Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Watertower @ Scoot! Office

The Scoot! office is located in an old cannery from the 30s. It still has its large watertower and a tall smoke stack from its past life. Now it hosts small industrial businesses downstairs and a bunch of kooky artists upstairs. Guess which floor we're on???

I took this photo with my phone as I left the office after our editorial meeting.

We even have our own building "drunk," a semi-homeless guy named Phil who used to be a punk rock star but now stops by to chat and watches over my scooter when it's parked outside.

It's an entertaining place to be!

Italjet Coming Back to the US?

A news report on Indian website statse that ihe Italjet Velocifero is poised for a comback with Kinetic of India at the helm.

Read the news article here

I have heard of several people who bought Italjets and have been unable to get parts because the original Italian company went under. UK scooterists still write into "Scootering" magazine about it.

While the Kinetic scooters aren't much on beauty, what is interesting is that if they make parts for the Italjet bikes that can work on the older bikes, it would really help out all of those Dragster and Velocifero owners out there. Additionally, the Dragster was a popular scooter,so it's rebirth may be welcome to those who love to tune and race.

What I did find funny was the suggestion that they could sell 10,000 Blaze scooters per month. However, the Chairman was quoted as saying that the bikes cost between $500-600, so maybe he is hoping to low-ball the competition. I hope that is for manufacturing, because I'm not too sure I would trust a bike that only cost that little at retail. I'll believe it when I see it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

ISO: Baron 150-VLA & Cushman Trailster owners

We're reviewing the Baron 150 VLA and I'd like to hear the opinions of fellow owners to see what they think of their scooter. If you've got one and want to forward along some honest comments that will help our readers, please send them to me.

We're also looking for Cushman Trailster owners. We'd like to do a historical article on the scooter & need bikes to photograph as well as original promo materials.

If you can help with either of these queries email me from my profile which you can access at the right of the blog.

Buffalo News Checks Out Scooters

I was quoted in an article about scooters in the Buffalo, NY area. Like many other news agencies, The Buffalo News is seeing a growing trend in scooter sales.

Read the article.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Know a scooter graduate?

Papyrus stores are now selling a card for graduates. The front has a graduate in gown riding a vintage Vespa with his/her cap blowing off. No head is visible, so you can give it to whomever you choose. The inner greeting says, "You're headed for a bright and happy future!" I picked this up at Papyrus for $2.95. Get yours now before they're gone.

You can find a Papyrus store at the company's website

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Low and Fast

Moike's sidecar moto

Our friend Moike from the Santa Cruz Vampires SMC brought his cool sidecar rig. He actually rides it on the street. It was a big attraction at the Moto Amore/Scoot! BBQ.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Mobile Snap

Friday night scooterists BBQ at Moto Amore scooter shop in San Jose. An ongoing event that Scoot! will co-sponsor.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

30% of Americans would consider scooting...

Yesterday, Piaggio USA issued a press release on a survey that they comissioned. The results were that "30% of U.S. consumers would be extremely or somewhat likely to consider using a motor scooter for their everyday transportation needs."

While I am a huge scooter fanatic, even I am surprised by the results. Maybe it's because after 10 years of hearing "Get a real motorcycle" called from cars and pedestrians I have a biased view of what Americans are inclined to think. Maybe there can be a survey to explain the poularity of Hummers and Escalades. I'm still lost on that one. :)

According to the press release,"The survey found other strong factors motivating consumer's willingness to consider utilizing a scooter, including environmental concerns and overall cost savings. The survey found that 33% of Americans would be likely to use a scooter to reduce emission harmful to the environment, 35% would be likely to use a scooter to save $25.00 a week on gasoline." This is also welcome news. I did an interview with the Buffalo New York News about scooters and I told the reporter to look at the many other factors besides gas; cheap insurance, easy parking, lesser impact on the environment etc. If you want to lessen the impact on your wallet, try a scooter!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Wearing a helmet?

I know that helmets are not required in all states, but I am saddened by a Las Vegas TV news piece and accompanying video that went with it. A man & his 4-year old grandchild were in a scooter accident. The grandfather was killed while the child was hospitalized. Both were not wearing helmets. Furthermore, the grandchild was sitting in front of the grandfather when the scooter went out of control and hit a fire hydrant.

