Thursday, July 30, 2009

TMAX to the Max

My second day of TMAX testing and it is a cool windy evening in San Francisco. Slow ride for 45 miles on the freeway? Ugh!

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Want to submit a rally report?

I have been doing this so long that I often forget that not everyone knows about our rally report process/policy. If you have ever wanted to contribute a rally report, read my suggestions below.

We love to get rally reports from the field. We often sponsor rallies, and I ask the rallies to furnish a report so that we know what happens. We can't be everywhere, ya know?
Ideally, rally reports should be:
  • 400-800 words long, either pasted into an email or attached in MS Word, Appleworks or plain text (txt) formats. We use Macs, so don't use Wordpad. We can't open those documents.
  • Accompanied by at least 5 photos, preferably digital jpeg or tiff images at the highest quality setting possible. The minimum resolution we can accept is 300 dpi. Although dpi is usually for printers, most digital cameras use this as a measurement.
  • Emailed to April: april AT scootmagazine DOT com
  • Make sure to include: Rally Title, City/State, Date of event, # of bikes or attendees, sponsoring club name (if any), website address (if any) for readers to find out more.Don't forget your name & address, as well as the name/address of any photographers who contribute.
The point of a rally report is to share what is going on around the country, and to inspire others to come to the next rally or to create their own rally. The report shouldn't be a blow-by-blow chronological itinerary, but should instead show what made the rally particularly fun or unique. We want to inspire others to join in on rally fun!

Anyone can contribute a rally report, but if you are not affiliated with the rally, check with the organizers, first. They may already have plans for a submission.

While we cannot pay our contributors, we an send copies of the magazine to express our thanks.

Still got questions? Email me.

Happy scooting,

Blog post soundtrack: "Dance With Me" by The Lords of the New Church

Friday, July 24, 2009

Yo Gabba Gabba!

At Comic Con!

-- Post From My iPhone

How Its Made: Vespas

Tonight on the Science Channel, tune in at 9pm ET to see a How It's Made episode that goes into the Piaggio plant. See how your scoot began life!

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bought at Renegade Craft Fair

I got this Lammy tote from this nice man from at the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco last weekend.

-- Post From My iPhone

Target Find

Got this at Target. Unfortunately don't know any upcoming scooter weddings. Will post better pic later.

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Off to Comic-Con!

I'll be at Comic Con this week and out of the office from Tuesday-Tuesday. If you are one of the 140K other fans there, say hello. I'll be doin' time at the Chronicle Books both #1506, and then wandering around the show Twittering under scootmagapril. Last year one booth had a packaging box for a concept toy with a goth-style scooter. I hope that this year it is available! If you are there also look for R.Black who will be autographing & selling stuff. Also look for Patrick from RocketWorld and his kewl IWG characters who ride scooters. have one of his zipper pulls on my Scoot! sweatshirt.

I'll be on the lookout for celebs and scooter art.

Blog entry soundtrack: "It's Different for Girls" by Joe Jackson

Friday, July 17, 2009

Goodbye Vectrix, we hardly knew ye...

When Vectrix first debuted in the US, Scoot! got to test-ride one of the models. Mike picked it up in San Francisco (where he lives) and Josh went up to get it and bring it back so that both he and I could ride it. Unfortunately, because SF is about 45 miles north, the Vectrix wouldn't have been able to make it back on the freeway on one charge. Strike one for the electro-maxi scooter. Sure it was heavy, yes it needed better range, by golly it was expensive. But it was kinda cool and I was very hopeful that they could make a go of it, especially when all of the other electric scooters that we saw maxed out at 28mph and were just cheap Chinese crud.

The Vectrix had some hurdles which it couldn't quite overcome and now DealerNews reports that the company is filing for bankruptcy. In this economy, who isn't feeling a pinch? But Vectrix was price-point challenged with the highest price scooter available (you could buy a Hyundai for less) and it had a product that wasn't essential to the American lifestyle (as is a car). Most Americans see scooters as a second vehicle, for fun jaunts. $10K is a little dear for such a non-essential item, especially when it was limited in rage. If you run out of gas in a combustion engine, you just gas-n-go, but the Vectrix needed about 2 hours of charging to gain any useful range.

