Archive for SCTRCST Podcast

Toronto 2009 Twisted Wheel Scooter Club Rally

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.

Twisted Wheel Scooter Rally Click HERE
Twisted Wheel SC

Changing Travel Plans

amerivespa2009On 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. 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. But for the next few weeks I still have a regular job.

Jason Reeves and the Vespa Experiment – Episode 94

 

Back in April I was following a few of my peeps on twitter when someone posted a tweet about a group of three musicians who were putting together a west coast tour called The Vespa Experiment with sponsorship from Vespa USA. As an extension of the “Go Green” campaign Vespa was providing three musicians with scooters and they were planning a ride from LA to San Francisco with stops along the way to play small venues. Usually these marketing things don’ t really catch my eye, but I became more interested when I began to look into the back story and found out that Jason Reeves, one of the singer song writers, had started his career in Iowa City Iowa and had become one of Myspace’s most successful artists. To date his songs have gotten more than 6 million plays. Those are big numbers on or off the Internet.

I became even more curious, when I read Brian’s post over at 2strokebuzz, where he rightful railed about the miss-perception that scooters can make a significant impact on our environmental problems (bring on the hate mail).

I hope you will take a minute and listen to what Jason has to say about all this and make your own judgement about the Vespa marketing machine. I found Jason to be unpretentious and surprisingly reserved. It reminded me of what most of us were like when we first got into scooting. I say it’s all about enjoy the ride. It doesn’t need to really be any more complicated than that. With all the strong personalities in scooting, it’s nice to talk with someone who is low key and far from fanatic about things. Jason is new to scooting, but hopefully the scooter bug will stick with him long after he does 450 miles on a Vespa GTS.

I would like to thank Jason for taking time out of the tour to speak with me and also thank TJ at Warner Brother Records for helping put the interview together.


Day 9 – The Vespa Experiment

1977 Mopeds Racing – Episode 93

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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

Music for this show is by Olio and The Redline

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Scooter Rallies and a Pinball Championship – Episode 92

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2009 Dogwood ClassicThe 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.

NYC Scooter Club Block Party

Here is taste of what they have:

epclogo250black 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
Nick Bennett 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.

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Building an Electric Vespa Scooter – Episode 91

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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.

Bio_Picture_-_Final_-_lowres_smallPod safe Music for this show is from the Podsafe Music Network and features the Redline a Chicago based band.

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Scooter Tweets, Rockabilly and Mashups – Episode 90

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The last couple of weeks I have been ignoring my blogging and podcasting responsibilities. Sorry. I was sick most of the week after returning from Denver and haven’t gotten back in the groove until this week. This hasn’t stopped me from scooting a bit during the brief warm weather hits that are popping up every few days. The 7 Hills Scooter Club had a delayed ride a few weeks ago after the first Sunday ride of March was rained. Although everything in the garage is running, I was a bit lazy not wanting to risk a break down, so I took the Vespa GTS out.

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My favorite scooterist, Alex from Peace Scooter has posted a video on her site she is calling a minumentary. It a mini-documentary that chronicles her two years of scooting for peace. It occurred to me this week that Alex didn’t have one of today’s great social connectors when she was riding. I am talking about Twitter. Loved by some and hated by many, Twitter is an amazing tool for connecting. I use it myself, mostly when I travel. Right now there is a guy called the Twitchhiker who in just a few weeks has traveled from New Castle in England to New Zealand San Fransisco by using twitter to connect with people who help him get from one place to another. You can see all the details of his trip on his website.

I got tagged as one of the top five scooter blogs on the Go Motor Scooter website. I am not really sure this has any credibility to it, as I tend to think that reader and podcast listeners’ feedback is most valuable. It may be a bit pedantic, but shouldn’t we really be talking about the real powerhouse scooter blogs like 2-stroke buzz, Scootin Old Skool , The Scooter Scoop and Scooter in the Sticks. I have always thought of them as having an editorial credibility and an authority that I can only aspire to. But my thanks goes out to Paul, who does the site. Any link love is appreciated.

