Introduction: Traveling by Scooter

Picture of Traveling by Scooter

I recently rode my new Honda Ruckus scooter over 150miles in one day and had a great time. I rode form Columbus,Ohio to Akron, Ohio on a trip home after working in Columbus for the past 5 months. This was quite an undertaking due to the fact the Ruckus tops out at about 40mph so I had to ride the back roads the entire trip. The trip took a total of 6h 10min which included stopping for lunch, gas, and to figure out where I was and where I needed to go. On the plus side the Ruckus gets 100mpg and is a blast to ride.

My inspiration for buying this scooter and making this trip comes from one person, and his name is Wan. Wan is from South Korea and in last October he came to the US to travel to entire country on a Honda Ruckus. He has since put over 17,000miles on his Ruckus and will be heading back to Korea in July. His amazing story has been fully documented on a forum dedicated to the scooter. Many members of the forum have supported him along the way, by allowing him to stay in their homes, eat their food and be tour guides to many locations across the US. A map of his journey with links to all of his posts and inspiring pictures is here Wan's Route I would recommend reading through all 160+ pages of parts 1 and 2 of this epic story. I guarantee you will be inspired by the good will of everyone evolved with his travels.

I wanted to go over a few tips I came up with during my recent travels so that if you ever make a trip like this you can be a little more prepared. My advice comes from my limited experience but I hope it can help

Step 1: Plan Ahead

Picture of Plan Ahead

Before you start a long distance scooter ride you need to at least make a few plans, and have some sort map. I have used Google directions in the past and had reasonable luck, but things didn't turn out to well for this trip. Google directions allows you to drag your route on the map which is what I need because I can only ride on certain roads but the directions only gave road names not route numbers. This is import because most road names are not shown in rural areas. I did some more research and found that yahoo maps allows you to drag the path and gives directions with route numbers.

One good tip would be to give someone else a copy of the directions. So if you get really stuck you can call them and explain where you are. I gave what I thought was one set of the directions to my Dad before I left but I actually gave him two copies of the first page of the directions and one copy of the second page. All I had was a copy of the second page and two copies of the thrid page, not very helpful.

So I had to make my own way using the GPS and the map. I remembered some of the routes but an import part of navigating in this manner is using the good'ol compass. I knew I needed to go Northeast, so if I was heading north, east, or even better northeast, I was making progress.

I tried to stay on main roads. Riding though neighborhoods and on county roads will make things more difficult then they need to be. Ride right through the center of towns and look for junction signs for the next route.

Most of the roads I took had a 55mph speed limit so I was getting passed by cars the whole time. Just watch your mirrors and pay attention when someone is approaching.

Step 2: Items to Bring

Picture of Items to Bring

It is important to be prepared for almost any situation when you are traveling on a scooter. I have a small bag that holds a kit of "Just in Case" items. These items included:

Space Blanket
Small candle
Pair of Gloves

I brought some more items, which included:

Extra batteries for the GPS
Utility Knife
Zip ties
Bike tire Pump
Extra Clothes
Small first aid kit

I also wore my hydration pack which held more than enough water for the whole trip. This was very nice to have whenever I needed it. I also brought some cash and the phone number for the road side assistance I got with the scooter. I think this was one of the most important things and if you don't have it look into it. AAA does have motorcycle service but its only with the most expensive plan. Another thing I didn't show in the picture is my fully charged cell phone, which is another necessity.

I also included a picture of Wan's items. He carries everything he has with him on his scooter. He has camping gear because he sleeps on the side of the road or at a camp ground during the majority of his travels. One thing he has that I should have brought was a lock. The Honda Ruckus weighs less then 200lbs, so two guys in a pickup could make quick work of steeling the scooter. Its always good to be a little extra secure.

Step 3: Bring Food

Picture of Bring Food

If you are doing a day trip like I did its a good idea to bring some food. I packed an entire lunch because I planned to stop at a park, but even if you plan to stop at a restaurant, its a good idea to bring some snacks. I prefer chips, pretzels, and fruit but just bring what ever tickles your taste buds.

Some important tips for packing food would be to use many plastic bags, especially for the fruit. It will keep the juices from getting all over everything. Also bring some napkins and plates. I forgot these so my fingers got sticky and I made a mess.

If you bring a jug like the orange juice one in the picture do not get the pop top kind, get the screw on kind. I made this mistake and while attempting to shove everything into the duffel bag the lid popped off and spilled OJ all over. I ended up not taking the extra clothes because of this.

Step 4: Stop to Smell the Roses

Picture of Stop to Smell the Roses

About half way through the trip stopped at a park to eat lunch. This was a fairly large state park which had a fire tower over looking the entire area. So I ate my lunch and climbed to the top to take a look around.

