Thursday, June 26, 2008

Scooter Books

I've received a few scooter books that we'll review in some upcoming issues. It got me thinking about what sort of books *haven't* been published for scooters. There are general introductions like the Idiot's Guide, and the Scooter Bible. There are maintenance manuals like Haynes & the Lambretta book. There are a few novels about scooter travel. I did an Listmania list a few years ago with some books in it.

What's missing? What type of books would you like to see published on scooters? I'm interested in hearing what (if any) aspects of scootering you think may be ignored.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What's the oddest thing you've found in your carb/fuel line?

My housemate had a pine needle tip in her carb which was creating running problems in her Lambretta. It reminded me about when we found a small brown moth stuffed into the cone fuel filter on my Vespa VBB. Good thing I had that fuel filter!

I posed this questions on the ScooterBBS and got some funny responses including dog hair, glass beads and shop towel fibers. Got anything stranger to share?

Monday, June 23, 2008

James McEvoy trades in motorcycle for scooter

Well, his reasoning may be kinda lame, but I like James McEvoy, so I'll accept him on our team:
FILM star James McAvoy has traded in his motorbike for a scooter after an encounter with a road bully.

The 29-year-old Scot fell off his red Hyosung bike after a car driver revving his engine made him nervous.

The Last King of Scotland star said: "I was lost and stopped at traffic lights.

"There was this guy looking at my shiny, red bike and he kept thinking, 'I'm going to make him race.'

"I just got terrified and very meek and thought, 'I need to get out of this guy's way.'

"I was basically intimidated into coming off my bike.

"It was someone else's fault entirely, as these things always are."

James added: "It was kind of scary, so I've gone back to just having a little scooter now. That's so much safer for me."

Source: Fiona Young, The Sunday Mail

West Coast Lambretta Works: Same Coast New Latitude

Many of you have already heard that West Coast Lambretta works is moving from San Diego to San Francisco this month. According to Guillermo's email:
With Jenny in-tow, we will be leaving Guillermo's home town of San Diego for the great city by the bay! We have been wanting to move there ever since Mary left in 2004, and now the opportunity has presented itself. But this is not just great news for our personal lives; it's great news for the shop as well!

With an amazing 3000 sq. foot space in the Mission District, we intend to give LW an extreme make over- shop edition! This is a long time in the making and we are excited to allow our shop to completely flourish under new skies. Guillermo will soon be out of the shop most week day mornings, so Mary and Jenny along with a highly experienced part time mechanic (name TBA) will be operating the business with a greater focus on mail-order efficiency and walk in support. We will still take repair and restoration jobs and will be allowed to offer faster turn around time on these jobs as well! don't worry, Guillermo and his 25 years of 2-stroke knowledge aren't going far! He will remain in constant touch via email and will be at the shop in the afternoons and weekends approving all work done in the shop, answering tech inquiries, and wrenching as well.

As the new owners of an old business, we have been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to give LW a real positive overhaul. We have been working with the creator of our website for some time now to come up with the best improvements and upgrades so that your experience can be exciting and new each time you visit

There are quite a few Lambrettisti up here in the Bay Area, but I'm not sure how it compares with the San Diego area. Lots of folks are excited about it, especially my Lambretta-loving boyfriend, Jon. Best of luck to the WCLW crew. A grand opening party is slated for July 5th. West Coast Lambretta Works' new location is at 3265 17th Street, San Francisco CA 94110
Check it out:

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R. Black Scooterist Fave signing his book

R. Black is not only a kick-ass artist, he is also a scooterist. His work has appeared all over including Scoot! Magazine. See some examples, here. He recently published a book of his art called, Futura. He's embarking on a scooter/book tour and one of his stops is at my local Vespa Dealer, San Jose Vespa. If you are able to make it to one of his events, tell him that Scoot! sent you. ;)

From the press release about his trip:
This summer Futura artist R. Black, equipped with only a backpack of books, a pocket full of Sharpies, and a small ration of food, will wind his way down California�s historic Highway 1 on his 1979 Vespa. Making stops at scooter shops, record stores, and comic-book stores along the way before attending the San Diego Comic-Con, Black will engage fans about rock 'n' roll art and the many benefits of scooters in today's world of high gas prices.

