My wife and I were emailed a Groupon offer a few months ago, detailing a "covered bridge tour of Lancaster County...by scooter." We're local to the central Penn. region, however this sounded fun for two reasons: the covered bridge thing is always a good time, and my wife's been interested in scooters for a couple of years now.
So, I bought it. Our 10th wedding anniversary came up right about the same time of the tour (anniversary in early September, and our tour date was October), so it struck a nice chord in that regard. The weather forecast looked overcast and cold, but not rainy, so we dressed warmly and hopped in the car.
(**QUICK NOTE: The previous sentence should definitely be taken to heart. Do pay attention to the weather, very carefully. And remember, when you're on an open-air mode of transportation, it's colder than when you're sitting in a car, or going for a walk. Bring gloves regardless, but don't under-dress. You WILL be cold, so layer up. I grew up snowmobiling in New Hampshire, so I already knew this, but many people don't consider it. You're forewarned! :-] )
Our scooter time was originally 8am, and we arrived a bit early. Well, 8am came and went... and nary a scooter was to be seen, in the parking lot, nor any other people. Shortly thereafter, a van drove up and a nice guy named Marc asked if we were there for the tour. We confirmed, and he smiled and said the tour had been re-scheduled for 10am due to the chilly weather, and people under-dressing on recent tour dates. (See aforementioned note, regarding proper attire!) Undaunted, we followed him to a local café in Strasburg (maybe half a mile away) for a nice breakfast sandwich and coffee.
The time arrived, so back we went. Our group of maybe 15 riders had arrived, and disclosure forms were signed, helmets fitted (they are provided), and Marc gave a quick lesson on handling the scooters while at a standstill, including start/stop procedure, and getting it on its center stand.
After that, he sent us to the parking lot to fire up our furious 49cc beasts (yes, that's sarcasm), and do a few loops around the block to get used to riding. Anyone who's ridden a bicycle will have little trouble with the basics of balance and turning/leaning; the learning curve comes with throttle, braking, turning signals, etc. This doesn't take long - most of us, after a few minutes, were comfortable enough. Perhaps my snowmobiling experience helped (I rode for 20 years), too.
Marc gave serious emphasis on staying with the group, minding our surroundings, watching out for obstacles, and being aware of EVERYTHING on the road. Things you ignore in a car, are very apparent on two wheels, and the risks are multiplied. This was important advice to heed, but he gave it all with a smile on his face. This is a man who loves to ride both motorcycles and scooters, and it's obvious that Marc's business venture is a labor of love.
So, we were off! The roads he's chosen for this trip, are fantastic fun. There are a few hills, but as few as possible as the small-engined scooters struggle with too much of an incline. Plus, of course, many riders are brand new to it, so he must keep this in mind. This perhaps goes without saying, but you see SO much, without being surrounded by metal and glass, as we are in cars and trucks. Marc led us (I took up the rear at his request, which I felt was a bit of a compliment - or maybe not, and I'm just making it up!!) through several beautiful roads, covered with mid-Fall foliage and great twists and turns. Being a bit of a sports car fanatic, I ate it up in stride, as did my wife! (Hooligan-in-disguise, that she is.)
The bridges on the tour were, of course, also lovely. Did you know that Pennsylvania has more covered bridges, than any other state in the US? Bet you didn't. (Or maybe you did, but roll with me on this. Get it? "Roll." Scooter review. Heh.) Well, I know now, thanks to our adventurous tour guide.
All-in-all, the tour was a few hours long, maybe four. We had a good group of people, and nobody fell off or got lost or hurt, which of course is a bonus. Every one of us pulled in the parking lot with some great sun exposure, mile-wide grins and a new appreciation for something completely different. For me, this was a return to open-air sport; it's a snowmobile, but I don't need snow! Who'd have thought? I'm in my mid-30s, and I don't know why it's taken me so long. We will most definitely be back, with friends and family. Marc is even planning to add more routes, and some seasonal special trips.
Five stars (well, five green dots)! Go for it, you'll have a great time. And afterward, a stop at Lancaster Brewing Co. is a great place for a tasty beverage and good food.
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