Read & view the TV news report here.

These reports are real bummers for those of us who love scootering. While I encourage people to take up scootering as a fun hobby and mode of transportation, I am amazed by how careless some can be. Especiallly those who put so much thought into saving money on their scooters through bargain shopping but give helmets no consideration at all. I would wear a full-face helmet whether or not my state required it, just as I wear a seatbelt in the car.

As a child, I split my lip when a softball hit my face during a game. I can only imagine what would happen to my head if I fell over at 30mph. In 1991, when I did have a crash at about 25-30mph I had no head injury thanks to my helmet. Photos of it were published in the Fall '05 issue of Scoot! A scrape started about where my right cheek would be and continued up to the top of the helmet. The visor was so scratched you would not be able to see through it. That's hard plastic, so imagine what would have happened to the soft flesh of my face...Bleaagth! I landed with most of my weight on my shoulder which had layers of skin scraped off. I now have a pale scar on that shoulder. My freckles were scraped off and they are slowly but surely coming back 4 years later.

I've heard all of the excuses before. How helmets compromise some riders' sense of freedom, how they miss the wind in thier hair, how they won't let the government cramp their style. But I wonder, if you could survey all the helmetless people that died of head trauma in motorcycle crashes last year and ask them one question, "If you could go back and do that ride again, would you wear a helmet?" What do you think their answer would be?

For statistics on motorcycle crashes & head injury, take a look at the National Highway Traffics Safety Administration's site

Want your scooter in Scoot!?

I'm working on gathering scooters for our next issue's "Reader's Rides" which spotlights a well-done custom scooter. If you've got a scooter that draws "ooohs" and "aahs" from the crowd, we'd love to see it. Scoot! wants new and old scooters, vintage and modern twist-n-gos, the only requirement being that it reflects its owner and is done well. Stock scoots usually won't do (although it's not out of the question, especially with unusual vintage bikes). We want to see the owner's personality reflected in his/her scooter.

If you've got a bike you think should be seen in North America and the world, let us know. Here are some tips to help you get your bike in:

1) Submit lots of good photos: include details and keep in mind what's in the background. Look through your viewer for dead plants, garbage, stray body parts ans such tat detract from the bike. Do not submit night photos. Take your time to do a good job or get someone who is a good photographer to help you.

2) We accept prints or digital images. Digital images should be a minimum of 300dpi/ppi at actual size. The larger the file size the better. If we receive great photos, we're 3/4 of the way there!

3) Complete our questionnaire: you can download it from our site []. Without the questionnaire we won't run a Reader's Ride.

4) Make sure to include a photo of you: Headshot or one of you on the bike. We want to know who you are so we can congratulate you whe we see you next!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Rachel Ray & Peter Moore

Saw this in the store, today. Rachel Ray knows that scooting, especially on a vintage Vespa GS typifies the free-n-easy feeling of summer. Oddly enough, it is raining in San Jose, today. I hope my BBQ and ride tomorrow isn't ruined by the weather. I've got a rack of ribs & some drumsticks for the BBQ. Better cleanout the oven just in case...

On another note, you may recall the interview or Peter Moore & the review we ran of his book, "Vroom with a View" last year. Peter is in the US making appearances to promote the US printing. He's making a stop at THE book publishing event, the American Booksellers Association convention (I've been to it before and it is FUN) as well as smaller talks throughout the country. Here are his stops (which include some cool scooter shops, too):

Sunday May 21, 2 pm
Vespa DC, Washington DC
Ride/Talk and BBQ!

Monday May 22, 7 pm
McNally Robinson, New York

Saturday May 27, 1 pm
Vespa New Orleans

Tuesday May 30, 6.30 pm
Scooter Originali, Orange New Jersey

Wednesday May 31, 7.00 pm
Scomo, Richmond VA

Thursday June 1, 6.30 pm
Erico Motorsports, Denver Colorado

Thursday, May 18, 2006

San Jose Motorcycle Petition ONLINE

Just an FYI for anyone in the San Jose, CA area:

Motorcycle rider, Bill B. has created an online petition to get more motorcycle parking in downtown San Jose. At this time there are over 550 people signed on. If that doesn't work, then we'll take to the streets and have a park-in! I'm actually relishing the thought! If you are interested,

View and/or sign the petition here.