Although a set date is yet to be determined, R. Black, along with Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli, will attempt to jump over a pool of sharks in San Diego Bay before attending a rally at Arthur's Drive-In, where Joanie Cunningham and Chachi plan to wed. If, for whatever reason, fictional or otherwise, the shark-jumping event cannot take place, fans are encouraged to catch Black at the Dark Horse booth during San Diego Comic-Con.

Known for his sharp design and sleek eroticism, Black has created posters for some of the world�s hottest bands from Bauhaus to Elvis Costello to The Black Keys. Dark Horse Books was proud to release L� Art de R. Black: Futura in January 2008, which features over 100 pages of stunning, full-color images. Starting in Oakland on July 12, Black has offered to share the road with any scooter or art enthusiasts who wish to accompany him down Highway 1. To arrange a ride along with Black, fans are encouraged to send a message to Dark Horse Comics on MySpace ( where a complete list of stops and times will be available. As well, Black will be updating his progress along the way on the Dark Horse MySpace.

For those who don't know, R. Black hails from a sleepy, backwater border town called San Diego. After drifting around Japan for a couple of years attached to a small outfit called the United States Air Force he decided to call it quits and get a real job. So, he returned home and became an artist. Black got his start in 2000 doing club fliers and rock posters for his friends and their bands. After years of hard work, he achieved both a paycheck and national attention through word of mouth and strong followings in the subcultures of goth, industrial, fetish, mod, and punk. He has created posters for bands such as Ministry, Misfits, Blondie, My Morning Jacket, Billy Idol and many, many more. R. Black currently resides in Oakland where he recently finished a line of work for the prestigious Berkley Shotgun Players 2008 Season.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Scooter Collector items

I've been super busy since I got back from New York. So, I'm a little backed up on posts. Wanted to share a few Scooter Collector items that I found on my travels.

This super-cute t-shirt was spotted at the Ben Sherman store in SoHo, NYC, but you can get them at the site right now for $19.99. And look at the cute 'lil hooligans they have in the kids section.

If I had kids I would dress them like the Little Rascals and in Ben Sherman stuff. None of that baggy pants--underwear hanging out crud.

Jon discovered this scooter model at a flea market for $15. Often you see these with clocks in one of the cowls, but this just had a shiny glass crystal. Not compelling enough to buy, but good enough for an iPhone pic.

I got a sneak peek at this Paul Frank matching game that has some tiles with scooters in them (I think there are 2 different scooter images). Go Paul Frank...still representing!

Also spotted this card at Hallmark.

Not my cup of tea. Not into the style and it played the song "Perfect Day" by Hoku which means noting to me. Who is Hoku?

I did buy 2 copies of this card which has a girl on a scooter mounted on a spring so that she =boings= around. Inside it says, "Can't wait to see where next year takes you. Happy Birthday." Cute for the scooter gal in your life. $2.99

Got any cool scooter collectibles? Message me to let me know!

Now Listening to: "Root Down" by the Beastie Boys

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ne-Yo's Closer Sports Rude Boy Style

I'm not a fan of Ne-Yo, not meaning that I don't like him, I just don't know his music. But his recent video for the song, Closer must have been styled by someone who had a penchant for the 60's Rude Boy look. Ne-Yo is sporting some very stylish duds that look straight outta The Face's closet.

I wish more men dressed like this nowadays. So stylish and sexy. Hey, that might be the first time I used "sexy" in my blog!

Oh the one drawback is that he's pushing a motorcycle. He really should be pushing a Lambretta.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I'm interviewed in San Jose Mercury News

Several years ago, before I was Scoot!'s editor, I was interviewed about scooters by Matt Nauman of the San Jose Mercury News. I've kept in touch with him since then and have been bugging him (gently) to do another scooter story. So the Merc decided that scooters were a big story and Matt contacted me for an interview. You can read it here. Photo by David M. Barreda from the article.

My groovy Yahoo! scooter avatar

Yahoo! Avatars

Although I'm thinner & cuter online...Thanks, Yahoo!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Interesting article about crashing

I came across this article about why Patriot-News writer Jerry Dubbs no longer rides a scooter. He had a crash that put him off of riding for good.

When reading the headline, "Ex-scooter rider remembers thrill" I immediately thought that it was going to be a story about an inexperienced rider who got gun-shy after a spill, which, I guess it kind of is. Although after reading it, I felt bad for being so judgmental before I had a chance to read it. I gotta stop doing that...

