Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Box Man

Picked up this graphic novel at Drawn & Quarterly booth at Comic-Con.

-- Post from my iPhone, out-n-about...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Got a Big, Bad, MadAss? Show it off!

Peirspeed just announced a new contest to find custom MadAss bikes. Periodically check the site as info will continue to be updated. But for now...

Peirspeed is looking for the coolest, baddest, most customized and unique MadAss in North America. If you have a Sachs MadAss that you feel is up for the competition, then enter the 2011 Sachs MadAss Challenge! The grand prize winner will take home a new, limited edition 2011 Sachs MadAss 125.

The Sachs MadAss Challenge will take place at Amerivespa 2011 in New Orleans.

1st Prize will be a fantastic, limited edition 2011 Sachs MadAss 125

To enter, simply fill out the entry form and provide a copy of current registration and two digital photos of your MadAss.

Further rules, information, or to enter the MadAss Challenge, click here.

Click Here to enter online  or  Click Here to enter by mail.

IWG backpack

Stopped by the TAD Gear store in San Francisco and got a cute backpack for my Rocket World rhino.

Also noticed that the store sells plain white versions that you can customize yourself. $65

TAD Gear sells all kinds of cool "survival" gear (for lack of a better word). You can pick up comfy khaki clothing, knives, fire sparkers and multi-tools for your next outdoor adventure. The store is owned by Patrick Ma who has contributed artwork to past Scoot! art issues and created the Rocket World I.W.G. Squad toys  shown above. The store is on 22nd st. near Illinois.

Rocket World will be at Comic-Con debuting limited edition Star Trek-themed figurines next week.
-- Post from my iPhone, out-n-about...

Warm, sunny & breezy.

About to ride in San Francisco.

-- Post from my iPhone, out-n-about...


So cute!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

NY Times: Embarassing or Cool?

Saw this great NY Times blogpost on the idea of moms being "embarrassing."

Anyone who was ever a teenager probably had some bouts of infinite parental embarrassment followed by copious eye-rolling and looking at one's feet. I recall once when my dad came in the front door after work calling me by my nickname, "Apple Weenie" to my horror and the amusement of my school friends who were in the house. [to clarify, I actually nicknamed myself since as a toddler I could only pronounce my name that way.] My mom also bought my school clothes at KMart for quite some time, which was a real source of humiliation at my beach-side school in a surfer town. Why couldn't I wear OP and Flojos?!?

So, it was fun to read this story of a mom who could care less what was "cool" and chose to drive her kids to school in the sidecar of a Vespa. Little did she know how damn cool she actually was!

Nowadays, I could care less if my dad called me Apple Weenie in front of the President, or if my mom bought me something cool at KMart. That's one of the great things about growing up.

Blog Entry Soundtrack:

Found on Flikr...

If you have visited this blog before, you may have seen the cool Flikr feed that I have on the left. It randomly posts images tagged with key words like "scooter" and "vespa." Sometimes I follow the link to see what from what sets the images are pulled. Lots of cool scooter stuff going on around the globe!

Here is one recent set that I have enjoyed. I love the highly customized scooters of England. Also love all those old city names, so this image with a shout-out to Shrewsbury. As some readers may recall, my BF is English. Once we went back to England to sight-see and visit his family. We popped into several scooter shops and drove all over the lower part of the country. It was a blast.

I wish more US scooterists would make English-style custom scooters.

photo from nualabugeye's Flikr set.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Win a Vespa LX 50

Vespa is helping to promote the Twilight Saga film, Eclipse and the fast food chain, Burger King with a contest in which some entrants can win one of 5 Vespa LX 50s:

The BURGER KING® “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” Game consists of two parts, an Instant-Win Game and a Collect-to-Win Game.

The Game will begin on or about June 21, 2010, and is scheduled to end on July 18, 2010.

From June 21 thru July 18, 2010, customers will be able to visit participating BURGER KING® restaurants to play the “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” game.  Game pieces can be found on The Twilight Saga: Eclipse specially marked BURGER KING® cold drink cups and FRYPOD® containers.  Customers play by scratching one of the two crests to reveal either a 'Winner!' or 'Sorry, Play Again' message.  Every game piece has a prize under one of the two scratch off crests!  And new this year is the Collect-to-Win Game.  Customers can collect Game Pieces to complete a winning series to win great prizes.

