Thursday, May 31, 2007

Funky Scooter Fonts

I've always had a thing for fonts since I dated a typographer in the waaay back. The inspired use of fonts can make a page come to life. If you are a scooter fanatic, you may enjoy the fonts I've got in this entry.

I found this Lambretta-inspired font pack at Chank an online font foundry. I've been a big fan of their free fonts, but this font pack is quite affordable at $39. While it is probably best for headings or titles, it can jazz up invitations, posters and the like. May be great for patch design or rally fliers.

If you are interested in getting the font that is used on the Vespa Primavera, you can download it from

Solar Powered Scooter

Have you heard about the Solar Scooter? No joke, Don Dunklee has developed a way to charge his electric scooter by solar power and he has created an instructional that you can download on how to do it. According to his guide:
"The basic bike is a stock EVT 4000E available from various dealers around the U.S. The rest of the system consists of a Xantrex (formerly Trace) C-40 charge controller, and 4 Atlantic Solar 30 watt, 16 X 25 inch panels mounted two to a side. The panels fold open while in charging mode and are closed while driving. Mounting hardware is basic off the shelf parts available from any hardware store."

The result is something a little hokey-looking but useful and very affordable for Don's commute to work.

Check out Don's Solar Scooter at Build It Solar.

Monday, May 28, 2007

New Scoot! T-Shirt

We've got a new t-shirt that should go into production in the next couple of weeks. Designed by Spanish artist, Charuca, for our Scooter Art issue, it is a vibrant, sexy illustration likely to get scooter boys and girls excited to get dressed in the morning. Because many of our past graphic Ts have sold out quickly, we're trying a pre-order system this time. You can go to our website & place a pre-order which will not charge your card until we are ready to ship the shirt. This will help us order a more appropriate quantity. The shirt comes in both
a women's version and a men's version so make sure to order the right one.
Note: the Scoot! logo will not appear on the shirt, just in the online logo.

If you have any feedback on the shirt or suggestions on what sort of clothing or lifestyle items you would like Scoot! to offer, let me know. We aim to please...:)

Also, if you want to get a look at Charuca's other work, visit her website.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

It's true...

The rumors on the board are true. We've got 'em and we're putting them through their paces. Look to the August issue of Scoot! for a full review.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Favorite Internet Radio Station

Lots of my time is spent in a dark room in front of a computer working on Scoot! content. It's made much better by Internet radio, my favorite station: KinkFM out of the Netherlands. Damned if I can understand about 5% of what they are saying (they pepper their speech with English terms now & again), but they play some excellent music. Luckily, can get a great connection via iTunes. Kink has exposed me to some great, diverse music like Pete Philly and Perquisite, Electrelane, Vive la Fete and many more bands that I have had a hard time finding in the states. Often, I hear of bands on Kink way before they make it to the US and most of them will never make it to the boring and unimaginative US broadcast radio.

This afternoon, as I was finishing up some articles, I was listening to DJ Dr. Ska who was playing some great classic and contemporary ska as well as some vintage soul. I was so enthralled, I had to send him a congratulatory email. Not 5 minutes later, he gave me a shout out! I may have never made it to the Holland, but some late night Netherlanders have heard my name!
Give them a listen!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sydney getting on board

I happened upon an article about Sydney, Australia's push to make the city more scooter friendly to reduce congestion and improve the environment. The movement is part of an overall transportation strategy that is also encouraging walking, public transport and bicycling as alternatives to using cars.

As I've said in the past, pro-scooter planning should be a part of responsible city planning. In my city, we're working to address more scooter parking in congested areas. I am currently working on an article for the August issue of which discusses what has been done in cities such as San Jose and Portland, OR. I've sent and email to the Mayor of Sydney to offer some suggestions and to request an email interview. We'll see what comes of it.
Read the Daily Telegraph's article.

Scoot! Magazine Isue #40 Now Available

I've been so busy working on the next issue that I completely forgot to mention that the Summer issue is now available. We've brought back the Scooter Art issue and have some cool submissions from all over the world. We've also got our review of the Piaggio MP3. Find out what we think about this eye-catching three wheeler. Our "Ladies Love Cool Scoots" article will introduce you to all-female scooter clubs from around the US along with some tips on starting your own club. We've also got the scoop on Grammy Award-winning rock group Audio Adrenaline and their recent tour which included a fleet of Honda Ruckuses. Have you seen the Gymboree "When in Rome" baby clothes line? Check it out in the Scooter Collector. There's a lot more in this issue, so check it out at the Scoot! webiste.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Ride to Work Day- July 16

I just helped out with the annual Bike to Work day by hosting an Energizer Station for bicyclists. It got me thinking about the upcoming Ride to Work Day for motorcyclists/scooterists. Considering gas might be at a high point during the midsts of summer, I think this is a great opportunity to highlight the benefits of riding scooters. We can take a lesson from Bike to Work in that they make it a fun and supportive event. The energizer stations have literature, maps, and rider support information, as well as tasty snacks. It supports community and makes people feel welcome to something they don't often do. While Ride to Work doesn't quite have that infrastructure, I think it would be great if we could do something similar in tons across the US.