I want to comment on a post over on 2-stroke buzz, where the blog posts are usually to the factual with minnimal editorializing. But in this case a bit of editorial license was just what the scooter doctor ordered when it came to talking about Steve Guzmans’ departure from Carter Brothers and SYM. The post makes several very good points about how the power-sports industry not seem to understanding the scooter lifestyle. We are very accepting of almost anyone who comes into the community with an honest interest in scootering. One of the problems, not that I profess to know anything about Steve’s situation with SYM, but when a short-term perspective motivates what you do, you can expect the deal to go south pretty fast. Thanks to 2-stroke buzz for speaking up and we wish Steve the best in keeping up the Scooter Scoop Blog and anything else he jumps into. He is an honest, straight-up kind of guy.

Scooter Website Link
All Styles Scooters – A ton of information, including brochures,repair manuals, owners manuals, schematics and much more from a scooter parts site out of England. Focus is mostly on Vespa and Lambretta, but not just vintage bikes. They have instructions on making racing modification including barrel tuning, intakes and plenty more. The tech page seems to compliment all the parts options they offer, the kind of thing that could really get someone like me in trouble.

Music For this show

jonnybarberpromophotoDance Hall Night from Jonny Barber, an old friend of Chuck Hughes another Denver Rock-A-Billy star and also known as the Velvet Elvis. Jonny has played with numerous and is associated with the Rock-A-Billy Record Co. label. I love this music, but to get the full experience you have to see it live. Jonny is constantly on the road so make sure you check his website to catch a live show.
Mashuptown has endless remixes of known and unknown music. Six Songs Collide played on this show mashes: Jason Mraz, Howie Day, Five For Fighting, Angela Ammons, Boyzone and 3 Doors Down.

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The Vespa 180ss and Going Back to Denver – Episode 89

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Spring is fast approaching here in the capital city of the south. This has meant working hard to get all my scooters running. My favorite scoot is the 1965 Ferrari red Vespa 180ss, but for most of the winter it has had suffered from the sniffles and congestion along with a loss of power when ever I leaned into the throttle. The other problem was it wouldn’t run without being choked into unconsciousness. What do you think? bad petrol, clogged jets, bad points, an air leak…the possibilities just get worse from there. I took it to ScootRichmond and Dave asked about my tinkering history with the little beauty. I had removed the carburetor, cleaner the fuel screen, replaced the carb/case gasket, pulled and cleaned the jets, flushed the air cleaner and adjusted the air/fuel mixture. But what I hadn’t done is completely disassemble the carburetor. When I pick up my scoot, Dave showed me the float and bowl which was still covered with grime and rust, a remnant from the old rusted gas tank. Once again, a great example of a job halve done.

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wordcamp-denver

I am headed out west this weekend to attend the WordCamp Denver. The conference is created for enthusiasts, users, developers, designers, and fans of WordPress, an open source software platform that functions as the backbone of many websites like SCTRCST.  WordCamp will cover a lot of technical stuff, but also offers a track on blogging and content development. Hopefully a full day of geeking out with other bloggers will inspire and teach me a few things about writing and communicating with readers.

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Thanks to Erik, Steve and all the other Denver fans who have been emailing invitations to get together. The members of the Misfit Toys Scooter Club even offered to hound Sportique Scooters into put me on a scooter for their Sunday ride. Unfortunately, I get to Denver mid-day Friday, I’m in Camp all day Saturday and then up early Sunday to catch a 7 o’clock flight back to the east coast. If you are not already doing so, follow me on twitter we might be able to do an impromptu tweet-up. If it doesn’t happen, I am planning to be back a month or two in time for the spring thaw.

Music for this show features Ben Hammond and is from the Pod safe Music Network.

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Denver and a Visit to Sportique Scooters – Episode 88

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If you follow me on Twitter you know that I made a quick trip to Denver. I had plenty of time to explore the depths of my ipod and found two podcast you must know about. The first is “Digital Flotsam”, a nice break from a monotone life, with PW Fenton a creative writer who reminisces and remarks on himself and the world. The other is irreverent and will likely offend anyone who has even a speck of moral or ethical standards. “You Look Nice Today” seems like three frat boys in conversation, looking for any opportunity to exaggerate the truth or perpetuate an obvious lie. Wait and listen for those moments of brilliant humor.

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I am compelled to seek out scooter shops. On this trip to Denver I wanted to visit Sportique Scooters in Englewood. The original store is an old gas station on the west-side in Denver. I don’t know the whole growth story surrounding Sportique, except to say that some of their success has to be credited to Colin, one of the original owners. If that name sounds familiar, it probably because he has been around forever and is an author. Colin is now calling the Englewood store home, where most of Sportique’s vintage bikes are being sold. The shop had plenty of vintage and new Vespas, Lambrettas and a surprising Honda Ruckus with a stretched chrome frame and performance exhaust.

