Staples Student Uses a Unique Transportation on her Way to School

Leah Bitsky, Feature's Editor

While most licensed students crawl tiredly through school-morning traffic onNorth Avein their jeeps, Audis, and Honda Civics, with loud dub step or light NPR news coming from their speakers, one student rolls into the Staples parking lot with a whole different kind of swag.

Caroline Valerio ’12 prefers to cruise to school on her two-wheeled,MAUI49cc ECO Gas Moped, in a sleek and sunny yellow paint job, and complete with a roaring Honda Engine.

“I will admit I feel pretty cool when I’m riding it,” Valerio said. “My bright yellow moped, baby blue helmet, and neon pink flip-shades,  it’s a little obnoxious, but fun to see people turn and stare.”

The yellow, grey, and black colors of her sweet ride inspired her to name her moped after the transformer, Bumblebee, however she calls it “Bumble” for short. “My friend group and I have turned the name into a verb, so instead of saying ‘I rode my moped today’ I say, ‘I bumbled today,’” said Valerio.

Hanging from the front of the shiny exterior, is Abima, an Ugly Doll, given to Valerio from her friend to protect and guard her moped when she is not around.

The inspiration for the moped came when Valerio would go on family vacations toBermuda, she would see all of these people riding around on their colorful mopeds.

“I thought mopeds were so cool,” Valerio said.

Valerio takes her friends for a ride on her scooter all the time, and they enjoy it very much. Meghan Fox ’14 described what it felt like to ride her friend’s moped.

“It’s basically like riding a really fast bike without the effort of using your legs,” Fox said. “Once it starts moving, there isn’t much to think about besides how nice the wind and the sun feel.”

But riding in style isn’t the only reason why Valerio decided to ride the two-wheeler.

“I knew that I wasn’t going to get a car for my 16th birthday, and since the moped is cheaper in terms of cost, gas, and gets pretty good mileage, I decided to invest in one,” Valerio said.

According to Valerio, her moped cost under $800 when she purchased it, and gas is practically pocket change.

Valerio’s moped runs about 100 miles per gallon, and she has never paid more than $4.00 for gas.

Valerio added  that in the summer, when she rides it the most, she only fills it up about every two weeks.

Since the moped requires so little gas, it is an excellent green alternative of transportation because it reduces the rider’s carbon footprint, and gives off less CO2 emissions.

Though the moped  may be a cheaper and more fun alternative, many wonder what to do when there is bad weather.

“When I leave for school in the morning the temperature is around 50 degrees, so I’ll put on some sweatpants and a sweatshirt under or over what I’m wearing. Once it is warmer outside and I don’t need the layers I just wear regular clothes,” Valerio said.

Valerio said she rides in anything from shorts and sneakers, to dresses and flip flips.

“I should however, invest in some gloves for the morning rides since my hands get extremely cold,” she said.

Though she enjoys riding her moped as much as she can, when bad weather hitsWestport, she will just drive a car to get around, or get a ride home. However, she will definitely ride her moped in a light drizzle.

The smaller source of transportation doesn’t complicate her baggage situation either, as she can keep a bag in between her feet and there is a small compartment under her seat, and in the back of her moped.

Valerio strongly recommends that everyone ride a moped.

“We can order some leather jackets…and have a Moped gang!” Valerio joked playfully.

She continued, in a more serious manner, that buying a moped would be a smart investment since they have pretty good mileage, they are cheaper than a car, and they are extremely fun. As a plus, Valerio explained that she can park her scooter in any parking spot or near a bike rack and even sometimes on the sidewalk, so finding parking at Staples is super easy.

One down side is she cannot ride the moped on the highway, however she uses it all around town.

Anyone with their driver’s license can drive a moped. According to Valerio, if a motor vehicle is under 50cc, then a person does not need a motorcycle license, and he or she does not have to register either.

As for the safety of riding a moped, Valerio feels confident that they are just as safe as a car, and her friends agree with her.

“At first I was kind of freaked out ‘cause I have horrible balance,” Gabrielle Wimer ’12 said, describing her experience of riding Valerio’s moped.

“I thought I was going to get both of us killed, and we had to go up a huge hill to get to her house, but we ended up being fine and now I want to get one of my own.”

Valerio explained that her parents were always supportive of her riding a moped, and she never had to do any persuading.

Valerio’s unique means of transportation makes her light up with joy, and she doesn’t plan on parting with it when her first semester of college rolls around.

“If it’s allowed,” Valerio said with a smile, “Bumble is definitely coming toCharlestonwith me next year.”