Thursday, June 29, 2006

A 700cc scooter? What's next?

I saw a news item about KYMCO beginning work on a 700cc scooter. Read it here
While it is only 50cc bigger than the Suzuki Burgman, it brings to mind the questions, "How big can a scooter get?" and "When does a scooter become a motorcycle?" The first question is hard to answer. The Scoot! team has long been wondering when a 1,000cc bike will be available and which manufacturer will make it. It remains to be seen.

The answer to the second question seems a bit easier, but actually isn't. In our next issue we'll review a CPI "scooter" which is more like an automatic motorcycle. I can see that line between scooter and motorcycle blurring. Especially so when many of the bikes we review are loosing their flat center mats to big humps that make it more difficult to carry a 12-pack between your feet on the way home from the store. :)

In other news, we're expecting to get some new Scoot! merchandise this week from Modified Printing. Some more track jackets and some cool white/blue ringer shirts with a cute scooting illustration by artist Mark Atmos Pilon. Mike has begun the layout process and we are doing our best to get the issue available for Amerivespa In Denver next month, which willl be 2 weeks early! Wish us luck!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Piaggio Makes Parking a Priority

Readers of my blog will find that the need for scooter parking is nothing new, but Piaggio is putting some muscle behind the call with their announcement of their Vespetition. Read it here.

In the US there are several "obstacles" to getting people to purchase scooters. While some can be addressed easily ( riding in poor weather, carrying capacity) some can't (long-distance commute for many Americans). One issue that is somewhere in the middle is parking. While most cities are car-centric, with a persistence and hard work scooterists can get the safe parking they need in order to make scootering more practical. Cities such as New York, San Francisco, Portland and even our own campaign in my home town of San Jose are making the effort to make scooter parking readily available.

The Piaggio petition has some interesting points that are not addressed in our campaign such as requesting that there be sidewalk parking along with bicycles and creating a scalable fee structure for scooters. I'm not sure how well cities will go for the sidewalk aspect, but the reduced fees are a real possibility.

Scoot! will be publishing an article on the campaign for more scooter parking. If you are mounting a campaign in your area, let me know about it so we can follow it!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

James Cornell Fund

Last month Bay Area motorcyclist/scooterist James Cornell was gravely injured during his practice run at the Isle of Man. He has been in a medically induced coma and his family and friends are all waiting for him to regain consciousness.

Although you may not know James, you may have seen him in the Men's' Riding Gear feature we did in the Summer '06 issue. James works at Helimot European Accessories, a company that manufactures leather riding suits and gear. He is a vocal supporter of all riders wearing protective gear and he gave his time and expertise to help us put together our important gear article.

The Isle of Man race is notoriously dangerous. This year, several racers were critically injured. Two were killed. James and his racing partner were very aware of the dangers of the sport but love it and were proud to represent their club and the US in the race.

If you are interested in finding out more information or donating towards the mountain of medical bills that James will face
Visit the James Cornell Fund website.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Ride to Work- July 19

If you didn't know it, we're one month away from Ride to Work Day- a great time to take advantage of what two-wheel commuting can mean. I am lucky enough to work about 5 miles from my house, so my 10-15 minute commute is easy on city streets. While some may have a bit farther to go, I encourage all of you riders to do it. Even if you think it might be a stretch, give it a try. It may involve planning out an alternate route to avoid freeways. Maybe it means leaving a little earlier.Think of the gas you'lll save. Remember how fun riding can be, especially when you're leaving all the cars in the dust! To get more info on Ride to Work Day, Check out the Site.

Monday, June 12, 2006

San Jose Parking Update

Last week, Josh and I met with Bill (who put the SJ downtown parking petition online) and went to the City Council. Bill had already primed the Dept. of Transportation that we'd be there and the Director of the department was on hand to meet with us. Each of us addressed the council during the open forum section. Open forum speakers go in order of when their cards are received. We were sandwiched between 2 lunatics who ranted, which made us either look good in comparison, or else lumped us in with the weirdoes. Regardless, I think that the council was receptive.
Afterwards we meet with the director and he assured us that the ban on motorcycles in the city-managed parking garages was on its way to being reversed. In fact you can now park in the Coty Hall underground garage. He said they were fine-tuning the garage gate sensors and that all the garages would be within compliance shortly. Also, he said the new garage across from City Hall would have specific motorcycle parking spaces in it.

While I was pleased about that, I did tell him how important designated on-street parking for motorcycles is, especially for scooters who are smaller and more apt to be moved by motorists looking for parking, or backed into by oblivious drivers. I told him that I would like to present him with suggestions on places where we think motorcycle parking could be places without removing car spots.

So, I'm asking our fellow scooter/motorcycle riders to keep an eye out and send me an email with locations that you think could be turned into motorcycle parking. The red spot on Devine across from Germania by Trials is a given, but let's see what else we can come up with. How about So. 1st street? How about near the blank club? I want to go out & take photos and annotate a map to present to the DOT.

Thanks & happy scooting,

Monday, June 05, 2006

Scooter Charm Bracelet

Saw this online while shopping for a birthday present for my boyfriend. Not exactly his type of thing, but maybe you want to spend $89 on a special scooterist? Check it out at:

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Piaggio IPO

Looks like the relaxed Italians are making for a less timely IPO by Piaggio. This article in the UK's "The Business Online" has a story on it.

See It Here.