Colin talked about how he is going to keep the next Big Ruckus that gets traded in, referencing it as a good scoot for old guys. Here is one of Denver’s early scooterist, who has his own sorted scooter past like all of us talking about slowing down and getting old. I guess no matter who you are, eventually you start to recognize that things never stay the same. Colin has done a lot for the scooter community over the years and with a fourth shop planning to open in northern Colorado he definitely qualifies as a successful businessman, even though he likes to throwout around the f-bomb a lot. Thanks to Sportique Scooters for the welcome and friendly conversation.

Music for this show features The Mourning After and Chris Trapper of The Push Stars from the Podsafe Music Network.

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Pimped on TWIT and My New Video Venture – Episode 87

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This Week in Tech (TWiT) live taping
Image by Graham Ballantyne via Flickr

Welcome to all of you coming over after hearing about SCTRCST on TWIT (This Week In Tech). John C Dvorák mentioned the pod cast and the blog after I sent him a University of Richmond Spiders hooded sweatshirt. I know a marketing opportunity when I see it.

Those of you who read the blog know I am a big fan of the scooter videos. If you look in the blog and pod cast archives, you will find links to a number of rally videos, restorations and scoot lifestyle events. this is all aleadin to say that I have finally gotten around to using my digital video recorder. My first shots were of  last week’s Richmond 7 Hills Scooter Club ride out. So as if customary on Scootercast, I am going to share with you both my successes and screw-ups. My weapon of choice is a modestly priced Aiptek HD video camera. The plan was to attach it to my helmet using heavy duty Velcro. You would be wise to use as much Velcro as will fit on the camera and the helmet. When I reviewed my test video, I had taken 6 minutes of crisp, clear video, featuring the pavement. I had calebrated the angle of the camera, without putting the helment on, so after a few Velcro adjustments I had a helmet cam which provided an interesting rendition of the ride, albeit focused a little bit right of center. The video includes clips from the meet up at Crossroad Coffee and clips from the ride I am always talking about here in Richmond, the Riverside Drive ride. What I won’t go into how much work it is to edit a video, but it’s a lot. Hope you enjoy the results.


7 Hills Scooter Club Ride 2-1-09 from Dave Mangano on Vimeo.

Music for this show comes from the Podsafe music netork and features George Thorogood, a long time purveyor of blues music and specialist on the slide guitar. He did  the scooter classic, “One bourbon, one scotch one beer”.

More George Thorogood and the Destroyers album...
Image via Wikipedia
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Two Years of Podcasting about Scooters – Episode 86

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Today’s show marks a milestone, my second full year of podcasting and blogging. I owe you a great deal of thanks for encouraging me to continue working at it. Those first couple of  shows sure sound dodgy.

The scooter forums are lighting up in anticipation of the spring riding season. As usual the High Rollers Weekend in Las Vegas is being pimped all over the net. If you haven’t seen the videos and pictures from last year, it definitely looks like one of the years best party rallies. On Saturday night there will be a performance by ska legend Dave Wakeling and The English Beat. For full details of all events, see the High Rollers Weekend website.

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I frequently end my day by surfing the net for new scooter blogs. I skip the chinsese scooter sales sites and look for people writing about their interest and scooter passion.

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Image via CrunchBase

This past week, StumbleUpon took me to a sight dedicated solely to 50cc scooters and mopeds, one of my current obsessions. The site is called 50ccs and is written by a Michigan member of the Moped army, Micheal Edelman. Recent posts have included a rare Lohman diesel moped , a Zundapp, a Bellini and even an electric. Another StumbleUpon discovery of the week is only partly about scooters. Retro Thing is about vintage gadgets and technology written by a team based in Calgary and Chicago. One recent post is all about the resurgence of pinball. For those of you who can’t get to the Pinball Expo or the UK Pinball Show, but you are going to make it to the High Rollers Weekend in Vegas, consider hitting The Pinball Hall of Fame. So there it is a scooter – pinball link. Who knew I could ever make such a connection.

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Music for this show is from the Pod safe Music Network and features Vel Omarr. Check out his influences, like Jackie Wilson, Ottis Redding and Sam Cooke.