Juanito's Scoot, AKA "Wasa"
By Anthony van Someren - 30 May 13
Bringing families together who live thousands of miles apart is not why we built The Bike Shed website, but when I got an email from Michigan in the US with this unusual shed-build submission, the cherry on the proverbial cake was that it came from my cousin Juanito, who I lived with in Oregon when I was 13. I enjoyed his e-mail so much I'm not sure I can improve it by editing, so here's what he wrote: I've been reading BikeEXIF for months -- it's an inescapable vortex of time-wastage -- and similarly now, your site! Another vortex! So I'm going to click on the "Your Bike on The Shed" link and follow the directions there. My scoot is not big, fast, innovative, expensive, or very pretty, but I built it in my shed with a pathetic budget, a cutoff wheel and a flux-core wire-feed welder. I shall proceed as though I've never met you: I'm Juanito Moore, father of three, social worker from a boring town in Michigan. I spent time in South America in my youth, where nearly everyone I knew drove some variant of Honda's small horizontal single motorcycle. They were prefect jungle bikes, reliable, easy to handle, cheap to fix. I scoffed at these underpowered "motos" that could hardly wheelie, let alone do the doubles on the local motocross track, preferring my own dual-purpose XL185, which I rode until the frame cracked. The second time. As an adult living back in the States, I became aware of the worldwide significance of the Honda Cub. This little bike has brought motorized transportation to more people in the world than any other vehicle. The ubiquity of the Honda Cub has made them perfect blank canvases for bike builders. Shinya Kimura even did one. So I picked up a pretty mangled Chinese clone of a Honda C70. The only parts left of that original bike are the rear shocks, the gas tank, and part of the main frame tube. It's got oversized drum brakes wedged into widened stock forks and a tubular swingarm, megaphone muffler built from a futon bed frame, all LED lighting, keyless ignition, larger 125cc motor, bars from a horrible-quality mountain bike. I use this bike to commute whenever I can, run to the store, and sometimes I ride with a scooter club but prefer to ride solo. Last summer, I took a three day trip up and down Michigan, driving across the bridge that connects the two peninsulas that make up our state (people are pretty proud of that around here), and this summer I'm planning a trip around Lake Michigan. My bike is called Wasa, for wabi-sabi, the Japanese aesthetic possibly best summarized as "Nothing is perfect, nothing lasts, nothing is finished." Grime, damage, oxidization, wear; these add to the melancholy beauty of this bike. In fact, uh, I glued together my headlight with Goop (ridiculously sticky clear solvent-y glue, i'm sure you've got it in the UK, but probably not with that name) and nearly instantly blew out the LED with my home-built LED driver (stupid) so I had to burn the Goop up to get the headlight apart again, which yellowed the reflector and cracked the lens, but I was like "YES! PERFECT!" and left it like that. I'm not going to damage my bike on purpose, because that's not authentic, but.... you know what I'm talking about. And just today I took it to work, first time since putting on the Firestones. Boy do they squirm on grooved pavement. Entertaining. See? There's nothing I could have added or edited to improve Juanito's account of why a perfectly sane adult man would create this insane ride from a fake Chinese copy of a Honda C70, but doesn't it look wicked? I really wanna have a go on it. Thanks for writing, cuz, and give your mum Aureol a hug from me.