Archive for 4 stroke scoots

Episode 65 – Iphone Envy and a New Lambretta Scooter Bible

SHOW NOTES: I am sitting here with a beautiful hand crafted premium leather case for my new 3g iphone. It’s that soft Italian leather, you know, the kind that feels like a well worn shoe, already broken in and it has a wonderful new car leather smell to it. I am talking so much about this case, because my stupid AT&T store ran out of iphones and I had to order one “to be delivered in the next few days.” Now as much as I like smelling the leather case, I find myself a little pissed that all I have is a case. How can I show-off? Maybe what also gets me is that I ordered the case last week, thinking, I bet if I do this I won’t be able to get the phone. As I pressed the buy button, I thought “this will be a self fulfilling prophecy”. So now I check the AT&T website everyday to see the if the phone has shipped. So far all I get is, “your phone is on back-order.” Damn that Steve Jobs, he sucker me in again.

So as our English friends might say, lets get to this week’s scooter shite. Pete Davies is one of those English fellows, like Nigel Cox whose name is synonymous with scooter history in Europe. Pete was around way back in the late 70’s and heyday of the huge Scarborough rallies in England and has stayed true to the Lambretta badge since. Today he remains immersed in Lambrettas running the British Lambretta archives.

Being an admitted Lambretta neophyte, I am no expert, but I will go out on a limb and say that both the beginner and experienced Lambretta fans are going to love Pete’s new book, The Lambretta Bible. The book outlines in great detail the production run of every Lambretta model from 1948 until 1971 and the book also includes extra details on non production scooters including those modified by English dealers. This is one of those books that sucks you into the brand, even if you have had only a passing interest in the Lambretta scooters. Of course, now I find myself wondering if I am missing out not having a Series 2 Li in my stable. Pete has included model by model frame numbers, paint schemes, Lambretta’s Central Office notes on model by model changes with carburetor specs and gear ratios for every Lambretta model made.

The Lambretta Bible is published by Veloce Publishing in England, but as you might expect, it is available from all the major book outlets. For a direct link to the Veloce website click here. With all the detail and hundreds of glossy color pictures, of some of the best Lambrettas ever made, you won’t be disappointed.

Music for this show is from native New Yorker, long time studio musician and session guitarist Chris Juergensen and Todd Sharpeville both on the podsafe music network.

Episode 64 – Vespa GTS Scooter Bling and Scooter News

I have been waiting for an accessory order from Motorsports Scooters to arrive and last week was like Christmas. This past weekend I spend time in the garage mounting crash bars and a smoke colored mini windscreen to my Vespa GTS and I like the results. I was pretty set on getting the crash bars, but it took me a while to settle on the windscreen. The feedback on ModernVespa forum, like most scooter forums, was a great help in deciding what to buy. There are pros and cons to full sized vs. mini windscreens, but I settled on something that would primarily divert the wind. I always wear my full face helmet and a mesh jacket so I don’t feel I need full coverage. Now I am left with only one other concern. Bella, the name I have given my GTS, in memory of our little Wheaton Terrier dog, has developed the dreaded roller weights rattle. I plan on visiting the Vespa dealer this week and will talk with Dave Munn before making any decisions, but again, ModernVespa forum has been very informative and has helped make me more knowledgeable before I even set foot in the scooter shop.

Scooter News and Blog Posts

  • Orin O’Neil at Scootin Old Skool writes about Seattle’s biggest scooter rally Scooter Insanity 21. They also showed the film Mondo Scooterama featuring Seattle area scooterists. For me the highlight would have been the special guest: J.P. Patches. Check Orin’s blog for the latest.
  • Steve Guzman at The Scooter Scoop spotted the Kymco People S300i, on motoblog.it and Italian site, unfortunately it sounds like this beautiful is bound for the Euro market. So, here’s a question, why do all these manufactures pawn off the small displacement scooters in the USA and keep the classy designs for other markets?
  • New York Times auto section had a story about renting a Vespa and touring Rome. From the itinerary it looks like they cover a lot of the city, including many of the main Piazzas and parks. The idea comes from Sergio Caggia, founder of Nerone Tours who has been organizing private walking tours of the city for the past ten years. If you are feeling brave, check out the story and make your plans.
  • Motorcycle.com this past week posted a video test ride of the Vespa  Mp3 500i.e., giving us another look at the three wheeled scooter from a motorcyclist’s perspective. The riding pictures are quite good and the comments are positive although sometimes shallow. Coming in at just under $9k  it isn’t for everyone.

