Our old friend Errol from Toronto sent me a link to the Twisted Wheel Scooter Club’s recent rally video. The Club has been a staple of the Toronto scooter scene for the past few years. For those who have never visisted our Canadian friends, the video shows a ride into the countyside and proves that they really do have a summer season. The club events are documented in the video along with a gaggle of scooters (+150?). My only question is “where are the vintage scooters?”. Maybe in Toronto they prefer reliability over nostalga.
I am trying to keep up with a number of demands these days and at the same time prepare for the big move to northern Virginia. Most of my Internet time activity has been relegated to late-night surfing and listening to other people’s podcasts. In among the usual Stumble-upon ad-supported sites I happened upon this Vimeo video of DubFx. He is an Australian named Ben Stanford. Credit goes to geeksaresexy.net for compiling several of his performances. This is a seven minutes sample of what he does, a little long, but stick with it and you will hear something unique.
I mentioned this museum, Vintage Moto (closed in 2013) in a post after my last trip to Denver. A few days ago, a local Denver TV station did a story on the owner Jim Dillard. He has an amazing collection of small displacement Italian motorcycles from the 1960s.
You can see an article about Jim at the following link.
On the heels of deciding we would move to Northern Virginia I have been flooded with reconsidering a whole series of decisions including canceling plans to get to Amerivespa 2009. I am hoping that next year I will be settled and can make the trip to where ever it is been held.
Several friends have asked “how are you going to get all your scooter toys to Washington DC?” So far no one has taken the next step to say, “I can take care of a few scoots if you aren’t going to have room”
At the moment I am not worring about that.Â ScootRichmond is working on my Ducati moped and my 180ss. Since a 1965 Ducati replacement stator is non-existant, Dave is doing his magic modifying the electrical system. I have had to go back to Henry Hogben, in Canada for a new cylinder/piston since the little bug was only pushing 50lbs on a compression test. I have been wishing that I could watch over Dave’s shoulder as he brings the little sucker to life. ButÂ for the next few weeks I still have a regular job.
I have been pondering this post for the past week. It was about this time seven days ago I accepted another dream job. However, like owning a vintage Vespa, it comes with both risks and rewards. Those of you who know me might say I am a professional do-gooder. I have always worked in social services and in the past ten years, probably through sheer persistence or luck have become a minor celebrity influential in advocacy and politics, mostly in Virginia.
In August I will be moving to the Washington DC area to continue my do-gooder ways, but it means leaving the Richmond scooter community behind. To some of you, this means nothing, but you must understand that old Richmond has a traditional southern village feel and outsiders are not easily welcomed into the grits and fatback circle that is the south. Amazingly, theÂ Seven Hills Scooter Club is a southern anomaly. It is a curious combination of carpetbaggers, old-timers and young southerners who all flock together around our love for scooters. Regardless of your ride or your scoot-cred, you are neverÂ an outsider and anyone who shows up, dues paying or not is treated like a member.
Many thanks to Chelsea, Rick, Ed, Brendan, Dave the Mechanic, the myth legend known as Munn and many more club and ScootRichmond patrons for support of Scootercast and being so kind to an outsider. I will beÂ attending my last Friday night parking lot scoot-in tomorrow night at ScootRichmond to witness the movie madness of “This is Spinal Tap” and revel in one more inclusive event that welcomes even an aging, slightly socially inept scooter nerd like me.
If I were Catholic I would be saying, forgive me father, it has been four weeks since my last post. For those of you waiting for the disparaging words of self loathing and apologies, forget it. The fact is, I have a busy life and the best I have been able to do is store up the scraps of notes I have been making in anticipation of a soon to come barrage of insights, reflections and clever anecdotal scooter stories. All I can say is you’ll have to be the judge of that.
One point of interest in my life has been the travel I have been doing over the past few months. I have been out to Denver, where on my way to check out the new Ducati Streetfighter
I stumbled upon a basement motorcycle museum that contains almost every vintage Italian motor bike I have ever lusted after. While driving down Market Street I caught a glimpse of a 90cc MV Agusta out of the corner of my eye. Since Market Street is one way, I circled back around the block and pulled up beside a fully restored masterpiece. Next to the bike sat a small sign pointing to a basement entrance of a warehouse that is Vintage Motos It houses hundreds of original and restored motorcycles, including Ducati, Giliera, Italjet, Motoguzzi, Parillia bikes and more. Most are under 250cc. What makes this such a find is that in order to do a quality restoration, one the best reference points is having access to an original specimen and at Vintage Moto, they have one of just about every 50s or 60s Italian bike imported. They even have a few rare scooters, like the 1956 Rumi Formuchino (Little Ant).
