Monday, May 26, 2008

Share your scooter travel story....

Budget Travel magazine is asking folks to submit photos and info on their motorcycle/scooter travels. See below:
Do you have an amusing story about renting a motorbike on vacation, or advice on how to ride a motorbike safely? If we like your submission, we may run it alongside a story we're planning for the September issue on how to rent a motorbike overseas. We're also looking for photos of people riding motorbikes (or scooters) on vacation, so if you've got a good one, e-mail that to us, too. Please send all submissions to by June 15.

May be great for those who have scooted in other countries. Send in your info...time's a-wastin'

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Win a Vespa

ThisNext is an online service where people can share online finds with each other. The company is holding a mixer for their fans on June 6 and giving away a Vespa to celebrate. You can enter by joining ThisNext and recommending your own finds.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Scoot! Quiz....

Here's a quick quiz. Post your answer in the comments section, and the first 2 correct respondents will win a small prize. No new S models, sorry! Make sure to actually sign in; "anonymous" posts won't count. Here's the question:

How many different scooter models has Vespa produced?

Submit your answer by comment, now!

Monday, May 19, 2008

New Vespa GTS 300 Super

It's been quite a while since the word "Super" was used to self-describe a Vespa. Noe Piaggio has released the GTS 300, just in time to induce GTS250 owners to slap them selves on the head. I know people that bought the GT, then offloaded it for the GTS, and now I wonder how many of them will be pining for the 300?

The GTS 300 Super is the largest displacement Vespa ever produced. Vespa has seen that the consumers want updated styles that hearken back to the classic designs of the pa The Super has been redesigned and includes touches like the fender crest and new side grills on the side panels. They have also played with the color scheme on the front suspension cover (now red) and the analog instrument panels (black with white lettering) and some other touches. Gone is the "parking light" which was where the classic horn cover was. It is now an air intake.

The underseat storage holds 2 3/4 helmets and still can carry 9 liters (about 2.4 gallons)of fuel. Impressive.

The engine has also been redesigned:
The new GTS 300 Super is different from the GTS 250 because the new engine has a higher level of torque (22.3 Nm as opposed to 20.1) along with fewer revolutions per minute (5,000 rpm as opposed to 6,500 on the 250). On the road, these numbers translate into flexibility and pick-up from low speeds that are unequaled in this displacement category.

Pretty fancy, eh?

Piaggio USA PR says that it is NOT coming to the US. But that just seems stupid....

Spottd on Flikr

I have a Flikr slideshow feed that runs in the top right of this blog. It runs photos that are tagged on Flikr for scooters. It's fun to see what photos come up and the one below struck my fancy.

Looking at it, I can almost smell the two-stroke, hear the ratt-tatt-tatt of the engines and feel the excitement of riding in a big group of scooterists. There have been many times when I was in the midst of a ride and wished I could dig out my camera and take a shot from inside the group so that I could remember what it was like.

This photo:

I took at a rally in San Francisco maybe 4 or 5 years ago. I was trying to get a photo of everyone climbing a hill, something that the city is famous for. Can you imagine a horse pulling a cart up there? But it was hard to pull over at the right time and fumble with my camera. It came out OK but doesn't quite capture my awe.

Got any cool rally photos to submit? Send 'em in. High-res versions may make it into the magazine.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Jade from Ithaca, NY emailed me about Etchstar a company that does custom etching on electronics such as iPods, iPhones and laptops. She found 2 scooter graphics that you could have etched on your own device. I've heard of monogramming and having one's one name on an item, but Etchstar's illustrations are pretty impressive.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Funny- Slightly SR

This is a funny commercial AND there is a scooter in it, so I don't feel guilty posting it.

"Ride, monkey ride upon your mystery dog
Be amazed at the tacos you delivered on your trip!
Ride monkey ride upon your mystery dog
On your way to a food that homebodies might have missed!"

Oh, that was just horrible!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

San Francisco Scooter Sightings

Scooters I saw near a park.

Board for a cafe on Rich Street near the train station and a few blocks from the ballpark. Owned by a Lambrettisti, of course. Who else would call it "Cento"?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pixar Trip

The past few weeks have been very busy. One cool thing that I got to do (sandwiched between all the boring stuff) was to visit Pixar's offices in Emeryville, CA. And while Pixar may not be scooter-related, I did spot a Messerschmidt in their lobby which is a nod to their film Cars. I snapped a photo, but didn't even try to get in the little car. I also snapped a few others.

The Pixar Lamp is BIG!

A cool bench idea for the upcoming WALL*E film!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

After my recent post about how to make cars more aware of two-wheeled vehicles, it's fitting that May should be Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The href="">Motorcycle Safety Foundation sent out a press release with suggestions on how riders can work to improve their riding abilities and make riding safer. It also had a couple of suggestions on how to impress upon car drivers the importance of being aware of motorcycles.

One suggestion that I thought was novel was to actually give someone a first ride on the back of a motorcycle/scooter. This gives them the perspective of what it is like to be a rider on the road. Of course, I first thought it was preaching to the converted, but then I thought better of that assumption. While my family & friends are aware of my scootering experiences and hear my stories of being a rider, those that have never ridden may not appreciate the inherent danger of being a two-wheel rider in a four-wheel world. I think I'll give it a try this month!