This was a good break from riding and was something I had not done before. This type of thing is what traveling is all about, experiencing something new. I my opinion traveling should be as much about getting to your destination as it is about being at you destination.

One final tip would be to take as many pictures as you can, because you might only get to be there once. I should taken more during this trip, so I learned my lesson for next time.

I hope my tips can help some of you during you next adventure. Have fun and be safe.


steveofthenw (author)2013-08-25

If you cannot keep up with ambient traffic flow you are too slow & thus are a ROLLING HAZARD!. Get a Big Ruckus so you can at least stay out of people's way. Geez...

MartinD202 (author)steveofthenw2017-05-16

..."This was quite an undertaking due to the fact the Ruckus tops out at about 40mph so I had to ride the back roads the entire trip" GEEEEEEZZZ

Oliver Murphy (author)2017-03-02

I have just over 1000 miles on my Schwinn Valo 150. What a great time. Im thinking of a trip from east of Buffalo to Bowling Green, Ohio sometime in August. Good idea !

kearl (author)2015-11-30

Sweet ruckus! A friend and I just took a trip in the desert on these and downloaded the app "Topo" on the iphone for navigation. It works great offline if you download maps first. Seems like it costs around $10. Here is vid of our trip for those interested in Ruckus touring in the desert:

LowellB1 (author)2015-09-10

Great blog/article. Like the tips on using Yahoo maps, and having the roadside assistance directory. You didn't seem to have much in terms of tools for repairs aside from the bike pump. Have you changed what you take with you since this seems to be some yeas ago?

BryanB11 (author)2015-08-12

I just purchased a 1987 Honda Elite 150. Will probably stick to short trips until i get a new set of tires.

josh (author)2014-03-10

This is great! I'm planning a small motorcycle ride across the state of Arizona with a couple friends to raise money for a charity. thanks for your tips!

kevlar557 (author)2008-10-11

I have a 84 Honda Aero 125, and when it runs right, I do some good 50+ mile trips, and it gets up to about 60 mph. Only problem is, is they only made it one year in the US, and parts are impossible to find.

andygreyrider (author)kevlar5572013-09-12

I have accumulated many spare parts for the NX50 including a performance exhaust, cylinder and many parts fit Peugeot's too!

andygreyrider (author)kevlar5572009-03-03

Honda Aero's are used on a daily basis at present in Turkey. The Aero shares its engine with other Honda models. I have 2 Honda NX50 Caren's in England and they are known as Express SR's in the USA. Parts are readily available for all small cc Honda's, It's just knowing where to look. Try MopedArmy, MopedMayhem, CMSL in Netherlands and as a few to get you by with. The best thing about Honda's and the Chinese are now copying them, is that their models supercede each other, in other words, they change the style of the scooter but maintain the engine workings. The engine's have only been modified with removable restrictors to get them through the emission's law. I am a qualified Engineer and Motorcycle Technician; I have always found that people around the world love to share their moped, scooter and motorcycle experience's more than they do want to get involved with political and/or religious debate. It's comrarderie that we share unlike those who drive their 'tin box' auto's and hurl abuse at each other.

Derin (author)andygreyrider2009-08-05

Are you Turkish as well?

andygreyrider (author)Derin2013-09-12

Sorry, just seen your comment; I am English born and bred but live in a cosmopolitan community.

enicolay (author)2011-10-27

Hey, I am planning a 1500km (aprox. 900 miles) trip in December. I've got a 2007 Yamaha BeeWee 100cc, got advices? Oh, and there will be a point in my journey where filling stations are rarely seen. Email me to to give me tips please ;)

11tillr (author)2011-06-04

i love the idea of the ruckus, i have a drz400, but i have always wanted to find a cheap ruckus and modd it out, they look like soo much fuuuun!

stormy0314 (author)2010-08-16

I rode my Ruckus for 40 miles one day and my butt was so sore I couldn't sit down for a week. What's the answer to a comfortable long ride?

