Monday, July 30, 2007

Scooter Ceramic Tile

This ceramic tile from Chicago-based Circa Ceramics has a real retro feel with its chartreuse, polka-dotted background and P-Series Vespa graphic. At $25 it is a little pricey to use to tile your bathroom, but makes for a nice trivet or a coffee cup coaster for your desk. A cool gift for yourself or for a friend.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Vectrix Electric Scooter Arrives in US

At Scoot!, we have been talking about the Vectrix electric scooter for a couple of years. It's great to finally see it come to fruition with its release this week.

For those who ride scooters for their environmental benefits and low operating costs, the Vectrix is right up their alley. Its NiMH battery pack is said to last up to 10 years with an annual mileage of 5,000. It also has an on board charger that can plug into standard 110/220V outlets and charge in two hours. The bike retails for $11,000 which means the it will take quite some time to offset the price of gas. But, with it's peppy acceleration (0-50 in 6.8 seconds) and a range of 40-60 miles per charge it may prove to be fun enough to put way more than the estimated 5K on it each year.

Scoot! co-publisher Mike Zorn got a chance to ride a Vectrix in Italy at the Milan show and was impressed. We look forward to giving it a thorough review in an upcoming issue.

Upcoming Vectrix events and appearances include:
July 28-29: Concours d’Elegance, Newport Mansions in Newport, R.I.
August 9: Vectrix Test Ride Event with British Motor Car Distributors LTD (BMC) in San Francisco.
August 11-12: Vectrix Test Ride Event with The Green Car Company in Seattle.
August 18: Vectrix Store Grand Opening in Newport, R.I.
August 25: 35th Annual Electric Car Rally & Show in Palo Alto, Calif.
September 28-29: AltWheels Alternative Transportation & Energy Festival in Boston

Friday, July 20, 2007

Scooterboys Terrorize Londoners

And Americans thought US scooter rally rides were annoying....

Dreaded scooter riders take over Selsdon

This article from is interesting in that I wonder how much of their complaints come from genuine Scooter Boy bad behavior and how much comes from misunderstanding.
"Only last week I was driving my car and they surrounded me, I was afraid of knocking one of them over. Then, one drove in front, took his hands off the bars and pulled down his trousers and showed me his bottom. I never knew how disturbed and shocked you can be by these gangs of scooter riders, I was very frightened by the whole experience."

If I was a motorist presented with a crowd of scooter boys, I'd let them pass and get on their way rather than stress myself out trying to drive along with them. As for a mooning from a goofy scooterist, I wouldn't be frightened, more grossed-out.

Maybe the Scooter Boys of Seldon should try a PR campaign to ease some of the resident's fears. Some basic education and some common courtesy ground rules could go a long way.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Motorscooters a "new menace"

Australia's Yahoo!Xtra is carrying a story about how Australian drivers consider motorscooter drivers to be a "new menace" on city streets. Australian insurance company AAMI reports that scooters have sold 20% higher this year than last and motorcycle sales have increased 36%. That likely means lots of new riders. According to the news story:
"The research also showed 78 per cent of NSW car drivers in the survey said they had seen motorcyclists breaking the law and taking unnecessary risks on the roads."

and we can guess where most of the problems occur:
"Quoting figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, AAMI said almost half of the 120,827 scooters and motorcycles registered in NSW last year are located in Sydney."

I'm inclined to believe the reports. I've been to some scooter rallies where newbie riders and their inability to keep a straight line, nonexistent turn signals and general lack of etiquette have almost ruined my rally experience.

We all know that in a car vs. scooter altercation, the scooter always comes out worse. So, how can Sydney work to create a more amicable balance between scooter riders and cars? Since I have never been to Australia, let alone ridden there I can speak definitively, but it is likely due to education. In the US, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's "Scooter School" is a good start. It is only offered in a few locations and doesn't qualify for insurance discounts, but it makes a difference in getting scooter riders in road-worthy shape.

Another point that I think helps in traffic is (and I know I'll hear arguments about this) allowing lane splitting. I think lane splitting enables motorcycles and scooters that ability to improve traffic flow by allowing them to get through traffic quicker. That being said, I only lane split when traffic is at a stop or 5mph or less. I think it is too dangerous at higher speeds, and it can actually cause problems for car drivers who get surprised by a motorcycle zooming past them. But, when done right, lane splitting can lets riders take advantage of space between cars that is not used and allows them to bypass traffic. I have no idea what Australia's rules are on lane splitting, but if it is allowed, and cars/scooter drivers are given education about how it works then traffic and compliance could improve.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ride to Work Day

Did you ride to work today? I did. Although my 5-mile commute isn't an endurance test, it did rain today (in California?!?) but I managed to miss it. Not only is it more fun to ride to work, it is a great way to conserve fuel, reduce emissions and take up less space overall. I even did some grocery shopping and loaded up a big canvas tote bag with goodies from Whole Foods for the week ahead. The oil change indicator on the SYM I am using is about to tell me that an oil change is imminent. I also need to learn how to add coolant as I am not used to new-fangled things such as water-cooling, disc brakes and gas gauges on a scooter! :)

I enjoyed the ride so much that instead of calling my chiropractor for an appointment, I just dropped by to say hello. If I had been in a car, I probably would have just called him from my cell.

Well, I'm rabling about things that aren't that significant, so let me just say that I am glad I rode to work today and hope you did, too.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Amerivespa: Seattle Here We Come!

The Scoot! crew is on the move! Josh is now in Taiwan and will be touring the SYM factory this week. Tomorrow I leave for a meandering trip to Seattle with a stop in Portland.On Thursday, Mike leaves with a bunch of Scoot! stuff in tow.

If you're going to be in Seattle for Amerivespa, please stop by our booth and introduce yourself. All 3 of us will be there and we'll have Scoot! swag for sale. But mostly we want to meet scooterists and chat scooters. We're donating a Qlink scooter for the raffle. Maybe you'll win it!

Since we'll be in Seattle this week, the Scoot! office is closed. All phone calls will be returned next week and orders processed once we get back.

Not sure what Amerivespa is? Well, checkout theAmerivespa website.

Friday, July 06, 2007

S.I.P's New Video Podcasts

S.I.P is one of the largest mail order sources for modern and vintage Vespa parts. They are also in the middle of the big scooter tuning movement in Germany. I just got word from Ralf at S.I.P that they have launched two new video podcasts that you can get for free over iTunes. For Vintage Vespa fans, there is a Vespa podcast and for modern scooter fans a Scooter podcast.

Subscribe via iTunes to get updates. Check out S.I.P for cool products.

New MotoKitty Skirt

For some, the Vespa GS is the epitome of Vespa style and beauty. Now, MotoKitty of Portland, OR has designed a skirt that pays tribute to it. According to MotoKitty owner, Cari Carter, "It's a nice a-line style skirt, with a little bit of swing to it."
The 95% cotton, 5% spandex "GS Skirt" comes in sizes S-XXL (0-16) and sells at her shop for $28. Shipping is $5.
Get it at MotoKitty...