In a scooter online forum, a lady inquired about how to drive a moped for the first time. She bought an electric moped because she had seen a lot of people in her town driving one, and the idea of saving money on gas was very appealing. But she was very frustrated, because when the time to ride her moped came, she did not know what to do with it. She asked, “Is there a guide available online that will teach me how to operate a moped?”
In my opinion, this is not an isolated cry for help. A lot of people are buying mopeds and electric bicycles out of necessity, because they are cheaper to buy and operate. Some of them might not have a previous experience with motorized scooters and eventually will be facing the same problem. This article is an attempt to help first time moped drivers to get it rolling. So, what do I do when I don’t know what to do with my moped scooter?
Firstly, you need to know the physics of riding any two-wheeled vehicle. We know that a bike stays upright when it is steered to keep its center of mass over its wheels. This steering is usually supplied by a rider, or in the case of a motorized scooter, by the bike itself. Basically, the challenge is to keep your body in balance. A good training for moped riding would be, to learn how to keep your balance while riding in a regular bike. If you know how to drive a bicycle, you won’t have problems driving a moped. There is one difference though, that you have to keep in mind: in driving motorized bikes, mopeds and motorcycles, speed is your friend. By this, I mean that when you drive your moped, you have to keep the inertia, so that it won’t fall over. While it is an everyday occurrence to see a bike rider keeping balance in a very slowly pace, or even in a motionless state, with motorized bikes, mopeds and motorcycles, the slower you go, the less stable and balanced you will be.
Secondly, you need to get familiar with the process of starting the engine. There are a few key components located on the front part of your moped that are vital to its safe operation. Here is what you need to do: take the time to locate and get acquainted with all those components. Keep in mind that there can not be a universal set of instructions to operate all mopeds, because they vary according to the brand, model, size and source of power.
- You must locate the ignition switch. Once you find it, turn it on with a key, much the same way you would in a car.
- Then, find the start switch. Most mopeds come with a start switch, which must be in the “on” position. If it has a kill switch, it must also be in the “run” position.
- Depending on the brand, you might need to quickly kick one of the pedals in order to start the moped’s motor.
- Situate the throttle grip, which is the bar where the hands usually go to maneuver. If the motor is on, you control speed by twisting this grip. If you twist it forward, the machine gets decelerated; if you twist it backwards the speed increases. It behooves you then, to learn how to use this speed control. In order for the moped to roll forward, slowly twist the grip backwards. As you gain confidence, you will increase the speed.
- Before you start rolling, make sure you know where the brake levers are. You can’t miss them. They are located at the two extremes of the moped handlebar. They serve to slow down or stop the vehicle. It is very important to learn how to balance the two. The right lever serves to apply the front brake, and the left lever is for the rear. To avoid unnecessary accidents, make sure you apply steadily increasing pressure to both brake levers simultaneously.
- Before you take off, make sure the mirrors are positioned correctly, that you know where the switch to activate the headlight beams is.
- Once the moped is moving, put you feet off the ground and into the footrest platform, or in other cases, on the pedals.
Thirdly, make sure you implement these steps for the first time in an isolated area, where traffic would not be a factor that add to the stress of the new experience, or put in danger your physical integrity, or that of others.
Lastly, when you finish your ride, take these steps in reverse. Decelerate, stop the vehicle, put your feet on the ground, turn off all switches, get your keys, lower the kickstand to settle the moped and make sure you leave it in a secure place, with the safety devise locked.
If you follow these tips, you will surely enjoy your first ride on your new moped scooter. I can assure you it will be a thrilling experience. But first you need to know the physics involved in riding a moped. It’s all about balance. The faster it goes, the easier to keep balance; the slower we go, it becomes a lot more difficult to keep balance. Also, you need get familiar with the different components your moped has on the front part. Don’t be afraid to test them. It will not be difficult to learn how to use them properly. It would be ideal for an experienced driver to teach you how to operate your moped, but the next best thing you could do is to heed the tips given in this article. Have a safe ride!