Another god suggestion would be to create an event where you screen a safety video and invite motorists to attend. The MSF has videos that you can buy. Perhaps have an event at a local restaurant or coffee house where your scooter club invites motorists to see the video, discuss safety and have some refreshments. It would be a perfect club activity to promote road safety.
Check out this video clip from the MSF's "For Car Drivers" site.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

How do we make car drivers aware?

I'm not one to get all uppity and self-righteous about cars vs. scooter as modes of transport. I often hear scooterists speaking with disdain about "cagers" as if driving a car was some sort of a crime. I own a car. I love my car, but I also love my scooters. So, for me it's not an either or, it's a case of what is appropriate for the situation and my mood.

This post comes from someone who drives both a scooter and car. When I drive and I see a motorcycle coming up behind me to split lanes, I move over in my lane to give the bike more room. When I see a group of scooters/motorcycles, I let them pass so that they can go on their way and I can go on mine. Also, when I ride my scooter, I do what I can to be mindful of the cars around me. I do whatever I can to make sure that they see me. I try to anticipate what they will do in order to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

So, it really upsets me to read so many news items of scooterists being seriously injured or killed by accidents with cars. When Josh had his accident in March, there was no chance against the car that came head-on into his lane. Any scooterists that has been scooting for an extended period of time knows the typical accidents:
* a car going in the opposite direction turning left in front of you especially at an intersection or when pulling into a driveway
* a car next to you changing lanes into your lane
* a car pulling out of a driveway

So my question is, how do we make cars more aware of scooters and motorcycles? How do we as regular folks make car drivers look for two-wheeled vehicles when they drive? I can't do that much with Scoot! as I'm preaching to the choir in the magazine. I have a few suggestions, but would love to hear what you think:

1) write letters to local newspaper editors about the need for cars to be aware of two-wheeled vehicles

2) Ask local news outlets (TV, radio, print) to cover motorcycle visibility, especially when a local rider is injured. News outlets focus on timely news, so such a local angle would make it a more compelling story.

3) Grassroots local efforts. If you belong to a scooter club, perhaps you can create a local campaign to increase awareness. Hook up with a local motorcycle club and have an event where you encourage car driver to be aware. Maybe appear in a parade and hand out fliers to increase awareness.

4) Put motorcycle awareness bumper stickers on your car to get folks in that element.

Got any other ideas on what we can do to increase awareness?

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Scooter Rosa & CMI

This weekend is a great one for riding. There are 2 big events in my area: Classico Moto Italia and Scooter Rosa. Well, Scooter Rosa is a couple of hours north of me, but it is still do-able for the weekend.
Classico Moto Italia is put on by Vespa Club Los Gatos (I'm a past member) and is a celebration of the timeless Vespa. This event has been going on for years, and brings out some beautiful scooters. Last night was a party at a tiki bar in downtown San Jose, just 4 blocks away from where The Sharks fought to stay in the NHL playoffs. Today is a ride & a show-n-shine followed by another ride, bowling and a party. Get your scoot on!

Scooter Rosa is a weekend fest thrown by the super-cool folks at Revolution Moto in Santa Rosa, CA. Josh went last year and had a blast. They make it a community-wide event where all of Santa Rosa can participate. They have a drive-in movie, street fest and more. The local paper made a video to promote the fest:
Check it out

Friday, May 02, 2008

International Female Ride Day- TODAY

International Female Ride Day is in its second year. It's fairly simple, juts like other Ride to Work Days, all the organizers ask is for women to ride their motorcycles/scooters. I can get behind that! I have to go to San Francisco, and riding the pocked, grooved freeways for 50 miles isn't my idea of a relaxing ride. However, I will be riding to the train station, and ' rally Classico Moto Italia starts tonight, so I'll be doing a lot more raiding afterwards.

From the site....
International Female Ride Day a synchronized day worldwide where women motorcycle riders "JUST RIDE" -- demonstrating their enjoyment and in most cases, passion for motorcycle riding. The campaign was created with the aim of highlighting the number of women who ride and building female rider awareness -- encouraging other women to take up the activity. The event places a spotlight on the female rider and celebrates the countless numbers who do--riders new to the activity or those who have had the pleasure all their lives!

Introduced last year, FEMALE RIDE DAYS' first step was as a National event with the intention to build globally. The success in 2007 made it easy in 2008 to move on to making it International!

And it was the women who participated that made this an easy transition--female riders and clubs throughout North America and Europe spontaneously joined in upon news of the campaign. As each year goes by FEMALE RIDE DAY will without a doubt continue to expand; enjoyed by more and more women worldwide as they claim the day and become involved in one of the greatest pleasures in life—motorcycling.
FEMALE RIDE DAY is for women who ride motorcycles no matter what form, or style--no matter the age, or experience. Motorcycles of all makes and capacities–scooters, sport bikes, dirt bikes or ATV’s.

The campaign’s slogan of "JUST RIDE" is a simple request of women riders and is by this method female rider awareness is created and enjoyed. It's concept is not attached to a charity, nor is it a fundraiser or for that fact, a controlled event--riders are free to make the day entirely as they so wish. Women are invited to join in, enjoy the camaraderie Internationally and be on their motorcycle on the first Friday each May -- Friday 2 May 2008.