When I was a teenager I wanted a motorcycle in the worst way. I grew up in Las Vegas, and the coolest guys in my junior high school rode Honda 50s, a kind of starter bike. They had a look, too: long hair, white T-shirts, faded Levi’s and cowboy boots. And the most important part: A cute girl perched behind them, clutching them tightly as they pulled in and out of the student parking lot.

This was the late ’60s, when “Easy Rider” came out, that countercultural landmark film about two hippie bikers searching for an alternative American Dream.

Of course, my mother’s stance on motorcycle ownership was “over my dead body,” which she assumed would be my fate if she indulged me. So I never elevated my school status to “cool guy,” at least not until I went out for football in senior high school. A motorcycle probably would have been a whole lot safer than that bone-crushing sport.

And while I never did get a motorcycle, the urge to fly down the road at 60 miles an hour on two wheels never entirely left me. When I retired and was looking for fun things to do with all my extra time, the desire resurfaced. I occasionally broached the subject with my wife, whose stony silence suggested she was thinking “over my dead body.”

And then one day while running an errand on my pedal bike, I ran into a guy who’d just purchased a motor scooter. He told me how much he loved the darn thing, how fun it was to ride and what great gas mileage it got. On top of that, it wasn’t very expensive.

I was intrigued, but admittedly a little worried about the manliness factor.

My neighbor, a friend and former colleague, rode a scooter around town, and he was, best I could tell, a manly man. So I checked them out at the local dealer. I wanted a black one because I thought it more masculine looking, but found a slightly used white one that was discounted. A little pleading and I convinced the wife.

A fan of the TV series “Sons of Anarchy,” about a badass motorcycle club in California that somehow managed to make its characters sympathetic despite their homicidal tendencies, I had no illusions about the figure I cast puttering around on a retro Italian-style scooter that topped out at 35 miles per hour. Badass, I was not. But I still felt kind of cool, even with the dorky helmet.

Turns out, my scooter is powered by the same 50cc engine of those longed-for motorcycles of my youth. And there is room on the back to accommodate a cute girl (my wife). So I can deal with the manliness thing, even if I’m not riding a Harley hog (or any porcine creature). Where I live is hilly, wooded and near the ocean, perfect for scootering.

Wind in the face! Bugs in the teeth! Just born to be wild, I guess.

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