Another thing that Vectrix lacked was a large base of early adopters. For some technology items, a loyal group of buyers comes forth and will pay the high price to get the newest technology first. Remember $600 iPhones? But wealthy environmentalists like Leonardo DiCaprio were few and far in between. Many folks probably felt like I did: it was a cool idea, but I would rather wait for a less expensive version with greater range. Unfortunately, Vectrix needed to sell lots more of those initial versions to keep the company going, through revenue and continued investment.

I was hopeful, but when the entire world seems to be in a economic meltdown, there just isn't any room or time to invest in dreams. It's really to bad.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Film: We Are the Mods

Independent filmmaker E.E. Cassidy's new film We Are the Mods is on the festival circuit, appearing next week at Outfest in Los Angeles on July 18th. For more info on the director and the film read this indieWire interview.

Watch the trailer

Monday, July 13, 2009

Annapolis: Watch your scoots!

The Baltimore Sun reported today on a rash of scooter thefts in the area. According to the story, the bikes in question don't need to be registered, which leads me to believe that most of the scooters are 50cc. Even if you don't pay a lot for your scooter, you can still do several things to deter theft:

  • Use a disc brake lock, especially one with an alarm (Cost: $20-100)
  • Use a substantial cable lock to anchor your bike to a permanent structure (Cost: $15-80)
  • Use a bike cover- thieves poking around draw unwanted attention (Cost: $20-70)

More expensive ways to deter theft:
  • Employ the Lo-Jack System
  • Re-wire your kill switch to a hidden place which will make it hard for thieves to ride away
  • Use an enclosure such as a shed or a RideInn
In order to keep your scooter safe, you need to stay vigilant and a step ahead of the bad-guys.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rise Against Video with Mopeds

For their new album Appeal to Reason, Rise Against shot a video for the song Re-Education Through Labor which has mopeders from the Chicago area. Use the link to check it out.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Vespa Hybrid Reaching Fruition

Earlier this week, Piaggio announced their Hybrid MP3 which uses dual electric and combustion power plants:
The Piaggio MP3 Hybrid incorporates a “parallel” hybrid drive in which a combustion engine and an electric motor are mechanically and electronically linked and simultaneously supply power to the wheel

The MP3 Hybrid uses lithium ion batteries, and is said to be "the first vehicle in the world to combine plug-in charging from the mains with lithium ion batteries." It is supposed to take 3 hours to fully charge the batteries, wit 85% achieved at 2 hours.

The press release compares the CO2 emissions + fuel consumption among other forms of transport:

Small gas engine car: 180 g/km CO2; 13.2 km/l fuel
Large gas engine car: 270 g/km CO2; 6.9 km/l fuel
Small diesel engine car: 150 g/km CO2; 17.7 kn/l fuel
Mid-size gas engine scooter: 90 g/km CO2; 26.0 km/l fuel
MP3 Hybrid: 0 g/km CO2 (emissions in electric mode) 40 g/km CO2 (combined mode); 60 km/l fuel

Some specs:
124cc 4-stroke gas engine
Hybrid powertrain power: 11 kW (15 CV) at 8,500 rpm
Hybrid powertrain torque: 16 Nm at 3K rpm
Electric motor: Synchronous brushless permanent magnet motor
Electric motor power: 2.6 kW (3.5 CV)
Electric motor torque: 15 Nm
Cooling: Air
Battery charge modes: During braking and deceleration on the move, and from the mains (battery charger integrated in on-board electronics)

The bike should be available for US buyers in early 2010 andd could cost about $10K.
Images courtesy of Piaggio.

Blog entry soundtrack: "I Wanna Be Adored" by Stone Roses

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Rise Against

Finishing up interview.