I hear stories about people who ride and then have an accident and can't get past it. When I had my accident, I wondered if I would be one of those people. Would I be too scared to get back on? Would I be too paranoid to enjoy the ride?

Luckily, I wasn't. It helped that the circumstances of my accident were so odd that it was unlikely to be duplicated. But I also think that I had a few things going for me:

1) I was young, so I was able to bounce back relatively quickly
2) My injuries weren't serious. Painful as heck and I could barely drive, climb stairs, or raise my right arm up for more than 2 seconds, but they didn't require hospitalization or anything other than gauze, ibuprofen and time to heal.

3) I was surrounded by folks who had it a lot worse in the past. My boyfriend had broken his pelvis and had to re-learn to walk when he had his accident. Tony V had been in a coma from his accident. If they could ride again, it gave me inspiration to get back on.

3) I realized my mistakes. The accident wasn't my fault, but there were things that I could have done to mitigate the damage. Wearing better gear, remembering to put my gloves back on after a stop to the ATM. My injuries would have been much less had I prepared appropriately.

4) Knowing what I did right. I was glad that I wore a full-face helmet. I was pleased that I didn't put my hands out in front of me as I fell. I was calm enough during the accident to know that I should just ride it out and not panic.

So, I can see why I was able to bounce back. Jerry Dubbs mentions growing up in the late 50s & early 60s, which puts him more in my mom's demographic than in mine. I wonder if he rode with others who encouraged him to get back on a scooter? Ultimately, it boils down to this: it's a personal choice. Some people choose to get back on the scooter, others don't. Riding a scooter, motorcycle, horse, bicycle can be dangerous. How we deal with accidents is personal. At least Jerry didn't forget the good parts of his time as a scooterist.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Scoot! in Paris...

I just saw this photo on MySpace. How cool is that? I may never have been to Paris, but my magazine's sweatshirt has!

super cool!

Buying new scooter?

If you haven't seen our new Buyer's Guide you are missing out on some great info on over 120 scooters that are available in the US right now. May people have said that the intro to our Guide is helpful, so I'll reprint some of the info from the introduction. Remember, you should put as much thought into buying a scooter as you do a car. Do you research and find the right one for you. :)

Finding the right scooter to fill your needs

There are many considerations when buying a scooter, the two biggest are usage and your budget. There is a big difference in the type of scooter based on typical use: in the neighborhood, cross-town, inter-town travel, or even weekend warrior activities such as day trips or jaunts into the country.
Below is a list of common displacements, typical top speeds with some notes.

50cc: 30-40 mph Useful for around the neighborhood, small errands on residential streets. Not recommended for passengers.

125cc: 45-60 mph Cross-town, casual weekend excursions, light passengers on flat terrain for short distances.

150cc: 55-65 mph Acceptable for inter-town travel, good for weekend trips not involving extended high-speed periods. Suitable for a passenger.

200cc: 70-80 mph Great for inter-town travel, and weekend trips. Suitable for most freeways. Does well with passenger on hills.

400cc or higher:
80-100 mph Long-distance touring, designed with passenger in mind.

Going with the flow of traffic is very important. You shouldn't feel as if you are holding up traffic or that you just can't get to where you are going in a timely fashion. Other considerations include fit for your body type, cost of ownership,

Don't forget about how a bike feels beneath you. You should be able to touch the ground and feel in control of the scooter's weight. Some scooters get better gas mileage than others. If gas mileage is of utmost importance, a smaller displacement scooter will sip gas, yet all scooters get far better gas mileage than even most hybrid cars. Keep all of these considerations in mind so that you can find the that scooter that is right for you.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Things I would be glad to never hear again...

* The term "ride it like you stole it." Most people who say that actually don't do as they say, and if they did, they would be the most annoying people to ride with.

* Newspaper articles by obviously non-scootering journalist who start out with the Audrey Hepburn/Gregry Peck Roman Holiday reference. It's the tell-tale sign of someone who used the Piaggio press kit too much for their article. Think I'm joking? Search for "audrey hepburn" and "vespa" in Google's News search and you'll get over 10 pages of tired results.

* Media coverage that talks about scooters as a solution to high gas prices, but totally ignores the many other cost-saving aspect; AND offers no information on what to look for when buying a scooter.