CivilianX (author)stormy03142011-01-15

A lowered seat. You can get one at Battlescooter or elsewhere on the Interwebs. Checkout

Shai Gar (author)2010-11-19

I've already got 21000 km's on mine. I've only owned it since September 2008.

spylock (author)2010-03-07

Back in the 80s I had a moped,and I too at 16 years old would take long day trips,it for me was Freedom,it was one of the best investments Ive ever made,I logged a few thousand miles the summers of 85 and 86 and would recomend it to the young and young a heart alike.The scooters are alot more reliable and are a little faster from what I hear,only now you have to wear a helmet in VA. and we didnt back then,I think I may buy a scooter this year and do it again,its such fun.

skylardewil (author)2009-09-06

Do I spy a light- up Indiana Jones spoon? Those are the best...

stevepuk (author)2009-08-12

I had a 125cc motorbike until recently when someone decided I wasn't going fast enough and tried to overtake me while there was an oncoming truck, he then knocked me off, wrote off the bike and injured me and my girlfriend quite badly. So another tip I would say is if some jerk behind you seems to want to get past consider pulling over. It might cost you a minute, but better that than spending months with nasty infected open wounds which you will have because you don't seem to be wearing protective clothing. So there's another tip wear protective clothing. I got a new motorbike now a 650cc, that still gets over 60mpg and my girlfriend got a new 125 that can go a bit faster than the old one and manages 110mpg!

Rishnai (author)2008-07-24

Great instructable. Being an insatiable tinkerer, I'm in the early stages of a plan to make a an under-50cc scooter do 65 for long distances, more than once. I've got some pretty wild mods on the list. Any ideas that might help even the slightest?

I smell bacon (author)Rishnai2009-04-14

Convert it to run on methanol, that should speed it up easily!

Rishnai (author)I smell bacon2009-04-17

Hmm... I had thought about that, since the effective "octane" of alcohol is higher. The loss of gas mileage wouldn't be a big sacrifice, but fueling it up when on the road could be tricky. E-85, perhaps.

shark54 (author)2009-04-15

i think hes drunk

Balaszi (author)2008-07-03

Get a motorcycle!! j/k cool post...but ask yourself, are you a mod or a rocker?

Doug Costlow (author)Balaszi2008-07-03

I've got one. A 76' Honda CB200T, but its not running right now. hopefully in a few weeks though. So where does that put me, more mod or more rocker

I would say more rocker, but how about the Aprilia Mana, full or semi-automatic transmission, and a phoney fuel tank. But then again it does have a V-Twin. Motorcycle or scooter? Mod or rocker? Does anyone care?

Balaszi (author)Doug Costlow2008-07-06

Hmm, it's pretty small but at least your legs are on the sides and not in front...haha! I suppose once it runs you'll be leaning more rockerly.

ottorax (author)2009-04-10

Ya, good article. I always travel prepared, but hadn;t thought about a hydration pack. good call! I have a honda c70 and was looking into an 89 mile trip home myself on backroads.

ShaiGar (author)2008-12-15

I'm considering doing a cross Australia trip on my Sym VS 125 scooter. Australia isn't as populated as America and I'm starting from Darwin, NT. Me thinks I'm going to have to tinker with your plan somewhat.

fitztrev (author)2008-06-28

That's awesome! Looks like a great trip and a lot of fun!

walkthewalk (author)fitztrev2008-10-31

I used to have a Little Ruck but didn't really feel safe in traffic-- a little too slow. I now have a 125 which is much better for around town.

CRYROLFE (author)2008-07-06

Anyone know how to get a little dog on ruckus? Is there a carrier or something like that? He is about 20lbs and is a Boston.

Alarmnbob (author)CRYROLFE2008-10-08

Well, Here in Kansas we put them in a basket. Have you tried a pet "tote". I would think that you could mount it to the Ruckus. I used to ride my scoot with my dog in my jacket but did not feel this was safe. I made a tote from a soft sided Large thermal cooler. I just cut a hole for her head to stick out. Samantha is a weiner dog and the tote is large enough for her to lay down in or poke her head out to see what is going on.

mail (author)2008-07-05

how long ago did you get this ruckus? the newer ones only come in the 50cc models that have a top speed of 40 mph for some reason *cough*gascompanies*cough*. the big ruckus is practically the same thing as a ruckus -other than the fact that it was a bigger and a hell of a lot faster (75 mph)- it even had the same gas mileage as today's ruckus.

Possum Living (author)mail2008-09-26

*cough*What exactly do the "gas companies" have to do with the top speed of a 50cc motorscooter? Physics plays no part, huh?*cough*

mail (author)Possum Living2008-09-26

I'm not complaining about the speed of the scooter itself. I know that motors like this can't put out as much energy as larger one. the only thing I was complaining about is that the big ruckus still had a pretty good gas mileage and was cancelled.

Possum Living (author)mail2008-09-26

I doubt politics played a part. I liked the Big Ruckus too, but it was way more expensive than the regular Ruckus, and that's probably what killed it. Too bad they don't make a Ruckus with a CT-110 powertrain, including manual tranny and dual range. Those things were bulletproof, got 100 mpg and would at least do 55.

mail (author)Possum Living2008-09-28

i only recently figured out about the big ruckus. i didn't know they were expensive. i have only seen the prices for the ones on sale today and they were for about $5,000.