 No Purchase Necessary.  Visit participating BURGER KING® restaurants or for more details.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  Game ends 7/18/10 or when Game Piece supplies are exhausted.  See Official Rules posted in participating restaurants & at  for eligibility requirements, prize restrictions/descriptions, odds and complete details.  Must claim food prizes in participating restaurants by 8/31/10.  Limit one claim per person per future visit.  All prize claims subject to verification.  See restaurants for Travel, Cash and Merchandise prize claim envelopes. Travel, Cash & Merchandise prize claims must be received by 8/31/10.  Void where prohibited.  Prizes shown for illustrative purposes only.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Carter Brother fire

Carter Bros. distributes SYM scooters in the US.

News tip care of Steve Guzman at The Scooter Scoop.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Binh Makes it Home

Binh finally makes it home from his trip to the Arctic Circle and back:

Just got home late last night.

The last few days have been bittersweet knowing that the trip is coming to an end.

Riding into WA it got very warm and nothing but blue skies.  Rode through the way that I had originally intended to go north where I got stuck in the snow.  There was only a few patches of snow left on the side of the road.  Went into Portland and stopped by the SYM dealership there and did an oil change. Thanks for the oil guys!  They have tons of Symbas in stock.  The heat wave was happening all in the Northwest, it was almost 100-degrees in the Portland Area.  Got
to the coast and it got cold and foggy.  Put the rain suit back on. The fog lasted all the way home.  Once I got to Highway 1 I rode the bike harder then I had ever ridden it, WOT all the way. 
 I love CA and it's twisty roads.  Canada and Alaska didn't have many twisties at all.  Their roads are meant for 18-wheelers.

The bike is very balanced and handles really well.  The suspension works great for what it is.  I was able to pass up cars in the technical sections of Highway 1.

Got into SF and was pulled over for a burnt out license plate light.  When I got back into the USA I was really thrown off by the traffic density and over- stimulation of signs.  It was a strange feeling, almost overwhelming used to being in Canada and Alaska with not many people or advertisement.

It felt good riding familiar roads again.  What I was surprised of in Canada and Alaska was the lack of big trees.  Most all the big trees there were only about a foot in diameter and maybe 20-30 feet in height, very small compared to the big trees here in California.

Up loaded more pics.  I'll write up a summary later on, think I need a break and go on a ride with my CB.

Friday, July 09, 2010

In Silicon Valley? Try the Three Peaks Challenge!

Vespa Los Gatos will once again hold its Three Peaks Challenge on August 7, 2010:
VCLG’s 3-Peaks Challenge
(Open to all motorized-scooters: Vespa, Lambretta, Honda, Suzuki, Aprilia, Piaggio, Velocifero, etc)

It’s that time again!

Vespa Club Los Gatos is throwing it’s annual challenge to climb all three Bay Area peaks in a single day.
  • Mount Hamilton
  • Mount Diablo
  • Mount Tamalpais
Can you and your scooter withstand our time-honored tradition to ride around the SF Bay (literally).

This is not a race, but you do have to keep moving to complete the challenge before nightfall. We will pause to regroup from time to time but each rider should be prepared to navigate the course without aid from others.

We start at Alum Rock Family Restaurant in San Jose (2920 Alum Rock Ave.) and finish atop Mount Tamalpais.

Meet-up for Breakfast at 7:00am
Riding starts at 8:00am
(We highly recommend fueling-up before meeting for breakfast, as the majority of us WILL LEAVE AT 8AM SHARP)

We will break for lunch between 12p and 2p, near the Marie Callender's and Genova Delicatessen & Ravioli in Walnut Creek (S. California Blvd. & Olympic Blvd.)

Route information is available for those who feel they may lag and/or fall behind. There will not be a support truck for this ride, so you will more-or-less be on your own should your ride encounter any issues.

We expect this to be an all-day event. Do not expect to finish atop Mount Tam earlier than 4pm if you have something else to do.

For any other questions, visit us at or e-mail us at

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Binh Heads West

Binh checks in from Hope Canada before crossing the Canada/US border and heading over to the coast.

It is amazing how everything looks differently with clear blue skies.  Yesterday
was the first day that I was able to ride without my rain suit since I left California.  The trees, mountains, towns and people seems so much more colorful when the sun is out.  Canada is much more beautiful under the sun instead of constant gray clouds.

The riding has been going quickly.  There is mostly a tail wind.  From Cache Creek down it is constant down hill following a river.  Camped out just past Hells Gate and for the first time on this trip there were almost no mosquitoes.