-- Post From My iPhone

Interviewing Rise Against tonight

Turns out that the politi-punk band Rise Against is also a bunch of Scooterist that take their bikes on the road with them. I'm going to the Oakland Arena tonight to interview them & see their show. Photographer Dan C is coming along & he is a big fan. This article will appear in issue #52, and we're just putting to bed #51, so it will be a while before it makes it to print. I'll try to post some photos on the blog before then.

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Seen in San Francisco

Cute Buddy. Naughty & nice.
It's a cold, overcast, windy day. Summer in San Francisco!

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, July 06, 2009

Goodbye, Amerivespa!

Had a great time! Congratulations to VCOA and local hosting club, Vespa Club Los Gatos!
Woke up this morning (after sleeping for 9 hours) to sunburn and dehydration. Must have had a good time!
Read the full report this fall in Scoot!.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sunday Picnic

-- Post From My iPhone

Bad photo of a small portion of the parking lot.

Late nite-- post Amerivespa partay

Scooter Haus 2:14 AM
Josh snoring in a plastic chair after a long day at Saratoga Springs.

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, July 04, 2009

-- Post From My iPhone

Alex Azam from the Burgundy Topz and Eric Dutra from VCOA chat during a break in the gymkahana. Dig Alex's cool outfit.

-- Post From My iPhone

Bikes entered into the concourse at Saratoga Springs.

Snoopy Scooty

-- Post From My iPhone

Scooter Daddy's custom shirt with Snoopy & Woodstock scootin' around. Scooter Daddy also gave me some cool ornaments, one of which is Santa on a Lambretta! Thanks, Waid!

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, July 03, 2009

Stop #3: Moon Zoom

-- Post From My iPhone

One small corner of this 2-story vintage shop in San Jose.

Shopping Ride

First stop-- Campbell!

-- Post From My iPhone

S.I.P photo bloggin' @ Amerivespa

Check out what some crazy German scooter-tuning nuts (I say that affectionately!)experience at Amerivespa at the S.I.P. blog.

Excited to finally meet Ralf & crew in person.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Upstairs @ Agenda

Xian & Jen

-- Post From My iPhone

Amerivespa Thursday Night

Extreme ride over Mount Hamilton was said to be a fun success. Lots of folks for first night. Sitting @ Agenda Lounge listening to Bang a 60's revival band with 3 lady singers.

-- Post From My iPhone

AMA Boost Roadside Assistance


American Motorcyclist Association announces expansion of free AMA Roadside Assistance program

Three-year membership requires no automatic renewal

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Members of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) have a new way to qualify for free roadside assistance for their motorcycles, cars, trucks, motorhomes and trailers. Effective immediately, all members who purchase a new three-year AMA membership will be enrolled in AMA Roadside Assistance at no additional cost.

Unchanged is the $39 annual fee that AMA members currently pay to belong to the world's largest member-based motorcyclists' rights organization. New three-year members are not required to annually auto-renew to receive free AMA Roadside Assistance.

"Whether members participate in our auto-renewal program, or if they sign up for a three-year membership, the result is the same: cost savings for the AMA," said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. "As a member-supported organization, we are happy to pass those savings back to our members in the form of one of the most significant member benefits we've offered in our 85-year history: free AMA Roadside Assistance."

This expanded benefit follows the AMA's introduction in February of free AMA Roadside Assistance for all members who enroll in the AMA's auto-renewal program. Whether riding on two wheels, driving on four, or hauling a trailer, AMA members can take the road less traveled with peace of mind, thanks to AMA Roadside Assistance,

Benefits include coverage for bikes, cars, pickups, motorhomes and trailers registered to the member, the member's spouse and dependent children under the age of 24, living at home or away at college; towing up to 35 miles; flat-tire assistance; coverage in all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and Canada; emergency fuel delivery; up to five dispatched service calls per year; and toll-free assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, from two national call centers.

In addition, all dispatch and hook-up fees are included, and AMA Roadside Assistance does not require members to seek reimbursement. The program pays first.

AMA Roadside Assistance is just one of more than two dozen benefits that members receive when they join the AMA. Discounts are provided from companies such as Garmin,, EagleRider Motorcycle Rentals, XENA Security, Ezy-Lift, RoadLok, Char-Broil, MAD Maps and many more. In addition, members support the world's leading motorcyclists' rights advocacy organization, receive the monthly journal of the AMA, American Motorcyclist, and are eligible to sign up for participation in AMA Racing amateur competition.