So here’s my returning gift to you, a new place to check when trying to source parts or a place to go to get a first hand view of what a real Italian import survivor look like. For a small fee, you can ogle, touch (if you talk nice to the owner), speak Vintage Italian and take lots of detailed pictures. Check out all my pictures from the museum HERE.
Stay tuned for a new podcast and a recap of my recent visit to Seattle and a return to my roots in the Pacific Northwest.
2009 PoliniUSA Cup – 2 stroke racing just stepped its game up…. from Harold Smith on Vimeo.
I got an email this past week from Graham, talking about how he and a friend were streaming moped and scooter racing on the on the internet. Anything with a tech bent always catches my eye so I started to look into what they were doing. They were using Mogulus a very reliable video streaming and archiving service that adds chat to the stream. It is one of the streaming platforms, like Stickam that seems to always get good reviews. But when I saw the high qualify moped racing video that Graham and Harold had put up on Vimeo, I was convinced. I needed to talk with these guys.
There are a few die-hard moped riders here in Richmond and even though I have a 50cc bike myself, I have always thought of them as under powered. The PoliniUSA Cup races feature mopeds and other bikes including scooters that have been modified, mostly with Polini aftermarket parts. These things scream! Listen to the podcast with Harold, then look for the streaming video at mopedracing or poliniusa the first weekend of each month starting in May. Don’t miss the kitted pocket bike races featuring little spitfires packing 4bhp. They do the knee-sliding like the superbikes do.
Moped links to explore
- Moped Army website
- Creatures of the Loin – San Francisco
- 1977 Mopeds – everything moped
- Hell’s Satans – Richmond
- The Latebirds – Los Angeles
The 7hills scooter club rally is coming up in a few weeks. That is usually a ride out into the country, with camping and bonfires in an area where club members can stay out of trouble and avoid doing too much damage to themselves. The 2009 Dogwood Classic scooter rally will be held at Heavenly Acres Campground in Stanardsville, VA Friday, May 15 to Sunday, May 17.
Another big spring rally here on the east coast is the New York City Scooter Club block party, which is scheduled for the end of May. Their club motto is: If you have a Scooter, you’re in the Club. The block party, held in Brooklyn and attracts scoot fans from all over the northeast. I am jealous of our New York friends. They have a vibrant scooter scene and at least a dozen legitimate scooter shops to choose from in the New York city area.
Here is taste of what they have:
- McCarren Motors
- Scooter Bottega
- Scooter City Inc.
- Scooters Originali
- Vespa Brooklyn
- Vespa City
- Vespa Jersey City
- Vespa Queens
- Vespa Soho
- Zoom Scooter
In my world, scooters are connected to many of my other interests and activities. One of those interests is a life long fascination with pinball machines. Nick Bennett happens to be one of those fellows whos life is dominated by pinball. I came across Nick’s website a
few months ago, while referencing the Las Vegas Pinball Museum and later heard from him in an email about this summers European tournament. Although a bit of a digression from scooting, I think you will find this conversation interesting and most likely will see some similarities in Nicks passion for pinball and our passion for scooters. Listen to the podcast for all the details
Music for this show is by Telling on Trixie a New York based band that has gathered a big web. I first heard about Telling on Trixie two years ago at podcamp New York. Checkout their website.
It is a regular occurrence in my life. I easily become fascinated with a new idea. A few months ago it was retrofitting a vintage Vespa with an electric motor. I have no useful experience or knowledge related to this interest, but that never stops me. I found that one resource for pursuing such a project is Sound Speed Scooters in Seattle. They offer an impressive conversion package at a hefty price, just over $1500, not including batteries.
Luckily the electric vehicle community is alive and well on the internet. I turned to the V is for Voltage Forum. Much of the forum is devoted to motorcycle and scooter conversions. It has sections on all the basics and not so basics of electrifying your favorite ride without electrocuting yourself. I searched the forum for Vespa and found Jake Stept’s blog with pictures detailing the build of his small frame conversion he has named the Rezistor
Jake spoke with me on the SCTRCST podcast from his home in Portland Oregon. I was impressed. He tackled his project having no experience with electric motors or conversions. Now I can’t stop hearing the whining sounds an electric Vespa in my head. You can see a Sound Speed video here or check out Jake’s Rezistor here.