Possum Living (author)mail2008-09-28

I've seen the regular Ruckus on sale at a dealership for as little as $1295. A couple of days ago I saw a 1962 ad in an old magazine, for the Honda Trail 50. Not the later Mini-Trail 50, but an adult-sized bike similar to the later Trail 90. It was factory rated at 65 mph top speed, and up to 200 mpg. Several companies in China are building licensed copies of those old Honda engines; they could build that bike and sell it for $1000, and they could sell a million of them. I would buy one.

mail (author)Possum Living2008-09-30

wow. thanks!

mail (author)Possum Living2008-09-26

hey! your the person who made all of those clean energy projects! i really like the solar panel one.

Doug Costlow (author)mail2008-07-05

The big ruckus was only sold for two years in the US, 05 and 06. It went faster than then the ruckus because it had a 250cc engine, and got roughly 55-70mpg, which is less than the 100mpg I have been constantly getting on the ruckus. More info on the Big Ruckus from an owner of one can be found here, Big Ruckus FAQ

mail (author)Doug Costlow2008-08-10

thanks... i just saw that you replied to my message.

killarowa (author)2008-07-15

You took your passport on a road trip through Idaho? Well if your an immigrant ok, but if not, isnt that a bit much? And as for the pictures of food, this was in your backpack? mmmm, sterno and ramin

Crucio (author)killarowa2008-09-10

In case you haven't figured it out yet :) that wasn't him or his stuff. It was Wan's...

toncezs (author)2008-08-17

hello guys do you have Honda XRM euro style and Honda DIO 3 scooters there in US it can go for up to 90 to 140Mph for Honda XRM - 0 to 140Mph top and for honda Dio 3 or ZX - 0 to 90Mph top but you can add some access. to it if you want more power and style i'm sorry for my english but i have one pic. to show this is a Honda XRM show type set-up not for racing but still it punch some power over 160Mhp just add new sport muffler to gain more speed this pic. is taken from the philippines hope you will be inspired in scooter thanks

krakchris (author)2008-07-24

I have one thing to say about the taking pictures thing. When I am traveling I want to enyoi the moment and I dont want to be looking at the back of my camera. Just take one or two pictures of the most beutiful spots. Otherwhise you will end up with a lot of useles photos. Yust my opinion. Great instrucable !!!

dacker (author)2008-07-02

I enjoyed your Instructable! I bought a Honda Metro just a few weeks ago an have been having a ball with it. The core of a Metro is the same as the Ruckus but with 'classic' (e.g. Vespa) styling. At 300 total miles, I'm getting 1bout 110-120 MPG. I've taken a fair number of 10-15 miles trips; nothing approaching 150 miles. As you point out, planning even an inter-suburbia trip requires some forthought due to the ~40MPH max speed and spped drops down to about 20MPH on steep hills. is one of my essential tools. I let it plan my routes and then "Drag to change route" to rework my route to avoid higher-speed or highly congested streets. My speedometer lies; it's 2-3MPH high. I've been through several 'advisory' radar traps, which agree with each other. As someone else pointed out, the brakes are not so hot. Why the cheap Cinese scooters can have disc brakes and Honda does not is beyond me. The gas gauge lies also, but I'm sure you know that by now as well. I have to plan on a gas stop within 10 miles when the gauge read 1/4-tank. I get about 2MPH better speed if I improve my aerodynamics by crouching-down over the handlebars and pull-in my elbows. Above 45MPH, it does not matter; that seems to be my terminal velocity. For your long-haul rides, the Honda owners manual recommends a slightly different spark plug (hotter, IIRC.) You many want to RTFM. Somewhere on the 'net, I ran into a simple mod for Honda's 49cc engines. If the photos I saw were accurate, there is a plate in the exhaust system which restricts the exhaust flow, hence restricting the top speed. I need to go find that site again....

lasersage (author)dacker2008-07-03

20mph on hills!!! not trying to be rude but do you weigh a lot? 2-3mph over is pretty standard for a speedo, I've had many read similarly. Every bike I've owned with a fuel gage stays on full for half the tank and then very quickly dies away, just reset the trip each time and you can guess by the mileage when things are getting low. My bike reads full to about 90miles, then half by about 110-120, a quarter by 130 and empty by 160miles. As for brakes, drums actually bite better and often make more sense than all that hydraulic nonsense. Trouble is drums heat very quickly and then braking power fades. I'd trust an old cable pull drum more than a chinese machined brake calliper. Still not trying to be rude, but if you're brakes are behaving poorly are you overloading (to heavy for) you bike?

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Bio: I enjoy building things more than actually using them.
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