For more information about the benefits of AMA membership, call the AMA Member Services Center at (800) AMA-JOIN or visit

Amerivespa Starts TODAY

I'll be remote blogging and Twittering from the events. Thanks, iPhone!
OH... I'll also be riding my '78 Vespa P200. Can't be social networking the whole time. Keep checking back for updates and photos.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Washed, polished & recharged...

Came home from work to wash my trusty P200. Put something called "Ice" on it but the rattle can't be made to look like multi-stage pro paint. Changed the spark plug. Better to start out fresh. Battery is charging as Jon said that my lights looked dim.

Next... properly inflate tires and locate my reg + insurance. Where did I put those...?

With 600 or so scooters running around, I had better be on my best behavior and have all my papers in order.

Camping at Amerivespa- try these 2 treats

When camping you need marshmallows. I'm not a fan of S'mores as they have the wrong ratio of marshmallow: chocolate: graham cracker. So check out these two versions:

Marshmallow & Grasshoppers: Take a toasty marshmallow and plop it on a Keebler grasshopper cookie which is a chocolate wafer covered in mint chocolate. Exquisite! Impress your friends!

Local TV show View from the Bay just posted video of The Melting Pot's S'mores Fondue, which I think looks especially tasty. A scrumptious blend of marshmallow, chocolate, graham crumbs and Bacardi. Now that sounds like scooter camping!

See you all @ Amerivespa!

LA Times: Motos in Movies

L.A. Times motorcycle reporter Susan Carpenter recently posted a story about motorcycles and scooters appearing in films. It's no accident that we see actors riding macho motorcycles or quaint scooters. A person's transportation says a lot about them, and those non-verbal cues are also exploited in films. What did it convey when The Terminator rode a Harley wearing a tough leather jacket? What do filmmakers want the audience to know about a character when he or she rides a scooter?

Let's forget about Roman Holiday for a moment as I think the science of product placement wasn't quite dialed in. And Quadrophenia is totally another ballgame...

Here are some notable films with characters riding scooters.

Saved: Patrick Fugit is the son of a Christian school principal who not only rides a skateboard, but he also has messy hair and drives a Vespa. His scooter adds another layer to his outcast nature, and gives him a cool ride to give Jenna Malone a lift. The filmmakers obviously wanted him to be both cool and on the outside.

American Pie:
Finch, the friend in he film's group who had more refined taste, and was a 40-year-old in a teenage body rode a scooter. Of course, he stalled it in front of his friends to their amusement. He's a quirky character who seems out of place and from another time, thus he pursues his friend's mother. I liked Finch best! Can you believe that it has been 10 years since this film debuted?

Vampires Anonymous
A small indie film, but with the benefit of Michael Madsen (rahr!). The film's protagonist, Vic, is a vampire trying to go clean. He enters a AA-style rehab plan where Madsen is his sponsor who teaches him how to feat on sheep instead of humans. He is sent to a small town to lay low. His sponsors tell him to blend in and not look conspicuous. Instead he shows up to his new backwater country town in a slim cut suit on a mod-style Vespa. Of course he stands out and his charm and uniqueness get him The Girl, but those qualities also make him the target of local ridicule from town jocks. In this film, the scooter was chosen to make the character standout from his rural surroundings and give him an outsider appeal. A fun independent film.

I could go on, but let's hear about your favorite scooter-riding film characters.

Blog entry soundtrack: "I Like the Rose" by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Can't Strip My Lambretta in the Kitchen...

I saw this video from The Animal Jack Band (who are Scoot! MySpace friends). Reminds me of when Jon refurbished my VBB in my dining room. My landlord came in to check something one day and I had to explain that it was all new & there was not gas or oil in it. Somehow, she didn't kick me out.

I can't strip my Lambretta down in the kitchen 'ska' blues from curious ostrich on Vimeo.