Grease, Gas, and Speed: Why You Should Buy a Moped

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Not all Phoenix fun comes with dim lighting and fancy cocktails. Sometimes, there's nothing better than endorphins, sunshine, and sweat. Lover of all things outdoors, The Outsider explores the more natural side of Phoenix.

Let's be honest: peddling gets old. Sadly, the alternative (meaning anything with a motor) is expensive. Will there ever be a mode of transportation for the lazy, broke, but ultra-cool? Before accepting defeat, we'd like to welcome to the local rising culture of the classic moped.

Before you start picturing your childhood neighborhood bully riding a neon orange goped, or worse, the ASU philosophy major riding a Vespa, let us clarify. A moped is basically a mini motorcycle.  The coolest of cool look like mini vintage Harleys, the lamest of lame look like mini crotch-rockets. Most moped owners have something that falls somewhere in the middle.

Learn more about mopeds after the jump.

The Tom Cruisers is the official name of the local 20 or so peddlers who can't get enough of the moped's gasoline and grease. Members meet up weekly in Tempe at a member's house to hang out, ride, and perfect their mechanic skills. The meet-up spot varies every week and members stay updated via the group's Facebook page. Every Tuesday you can catch the ride motoring through the streets of Tempe and trying out new routes. 

Although speed is half the fun, the other half is the fixing and tinkering. Most group members troll the Craigslist listings for great rides between $250 to $600. The price varies depending on the year, the manufacturer, the quality, and the overall street cred of the moped. Often this means buying a vintage moped that needs some some extra elbow grease.  Anyone with a moped will admit that the bikes need a lot of maintenance.

"I'd say on average most peds only run for a dozen or so hours before needing attention in someway or another," explains Tom Cruiser member, Ryan Hayles. But since a major part of the hobby is learning to repair, maintenance can be fairly inexpensive and only requires some good tools and a spare part now and then. Hayles even admits to consistently spending more money on his road bike.

But maybe it's the maintenance and grease stains that make them look that much cooler. This isn't the sport for flawlessly coiffed hipsters or perfectly groomed ASU students. 

"There are people who think its the cool hip thing to do but those people are quickly turned off by the idea of getting their hands dirty or having to smell like gas all night," says Hayles. But that doesn't mean he's not looking for new members. The Tom Cruisers are welcoming and understanding of novice apprehensions, and say they'd love to teach a newbie a thing or two about fixing a moped. Rub your new friends the right way, and they might even let you ride an extra bike.

Although the group is small, the sport is growing in popularity. You may have already seen them riding down Mill Avenue looking as cool as James Dean's rebel croniesCheck out the Tom Cruisers' Facebook page for more information.

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook and Twitter.  

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.