Went through the second rear tire.  The stock back tire lasted about 4k miles.  I switched back to the stock front tires and threw theGazelle that was on front to the back.

Heading to Comic-Con Later This Month

Any scooterists going to San Diego Comic-Con? If so, email me & maybe we can hook up. I'll be there the whole time. I'm looking for scooter collectibles and artists who may be inclined to do some illustration work for Scoot!. Celebrity sightings aren't bad, either.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Binh's Journey Continues...

Woke up to clear sunny skies this morning, first warm dry day in two weeks.  The last couple days have been COLD and WET. I actually got chilled yesterday for the first time on this trip.  I was told today by road crew that it had snowed a little last night in the mountains where I had rode through today.  Good thing I decided to stop early before the mountainous section.

Had to fix the rear flat again.  Seems like the Slime patches I got doesn't work very well, it is the pre-glued type.  When it is cold the patch works fine but once the road dried and the tires got warm the patch fails.  So I spent some time on the side of the road again but at least it was dry gravel instead of mud.  I tried "fix a flat" in a can and it just squirted out the puncture.  I think I'm only gonna use thick rubber patches with vulcanizing rubber cement from now on.  Before the trip started my main concern with the bike was tubes.  I'm not a fan of tube tire set up. They take a lot of time to repair and is more prone to flats.  Tubeless are much less troublesome, even my mountain bike uses tubeless tires.

The bike has been running really smooth.  I had flooded the motor a few times from over filling the gas.  If you fill up make sure to stop once it gets to the top and not try to squeeze in that last ounce of gas other wise it will overflow into the evap canister.  Once the canister fills it will overflow into the air box, and that will fill and gas will flood the carb then the motor.  I also use a whole bottle of oil instead of the recommended fills up to the very top of the full mark.  Taking out the oil screen/filter will allow you to drain out more oil then just the drain plug.  The chain has stretched more then I had expected but the chain ring still looks good.  Not sure how much the chain cover has protected it from dirt/dust.  May be in normal round town riding it would be fine but dirt road riding gets dirt EVERYWHERE.

The road between Watson Lake and Fort Nelson had lots of wildlife, tons of black bears, buffalo and some reindeer.  Hwy 97 is a very scenic road just as nice as Hwy 37, different but nice.

Had my first camp fire last night of the whole trip, probably my last one.  Needed it to warm up.  Covering so many miles per day doesn't leave time to enjoy camping life.  The last few day's pace has been a little slower.  I think the next few days I'll cover more distance until I hit the coast then slow down again.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Olympian Jenny Thompson Fights off Scooter-Jackers

This week, in Brookline, MA Olympic swimmer Jenny Thompson fended off attackers that tried to steal her Vespa. See the story on the WBZ website. Two men got out of their car, approached her and one punched her in the face in an attempt to wrestle her scooter from her. She fought back and screamed until nearby folks came out of their homes and scared the attackers away.
Hear her account on this video.
Be strong, Jenny, and ride again!

Apparently,  there is a rash of scooter-thefts going on in that area.

Another reason to wear a full-face helmet: scooter-jackers!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Antonio Banderas on Scooter

What's up with the Daily Mail? I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by the catty nature of the b*tchy British press, but they are clearly being jerks by badmouthing Antonio Banderas for riding a scooter at a MotoGP event in Spain.
AP image
He's actually riding a MotoGP licensed scooter made by Yamaha. There are pit bikes in car racing and motorcycle racing for when racers or crew want to get around the pits quickly but at low speeds. It's quite typical, all the big racers do it and it doesn't diminish their manliness in the least. What is also typical is the British press' interest in disparaging people when it is unwarranted.  

Ride on, Antonio!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Binh checks in from a visitor's center in Fort Nelson, BC.

Since I left Whitehorse it has been nothing but cold and rain.  The Alcan is very scenic between Watson Lake and Fort Nelson (Rocky Mtns.) with lots of wild life. Saw more black bears and a herd of buffalo.  It is by far the most varied roadway for this trip to Canada and Alaska.  The north is very well developed; I didn't go for more then an hour without seeing another person...actually when I was lost in the mountains near Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens I went longer without see another person then I ever did in Alaska and Canada north.  Because of the remoteness of the north there are only a few highways so everyone has to travel the same roads. 

Last night I had a cinnabon and a brownie for dinner-- places here close EARLY.  I've been eating well this whole trip except last night.  All restaurant, home cooking is my preference.  I budgeted $30 a day for food and more or less am in the ballpark.  I only eat two meals a day to save $$ and also travel time.  So far I'd only paid for 3 camp sites and [squatted] camp all other times. 