Music for this show is from the Podsafe music network and Lil Ed Williams and the Blues Imperials.  Lil Ed is one of the last authentic West Side Chicago blues men. He plays an amazing smokin’ slide guitar and bats out Chicago style shuffles and slow blues.

Can old folks really rock?

One of the great rock anthems of my youth is The Who’s My Generation. I can’t tell you how many bands I have played in where all the songs had this message. Of course we always emphasized the most alienating lyrics like “don’t try to dig what we all say” and “hope I die before I get old”. Now that I have a few years under my belt, as well as a few pounds, I understand that some of that was the usual adolescent angst, but still find myself screaming those same familiar lyrics and living a life of paradoxical intention (look it up).

It may be old news to some, but several years ago the BBC put together a documentary on the isolation and imprisonment experienced by the elderly which included the following video of the Zimmers, featuring a 90 year old lead singer. Think about it…are you ever really too old to ROCK?

Episode 52 – New Vespa verses Old Vespa

vespa-gts-front.JPG

SHOWNOTES: Like most of you, I have developed my scooter interests over a long period of time and have been influenced by the things I have read, people I have met and the unexplainable. There are many scooterist who are utilitarian. They ride for lots of reasons, but mostly because of the efficiency or the ease of commuting. Where I am going with all of this, is to talking about what motivates each of us to take up an activity that sometimes is dirty, sometimes dangerous and other times just an outlet for never having really grown up. In my case it is definitely the last thing I mentioned.
For the past three months I have perused the scooter magazines like I use to do with the Sears Christmas Catalog, marking all the pages, circling the things I wanted, weighing the pros and cons of this scoot over that scoot. Two weeks ago I ended up on Craig’s list. Did I mention that I and a chronic window shopper? When ever I get questions about looking for used scoots, I suggest, “first go to Craig’s list”, because you get a good idea what is available in your area and as long as you steer away from all the Chinese junk, you’ll be fine. Well, in my case, a dream machine appeared. It was a 2006 Vespa GTS. I knew that I couldn’t afford a new GTS, so this seemed almost too good to be true. It was fairly priced and had only 1300 miles on it. After an email and talking with the owner, who had the interesting name of Fox, I rented an Enterprise cargo van and headed up to Maryland. Of course, on the way there I got lost, that is to be expected, but when I arrived Fox proved to be a fascinating character who is a bit of a celebrity in his community. Fox has quite a history, although I didn’t hear all of it. He appears to be an adventurous type who walks with a slight limp from his motorcycle racing days. He apparently has owned just about every brand of motorcycle or scooter around. So why dump this beautiful scoot? “I am tired of it and I’m on to other things.” I considered Fox’s ADD, my good fortune and with the help of his friend Mike, loaded the scooter up for the trip back to Richmond. All I could think about when I left Fox was getting back and eating, but every time I looked in the review mirror, the headlight of that elegant bike stared right back at me. It was then that I realized that after all the dreaming and talking and even your suggestions, I had come back to the Vespa for one specific reason, it is beautiful. I have aways been a sucker for the Italian sense of style and this new scoot has it. How do these things happen? In my world things happen for a reason, and although I don’t know why this has happened, I plan on enjoying it. I’m not giving up on my old classics, but at least I will have a scooter that feels like a part of the family and will fit in with all the rest.

Blog Posts

  • The new 2008 Amerivespa site up and running. The site has a beautiful art deco picture for this year’s event.
  • Jon, who runs the Yamaha Zuma Forum sent me an email several weeks ago to reminded me that there are other scooterist out there. Take a look at their forum and join their Friday or Saturday evening Chat.

Music for this show is from the Podsafe Music Network