How can you encourage scooters & motorcycles to commute on RTW Day? Here's some ideas:

Contact local scooter & motorcycle shops to see if they would host a stop. Most people commute in the early morning hours, so it may be a tough sell to get the store to be available from 6-9am, but its worth it.

Get a local grocery store on board to supply the snacks. I know from experience that Whole Foods Markets are pro-alternative transport and you may be able to get them to help out.

Contact the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and see if they can send you information on safe riding, helmet fitting etc.

Find local clubs that may be interested in manning the booth to promote their clubs or perhaps just leave information on their club.

Send a press release to the local news about the event and list any stations that you have. Do this at least 4 weeks in advance for newspapers and 2 weeks in advance for broadcast outlets.

Get sponsors to donate product for a raffle. Get participants to sign up and then add them to an email list (with their permission of course) to keep them updated on future events.

If you decide to try a Ride to Work day in you area let me know how it goes.

Friday, May 18, 2007

AMSOIL Releases New 4-Stroke Oil

According to a new press release, AMSOIL is offering a new oil for four-stroke scooters:

"New AMSOIL 10W-40 Formula 4-Stroke Synthetic Scooter Oil is formulated specifically to meet the special needs of today’s high tech air-and water-cooled four-stroke motorized scooters, offering unsurpassed wear protection and friction reduction for longer equipment life and cooler operating temperatures. Its exceptional shear stability ensures consistent viscosity protection and provides additional protection for transmissions and gear boxes, while its friction modifier-free formulation ensures wet clutch compatibility and smooth clutch operating. A special anti-corrosion additive package provides long-term protection during periods of inactivity and storage.

AMSOIL 10W-40 Formula 4-Stroke Synthetic Scooter Oil is recommended for air-and water-cooled four-stroke motorized scooter engines calling for a 10W-40 viscosity, as well as transmissions and gear boxes calling for a 10W-40 motor oil, including Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, Vespa, Aprilia, Piaggio, Benelli, Vento, Kymco, Tank and TGB.

Benefits of AMSOIL Formula 4-Stroke Scooter Oil include:
· Superior Wear Protection
· Cool Engine Operation
· Controls Lubricant Foaming
· Exceptional Shear Stability
· Reduced Oil Consumption and Deposit Formation
· Excellent Protection in Temperature Extremes
· Improved Fuel Economy
· Wet Clutch Compatible
· Long-Term Protection Against Rust and Corrosion

Available in quarts and cases."

[According to AMSOIL: MSRP = $6.20 / quart, $73.20 / case]

View the AMSOIL website

Monday, May 14, 2007

Amusing story of scooting in India...

I ran into this story on the web. It's from a journalist with the Hindustan Times who took a two-person journey by scooter. It's a quick, fun read. Enjoy!

Read The Motor Scooter Diaries by Neha Dara.

P.S: Look to the July issue of Scoot! for another cool story of scooting in India.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Vespa PR Machine Gears Up For Summer

A recent press release by Piaggio USA is once again playing on high gas prices, the relative affordability of scooters, and the concern over automobile's part in global warming to sell scooters. While this may seem like no news to us scooter riders, these press releases aren't geared towards us. As much as we can say that scooter sales have been growing, they still are just a small part of the automotive market. The fact that Hummers still sell means that us Americans just don't get that our over-the-top lifestyle is at the expense of the environment and the world. It is for those people (especially the city-dwellers) that these releases are sent out. Piaggio is the big kid on the block so they take the lead. I wish other scooter manufacturers would get in on the action and make more noise, but for now, we'll be glad that someone is spending the big bucks to get the message out. Now, if only we could convince Piaggio/Vespa US to get their website to reflect these pushes as well...

Read the press release.

See Europe by Scooter

European automobile rental service Auto Europe has begun renting Vespa LX125s in Rome, Florance, Venice and Milan, and Yamaha Majesty 125s in Paris, Marseilles, Nice and Cannes. I don't know much about French drivers, but from what I've heard about Italian traffic, the company should also sell health and accident insurance policies. :) Although it does sound like a blast to join the Italians on Italian scooters in Italy. Ah, when in Rome...
Check out Auto Europe's scooter specials.

Also in the news, the Fine Living Channel has included the Italy by Vespa tour on their Great Adventure series. They took a tour that explored Siena and stayed in all sorts of posh places. A week tour costs over $3,000 per person but is supposed to be luxurious and well executed. They say participants can even keep the helmets they used during the trip.
Check out Fine Living's page on the show. or go straight to the Italy by Vespa website.