Changed out the rear Gazelle tire in the rain and mud, they lasted about 2k miles, was well past the wear bars, almost bald.  I'm running the OEM rear now and just had a flat, repaired the flat in the least it wasn't raining during the repair.

I'm out of the mountains now so hopefully it will warm up.

Whitehorse was the first night in a while where it got kinda dark at night...the days are now getting shorter.  Which means I have to wake up earlier and stop sooner

Saturday, July 03, 2010

I'm Mad!

A friend turned me on to the new version of Mad Men Yourself, which has a new background with a scooter on it. Try it for yourself! This will be my new iPhone background.

Binh's Heading Home

Binh checks in from Whitehorse, Canada:

Seems like the ride back is going way faster then the way there.  I think I had a headwind north to Fairbanks.  Today has been really cold, hands constantly numb.  I didn't stay in Tok last night, was making such good time that I was able to cross the border and stayed just past Beaver Creek.  Tomorrow might be a lazy day.  Once back in the States I'm going to go down the coast all the way home.  Think I'm gonna take the Alcan all the way back to Prince George, more inland means more warmth.  It'll add about 100miles no big deal.

Saw three moose in all...boy they are BIG.  The scenery in Alaska as well as most of the Yukon is very similar and is very consistent; not much variety.

Gas in AK is about $3.50 while here in Canada about $4-$5+ per gallon.  The roads in Canada are much nicer then AK.

The bike is covered in Alaska dirt.  I'll need to find a place to rinse that stuff off the wheels for easy tire changes.  Also caked on dirt will reduce engine cooling efficiency.  Will do some maintenance tonight.  I'm gonna have to change the rear tire soon, down to the wear bar already.  Think I'll throw the stock rear back on till that is all the way worn.  The Michelin Gazelle didn't seem to handle gravel much better then the stock tires.  My gas mileage has been about 100mpg give or take.

Folks have been reacting in awe of the trip on such a small bike.  The most shocked folks are the BIG bike riders, they just can't believe that I'm on this trip.  The usual questions from folks about the bike are expected: how fast, what cc, mpg?, how far on a tank.  The question for me are you are from where!!? Alabama!? No, I tell them JUST riding from CA.
[Binh's loaner Symba is registered in Alabama. -Ed.]

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Arctic Circle? Check!

Binh checks in from Fairbanks after making it to the Arctic Circle:

Made it to the Arctic Circle yesterday around 3pm.  The Dalton wasn't as bad as everyone said.  It was a very nice dirt/gravel road.  The only parts that was rough was the road construction sections.  Nearing the Circle it had started raining then stopped. Surprisingly, It was  very warm there.  I had to take off all my layers and still got sweaty.  It rained all the way back.  The dirt/gravel road got very slippery but for the most part stayed in tack.  There were several spots where I almost crashed but managed.  I was able to do mostly 40mph through most of it.

The Michelin Gazelle is wearing out faster then the stock tires....could be the gravel road accelerating the wear but seems like they are just softer.  The rear is almost worn out after only a little over a thousand miles.  Before putting them on I thought I had brought too many tires but now think I have just enough to get back home.

I'm going to Tok tonight and staying at the all/only motorcycle camping site I was told about the other day.  I should be passing through Whitehorse on the 2nd.

Farewell to Scooter World Magazine

Scooter World magazine has shuttered. See the note from publisher Bev:

Dear fellow scooter enthusiasts,
It's with sadness that I must tell you that I have decided to bring ScooterWorld Magazine to a close.
The climate for publishing has changed a great deal in the almost 7 years since our first issue and this, which began as a labor of love, is unfortunately no longer sustainable. The final issue was published in March, 2010.
I so appreciate the friendship and community that I have been lucky enough to become a part of through the magazine. The rallies, the rides, the conferences, and the correspondence is all something I will remember as the best aspect of this endeavor.
A special note of gratitude to the writers and everyone else who brought the pages life with every issue, and thanks to the advertisers who became great partners in the magazine. And another thanks to the scooter and accessory distributors, who provided us limitless access to products for reviews.
Finally, I want to express my sincere appreciation to the subscribers; without you the magazine would not have survived. If you sent a check as recently as December 2009, the check has been destroyed and the paypal account is no longer taking subscriptions.
Thank you and happy trails. I hope to see you on the road!
Best regards,
Bev Brinson
Scooter World Magazine