Bravo to Bill for getting it going online! I hope we can accomplish this big, yet totally reasonable goal! :)

Are you working on a similar cause in your town? We'll be covering it in an upcoming issue of Scoot! and we'd love to share as many different stories as possible.

Dealernews article

If you're a scooter dealer and have the May 2006 Dealernews magazine, you probably have seen their scooter insert. I was interviewed by Senior Editor, Dennis Johnson. I told him that while I was at the Indianapolis Motorcycle Show I spoke to dealers about how a shop's longevity relies on creating a community of scooterists. I spoke about this briefly in my 2/10 blog entry, but went into it more in depth with Dennis. He used some of my quotes in the article that appears in Dealernews.

While some shops grow out of a thriving community, I am seeing many new shops open that are not owned or helmed by scooterists. While there isn't anything wrong with that, it just means that these shops will need to create a community so that it keeps revolving business going. This is especially true when you get "newbie" scooterists who are buying scooters purely for economic or practical reasons. These scooter owners are usually alone, putting around the town on their own. But, if a shop intoduces them to other sccooterists and hosts scooter-centric events, it can invigorate their appreciation for scooting!

The Dealernews article also talks about catering to the unique needs of scooterists by stocking items that they actually want to carry. I mentioned that most scooter riders don't want to get off their scooters looking like they were going to race. Unortunately, the article makes it sound as if I said that scooterists wouldn't wear Joe Rocket or Alpinestars gear. However,I didn't mention those companies as such and I think that both companies have some clothing that is totally right-on for scooter riders. I wish scoooter riders bought clothing that was made for riding instead of repurposing street clothing for riding. BTW- in our current issue, you can find a nice example of those clothes as we have a men's riding gear spread.

At any rate, I'm glad to get some press for Scoot! to dealers who may not be aware of us. Additionally, if you are a dealer who wants to chat about what I'm talking about feel free to give me a jingle at our San Jose office: 408.294.4292.

Oh, I also forgot to mention: HOW ABOUT THIS WEATHER? AWESOME!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

NoHo Scooters on NPR

Congratulations to our friends at NoHo Scoooters for the NPR piece on scooters which exclusively used their shop. NPR is a great catch and says a lot about how scooters are making inroads to the nation's psyche.

Hear it here.

The piece talks abot the affordability and fuel-effficiency but mentions that you can only haul a few bags off groceries. I've been able to haul 2 people and 4 bags of groceries on my P200 with rear rack. It got me to thinking, why not ask readers to send in photos of their scooters packed with a safe bounty of items on it. In Asia, they haul a kid a wife, a bundle of bananas and a pig, why can't we do something similar? If you've got a good photo of your scooter loaded up with stuff, send it to me.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mag is in the mail

We dropped off the magazine at the post office today. If you are a subscriber, I'd love to know how long it takes for you to received the issue. We've really tried to improve the way we ship the magazine over the past few issues and I think we have the speediest service, yet. Some areas take longer than others depending upon the Area Distribution Center (ADC) that is nearest you, but all magazines should be received before Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Mag & Rally on same weekend

We just received the Summer issue from the printer. We should have subscriber's issues in the mail on Tuesday and shops should be getting their copies by the end of the week. Book stores should receive them the week after. When the magazine comes in, it is a flurry of activity. The mailing process for subscribers is complicated and takes all my concentration and brain power. I'll be spending a little time at the Vespa Club Los Gatos "Classico Moto Italia" rally this weekend, but much of the rest of the weekend means stuffing, labeling, fillng out forms and carrying lots of boxes and sacks. I'll post photos of the rally but spare you the photos of the mailing process! :)

If you aren't out on a ride now, go do it. The weather is great and the hills are alive with the smell of two-stroke!

Monday, May 01, 2006


Photo of Josh dyno testing his Vespa GT200 to see what all the additional whatzits we've had installed have done for it. To be seen in a future issue of Scoot!. Thanks to local motorcycle/scooter shop Moto Italiano in San Jose for letting us use their dyno and staff for our testing!