BOONE LIFE: Easy riders

The Scooter Sirens club was started in April 2006 as an environmental endeavor
Monday, August 20, 2007 | 2:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:04 p.m. CST, Monday, February 9, 2009
Laurie Spate-Smith, left, fills up her scooter at the Pierpont Gas Station. Spate-Smith estimates she can get 85 miles to the gallon on her scooter, while fellow Scooter Siren Elizabeth Marino, right, gets 100 miles to the gallon on hers.

When it comes to zipping around town, two wheels are better than four if you ask the founding members of the Scooter Sirens, Columbia’s only motor scooter club.

Laurie Spate-Smith and Elizabeth Marino, both veteran English teachers at Jefferson Junior High School, started the club in the spring of 2006.


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They were inspired by the book, “The Bush Survival Bible: 250 Ways to Make it Through the Next Four Years Without Misunderestimating the Dangers Ahead, and other Subliminable Strategeries,” written by Gene Stone.

“The book gave recommendations to people who were feeling a little depressed about the times, and one of them was to contribute something to the environment. So, in order to be nicer to the environment, we decided that we would buy less fossil fuel, and scooters are so fuel efficient,” says Spate-Smith.

She estimates her Genuine Stella scooter gets 85 miles to the gallon, while Marino’s Genuine Buddy scooter gets 100 miles to the gallon.

Weather permitting, they ride them whenever possible, including to and from Jefferson Junior High.

“Oh, (the students are) jealous. They want to belong to our scooter club,” says Spate-Smith. “We had to tell them, nobody under 18.”

“Some of the teachers think it’s kind of fun that we ride around on our scooters, and other teachers think it’s a little bit dangerous,” Marino says, “but we are very careful when we scoot.” In fact, they call themselves “careful risk takers.”

Being a careful risk taker means always wearing their helmets, checking weather reports and taking back roads whenever possible.

Being nicer to the environment is the main reason they started riding their scooters, but having fun is a big part of the experience as well.

During the summer months, when they have a break from teaching, the women participate in their own version of the Ironman Triathlon called the Ironfemme, which culminates with poolside cocktails at the home of Spate-Smith’s father.

“A couple of times a week we do what’s called the Ironfemme, and that’s a three-part scooter event. We scoot out to the pool, we swim a couple of laps and then we enjoy a tasty beverage. To be effective teachers, we have to be relaxed and happy in the summer,” Marino says with a smile.

Attracting more members means sharing the good times on the open road. Spate-Smith and Marino will sing their siren song to try to tempt new members (men welcome, as well) with their first scooter rally that will meet 11 a.m. Oct. 13 at Flat Branch Park, followed by a ride to Rocheport and lunch at Abigail’s, 206 Central St.

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Charles Creswell January 26, 2009 | 11:07 p.m.

I am going to be moving back to Columbia, after my youngest son graduates high school in 1 1/2 years. I am interested in joining the Siren Scooter Club, because I enjoy scooting. I used to own a 49cc scooter and rode around with Dayrel Crowl from 1993 til 2001. I have a larger scooter called a Roketa Bali 250cc Scooter that operates at 65 mph, wieghs 285 lbs., two seater, trunk, stereo, windshield, gets 65 mpg.. Been to Columbia and back to Slater, on the 55 mph highways. It was fun.. But they can be quite a thrill to ride around. My wife is now interested in one also. It would be smaller for her. A 49cc scooter to start out with. Mine is classified as a motorcycle due to the engine size, though it is a scooter with a automatic transmission. Give gas and it goes. My scooter has been used by police as Police Cycles. They are quick, very reliable, and cheap on gas. They require a motorcycle endorsement, registering and licence plate, and insurance. My insurance is $18 per month full coverage. But they are alot of fun to ride. It is a China made scooter, bought off the web for $1685 new and in the crate. No damage and runs great. Most people whom buy them, say they will last along time with proper maintenance. I learned alot about scooters from Crowl.

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