* Non-scooter people calling my scooter a moped. It's OK if a scooterists does it, though. That's kinda cute... : )

* Prospective scooter dealers that ask, "What is the cheapest scooter I can sell?" Buddy, you're asking the wrong gal. That person is only in it for the perceived money, not the scooters. They'll end up carrying some cheap crud for a while and angering lots of unsatisfied customers. No thanks...

Friday, June 13, 2008

In New York

I've been in New York since Wednesday. Had a little time to hang out with local scooterists. I met up with some folks at the Brass Monkey which is in the meat packing district. In the photo to the left, there's Scott from Vespa Soho, Alan, me and Vinny. Alan had a spare helmet so he gave me a ride around the city. He took me to a restaurant called Lucha Libre where I had a flavorful, juicy taco and a roasted corn on the cob with cheese & spices. There were so many people hanging out at this place, which had probably been a street-corner diner in the past. I took a photo of Alan eating one of the cobs. We then rode around the city a bit and then went to the punk-rock bar The Double Down where we had some Ass Juice, their signature drink. Hopefully no asses were injured or compromised in the making of the drink.

We ended up driving around during the wee hours and it was fun to be riding around with only taxis circling looking for drunk fares.

The next night, I met up with Marty who used to live in San Francisco, but now lives in Brooklyn.

In the time that I've been here, I've seen many more scooters on the streets than the last 2 times that I came (which was about 6-7 years ago). I spoke to some scooter folks that I saw on the streets. I gather that lane splitting isn't legal, but widely practiced. I'd be splitting lanes if I had to be in this type of traffic! I took a cab somewhere because I was running late & didn't have time to figure out the subway. It took about 20 minutes to go about 2 miles. I haven't seen any mass moto parking anywhere, like in San Francisco, but I have seen scooters parked on some sidewalks and curbed.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Duffy's "Mercy" get's all Northern Soul

Duffy's new Mercy video will inspire a resurgence in Northern Soul style dancing...

Ride to Work--- July 16

With gas prices going through the roof, this year's Ride to Work is of even more importance. Many ride to work for pleasure, for ease of commute, for better parking. This year, we're seeing more and more people riding for fuel economy. Welcome them into the fold of two-wheels. ;)

While I take the train to work, I will be riding to the train station. More and more folks are taking public transportation which puts a strain on the parking lots for trains, light rails and such. I can park my scooter in small nooks in the lot and arrive later than I would if I had to drive. Overall, I'll be doing my part to reduce congestion, pollution while increasing the pleasure of the commute. Join me!

If you've never ridden to work before, take July 16th as a chance to try it for yourself. And if you want to enlist others to join you, go to the Ride to Work site and get more info on how to make it more of an event in your area.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Subway + Get Smart Contest

Another movie/scooter tie-in:
Secret agents in search of fresh fare and the ideal getaway
ride can receive a free $5 SUBWAY(R) card with a test drive or product
demonstration at all Vespa dealers. Participants in SUBWAY(R) restaurant's
Get Smart Eat Fresh Instant Win Game and Sweepstakes will receive a message
to take advantage of a special offer to receive a free Vespa Soft-Touch
helmet, a $300-value, with the purchase of a new Vespa scooter. The online,
print and in-store promotions run June 2 through August 10, 2008 at all
Vespa dealers and more than 21,500 SUBWAY(R) restaurants in the U.S.

addition to potentially winning a Vespa GTS or LX 50 scooter via SUBWAY(R)
restaurant's Get Smart, Eat Fresh Instant Win Game and Sweepstakes, amateur
agents are also invited to follow the links to print out a coupon good for
one of the latest Vespa Soft Touch or Piaggio Copter helmets, available free
of charge with the purchase of a new Vespa scooter. SUBWAY(R) restaurant's
Instant Win Game and Sweepstakes details are a click away at
, via a special movie-themed microsite. Even if you
don't play the Instant Win Game, all consumers over the age of 18 are
invited to visit a Vespa dealer to receive a free $5 SUBWAY(R) card,
available with a Vespa test ride or product demonstration. Consumers can
learn more about the free $5 SUBWAY(R) card offer at

Monday, June 09, 2008

$4 a gallon is waking up America

I've been riding scooters for about 12 years. Before that I owned cars that got excellent gas mileage, my current car gets 36mpg on the highway. I looked many models but scoffed at the 20 or 25mpg that they offered. I've been fuel-conscious for some time. But it doesn't surprise me that Americans are starting to feel the pinch of gas prices. We've had it too good for too long. When I was in England in 2004 it was about 80p per litre, which I figured was over $5 a gallon when the conversion was factored in. So, to them our $4/gallon is nothing. However,when we told some of our English acquaintances that we drove 800 miles in one week they were shocked at the distance. So, I guess their gas prices keep them from driving very far, which is what is happening here. Unfortunately, since America is one huge country we often don't blink an eye at driving an hour or so to work each day.

