycle, it's easy to gradually increase your speed without realizing it. In my case, I have to be careful because my speed can creep up without me noticing. Some sport bikes can even reach 40 mph in just first or second gear.
In conclusion, riding my Honda PCX 150 scooter at a slower pace brings me a sense of safety, fuel efficiency, and an overall enjoyable experience. With the power of the PCX 150, I can easily keep up with highway speeds when needed, but I choose to ride slower most of the time. Riding slow allows me to stay safe on the road, especially during hot summers when I ride without full protective gear. It gives me more time to react and reduces the risk of potentially serious injuries. Additionally, riding slow improves fuel efficiency, allowing me to ride more while spending less on fuel. But above all, the main reason I ride slow is simply to enjoy the ride itself. I savor the moments on my scooter and appreciate the journey rather than rushing to reach a destination. Just like the riders on their small Honda C90 or CT90 motorcycles and scooters embarking on long journeys, I understand the appeal of taking the slower path. It allows for a deeper connection with the road and a more immersive experience. Riding slow also has unexpected benefits, such as prolonging the engine's lifespan and providing more time for introspection during solo rides. So, if you haven't tried riding slow, I encourage you to give it a go and discover the joy it brings.