Saturday, April 29, 2006

Is Baron King?

We are in the midst of our Baron scooter test. I picked it up in November, be honest, hardly rode it as it was raining in my area like it was a rain forest. It sat for about 2 months and when the weather got decent, the Baron wouldn't start. We've had our mechanic change the carb and do some clean-up and it seems to be working fine, now. The speedo said 50mph on my way home today.

Like most new vehicles, it's nice to have something new to putt around on, but I do notice a huge difference between pricier models such as Vespa, Aprilia, Honda and the like. Our windshield cracked, the right rear turn signal fell off and we've got a few stress cracks. When we were unloading it, the bottom caught on our ramp and cracked the plastic undercarriage. While I don't expect it to be as keen as a $6k scooter, I do wonder who is buying inexpensive plastic scooters and what they want out of them. I doubt that this will be a collectible scooter, and I think it would be generous to think that someone could get 5 years out of it without replacing lots of parts. Yet, maybe for most of the buyers of these scooters, the short-termness is OK. Not everyone looks to own the same vehicle dozens of years later. (One of my Vespas is 9 years older than I am!).

Keeping that in mind, we'll write our fair and review of the bike. No scooter that I have ridden is without merit. Some are definitely better than others, but scooter riders vary in their expectations, and I need to do away with any preconceptions when reviewing such bikes.
Honestly, before I got involved with Scoot!, I wouldn't have guessed that I would be riding all these different scooters, let alone actually *liking* some of them. You can teach an old dog new tricks!

Mike & josh have both seen the proofs of the Summer issue and we expect to have it delivered on Friday (Cinco de Mayo!). That weekend is the Classico Moto Italia rally, but we'll likely have to work through one of the days stuffing magazines.

The deadline for submissions for the Fall issue (can you believe it?) is June 14. If you want to submit rally reports, Show Us Your Scoots photo or anything else, send it in by that date.

An unrelated note: I just bought a PS2 (I know the PS3 is coming out, but this was only $139 brand new), and I am obsessed with "Getting Up" and all the butt-kicking and graffiti-ing. The soundtrack is awesome! Maybe the best part of the game. I'm looking to get some of those games with scooters on them, although real life scootering is much more fun!

Monday, April 24, 2006

25% off sale on cool scooter stationery!

The Scoot! website sells cards from the ladies at Rock Scissor Paper in Southern California. They had a line of cute scooter stuff. While they have sold out of most of their items, they still have a few pieces that may interest you. AND they are having a 25% off sale today through 4/26, so order now! I just ordered some personalized stationery. They also have small gift enclosure cards which are about the same size as the small cards that accompany flowers, except that these fold. So, get thee to your browser and order some stationery before they sell out. After the sale, you can check back with Scoot! as we always sell their products at a discount, just not THAT good. :)

On other news, the Summer issue is at the printer. We expect proofs this week and delivery next week. Some exciting news about this next issue is that we'll have it at every Barnes & Noble bookseller in the US. We're doing a promotion with our distributor where we're on the endcap to test our sales. This means primo placement at every store. Previously, we were in the rack with everyone else and only at certain stores. Very frustrating for those looking for the magazine. If you purchase the magazine at newsstands or have been looking for a place to purchase it, try Barnes & Noble in Mid- to late-May. I think we lose the endcap in June. If enough people buy the magazine, we might be able to get it at all B&Ns in the future.

I just heard that Wallnecks is doing an issue which will focus on scooters. I'll post some more info on it this week.

Happy scooting!,

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The best laid plans...

I just got back from Santa Barbara, Ca last night. I took a trip there to visit my Grandmother on her 90th birthday. Not only was it a trip to visit my awesome Grandma, I was also looking to figure in some magazine business.

If you've never visited Santa Barbara, you should plan to. It is called the "American Riviera" because it resembles the European Riviera in it's topography, climate and flora. The city is old, one of the stops of the Spanish missionaries who built a Mission there, and remarkably, it had a very visionary mandate to keep the city looking like a small Spanish town. The architecture is likely very controlled, which is probably a bane to those who want to be original and modern. But for those of us who appreciate the local flavor, Santa Barbara is a beautiful place. While it is a big city, they have refrained from tall buildings, almost all new commercial construction still reflects the white or terracotta stucco and tile roof look that has been here for over 300 years. They city is on a small bay and faces a channel of islands off the coast.

So, you're probably wondering what this has to do with a scootering blog, right? Well, Santa Barbara is also a great city for riding. I try not to miss the annual "Endless Summer" rally as it let's me combine a visit to Grandma with some fun and beautiful scootering routes. You can ride along the coast and stop to browse the weekend arts fair that lines the beach sidewalk. The hills offer fun curvy roads and beautiful scenery. Downtown has lots of quaint, independent eateries and shops if you want to cruise the long outdoor State Street Mall. There is also a lively arts scene with plays and musical events happening all the time. While Santa Barbara is a wealthy area (I could never afford to live there) it also has a large college student population, so you can find inexpensive places to get a drink and some food while still wearing beach bum clothes.

Unortunately, this trip was mired with rain. Lots of it. I had scheduled to borrow a bike from Bobby at Moto Paradiso (the local Vespa shop) and was set to take a cruise around the city with Janel Holiday (one of the brains behind the All Girl Scooter Rally). I thought it would be a slam-dunk, easy article for the magazine, but then it rained. And rained. So my one day of scootering paradise was turned into mall shopping and mani/pedi relaxation. Sometimes you can get all the plans in place, but a little thing like weather can throw it all off. I hope to get back there when the weather improves and write my article. In the meantime, if you have a chance to get there with scooter in tow, do it. The "Endless SUmmer" rally usually takes place in September, so mark your calendar.