So.. my point is that scooters are now a hot topic for people who are looking for any way to save money on gas. But what many people (especially the media) overlook is the total ownership benefits that scooters provide:
1) Soaring gas prices: Scooters get between 40-100 mpg depending upon the model.
2) Low Operation Costs: purchase price, fuel, insurance, and maintenance are all considerably lower. Personally, I have 2 scooters insured for $120 per year.
3) Better parking and mobility: Scooters are more nimble on crowded city streets and can park in spots that cars could never fit. Moreover, many cities are encouraging scooter traffic by creating free or discount scooter parking. I have several examples of cities that have done so.
4) Lower-emissions: Today’s scooters are much more environmentally friendly than cars. Some models are even Zero Emision Vehicles, powered by electricity.
5) Fun!: Scooters are a blast to ride. Folks find them less intimidating, less expensive and more versatile than motorcycles. They are more fun to drive than most cars and commuting on a scooter makes the trip more pleasant.

There are lots of articles in magazines, on TV and online, but most overlook the total picture. When you are approached by people asking about the fuel-efficiency of scooters, don't forget to tell them of the other benefits.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

NYC here I come!

I'll be in New York city Wednesday-Saturday afternoon. Any scooterists in the area that might want to get together in Manhattan, email me. My nights will be free so let's get together and talk scoots!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

In LA last week testing Aprilia Sport City 250

Last week I was in Los Angeles for a trade show, but also took the opportunity to test the new, zippy Aprilia Sport City 250. I spent 3 days riding it, and found it to be fun, exactly what I'd expect from an Aprilia. One evening I went to a book signing for a new book on the band, R.E.M., called R.E.M.: HELLO. The scooter was perfect for the West Hollywood area which is tough on parking. I got to park right in back of the store right next to Michael Stipe's car. That's a new meaning for the "rock star parking" that us scooterists are always talking about.

A few days later, I rode the Aprilia from downtown Los Angeles out to Simi Valley. About 40 miles on the freeway, by my calculations. It handled well. I felt comfortable and was able to keep between 60-70mph even on some of the hills outside of Simi Valley. I went to Skatelab a skatepark owned in part by Todd Huber of the Westside Scooter Club. I finally got to meet Todd and see his phenomenal collection of skate decks. Well, I probably didn't see all of them as he has a lot, but the whole place is decorated with them. There was a book signing for the new skateboard culture book, Stalefish. I was able to get a copy of the book signed by a bunch of classic skaters including Lance Mountain, who you may recall I interviewed for the skateboarding article in issue #44 (which is now sold out!). I was even given a Geoff Rowley skateboard deck with a scooter on it! AWESOME! It totally made my day! Thanks to Sean Mortimer who is a cool author to work with, and who knew the perfect gift for me!

Later that night, after riding 40 mile back to my hotel, taking a quick shower and downing some room service food, I met up with Hilliard Guess from the Reflections Society. He did an article n the Untouchables in issue # 42 and just submitted an article on the Aggrolites for our next issue. We had emailed & chatted on the phone, but it was my first meeting with him in person. We rode scooters to his favorite cafe and had a drink on the patio while watching the Saturday night revelers. It was cool to get to know him better and put a face to a name.

I was only in LA for 5 days, with lots of time spent at the convention, but it ws fun to ride around the city at night. It reminded me of the trip I took with Josh to Miami. Not that the cities are similar, but in Miami Josh and I remarked that it looked just like Grand Theft Auto Vice City, and during my ride through LA, I saw some disturbingly familiar place. I was ready for some of those guys in purple to come out and get me. :P In Miami, Josh and I kept telling Joel Martin to floor it before we got attacked by Haitians with machetes! Ha-ha! He plays GTA too, so he didn't think we were too weird. Or maybe he just humored us, because Josh and I are weird.