Gone Cubbin’

The following kick-starts our list of the all-time greatest postmodern modes of travel transportation. Tried, tested and true, these iconic marvels of engineering will carry explorers of the immanent phenomenological universe as far and as wide as they’d like to go. They are operative to the business of sustainable adventure. They are indispensable to the worldly pursuit of happiness. They are legends of the road, the waterways, and the airwaves too, and they never quit, even when they are ahead. These ambulant odes to the combustion engine have earned the bumper badge of honor that reads: “Shit and fizzles happen, but Oh!!! The Places You’ll Go!!!!!!!” All self-respecting hobos looking to get some truly great mileage out of their travel experiences should give at least one of these mythical, peregrine machines a whirl, because they are the mechanical embodiment and pell-mell epitome of Hemingway’s spiritual concept of the “moveable feast”. Buy or borrow one and throttle your stay-at-home self: simply point and shoot in the direction you’d like to discover, and brace yourself for the chance encounters and drive-by marvels of the road.

The first in the Hobo Haul-Ass Hall of Fame: the Honda Cub!

Fuck the shallow, starlet-struck Vespa, the scooter of magpies and posturers. Focus your attention instead on this best-selling, universally-loved and exceedingly heavy-duty beauty: the Honda (Super) Cub.  Sure, it doesn’t boast the silver-spoon polish and waspish design of its Italian counterpart, but get a load of this: 1.5 Honda Cub has (have?) been sold for every Italian living and breathing in Italy today. That’s a cool 90 million, folks. And there is definite strength in those numbers. If the Vespa is the Mustang of scooters (sleek, nubile, ponytailed), the Cub is the Model T. And every hot-rodder worth his salt wants a Model T. It doesn’t superimpose a designer style. It invites DIY creativity. Believe you us: with this pressed-steel monocoque underbone phenomenon, you’re getting a whole lot mo’ moped for yo money. Cue subtitle:

Four strokes of genius

First of all: the single-cylinder, step-through Cub is build like a ton of bricks. It’s the Wiley E. Coyote of miniature motorbikes: you can drive it off a cliff or light it on fire with an ACME flamethrower, it simply will not quit. Meep-meep!

Second to none: in first gear (the standard Cub has three), it will take and transport just about everything. Nuclear and extended families, outsized furnishings, assorted barnyard animals, why not another Super Cub? The more the merrier on the Honda, even when you’re creeping up a mountain at 5 mph. Unlike the Vespa, the scooter of patricians, this is a truly social vehicle.

Third and not least: sure it’s unflappable, unstoppable, and indestructible. But it’s also unambiguously cool. And blisteringly beautiful. The Vespa is the Sophia Loren of motorized couture. The Cub is Jane Fonda. One is all diva, high running costs, shoddy suspension. The other is a tomboy, awkward handling yes, but always game.

Fourth and foremost:

You meet the nicest people on a Honda”

The Honda premiered in 1958 and was designed to be a Japanese farmer’s BFF. But the semi-automatic push-start-ready sensation soon went international, and so a less-is-more legend was born: from the fun-loving 49er to the fast and furious 109 CC Sports Cub and Hunter models, the Cub was always convenient and inspired a litter of awesome little motorbikes, including the Honda Monkey.

Unlike the Vespa, which thrives exclusively in uptown urban environments and on winding Riviera roads, the Cub feels right at home in every milieu: the beach, the drive-in, large cities, small villages, on and off-road, from Highway 1 to the Ho Chi Minh Trail and pretty much everywhere in between. Go to Google, type in “Honda Cub + epic travel”, and you’ll find untold blogs and articles about people who went the distance on a Cub, firing on all cylinder(s). Nice, adventurous, down-to-earth kind of people. People you’d like to meet. It’s the way to travel, folks!

Fifth and finally: its basic mechanics are economical and foolproof, meaning anyone can MacGyver the Cub back from the (never really) dead. You can park it in a barn and leave it there for a couple of decades, come back, little spit, grease and TLC, up and away she goes. The Cub is timeless in every sense of the word. Elvis Presley rode one, for crying out loud!

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