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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Back from WordCamp Denver

BarCamp/WordCamp Miami 2009
Image by seanosh via Flickr

This is my first post since attending Wordcamp Denver, where I was encouraged to write more about what I believe. Over and over, speakers talked about how “influence is not created by how many people you know, but by how freely you share your ideas and connect with people.” I have known for a long time that “knowledge is power” and when I was traveling a few weeks ago, this proved to be very true. It has been a day of bad weather on the east coast and my original early morning flight out of Denver on Delta was canceled. According to the ticket agent I wasn’t going to get home until midnight the next day, if I was lucky, so I should give up and come back the next day. I stood looking at hundreds of people standing in line, some yelling, others crying, most resigned to having sleep in the floor, eat crappy airport food and have their lives be miserable for the next two days.
You might say, “so what” this is air travel these days and even if it is uneventful, it sucks. But with millions of air-miles under my belt I have learned that there are a lot of secrets to traveling. First, I never believe what the ticket agent says and second I aways smile and say “yes sir/miss”. In this case I backed away and jumped on my wireless laptop and pulled out my Iphone to call Delta. The search was on for an alternative flight. Within 15 minutes I had purchased an affordable flight through Dallas/Ft Worth and began dreaming of sleeping in my own bed.
Another truth I have learned is that in many cases “those who know don’t say and those who say, don’t know”. Realizing this has made me rather intolerant of people withholding information. Although it may be revered in business as “a competitive advantage”, I think that in everyday life it becomes a way to demean others and neglect another truth I believe in, that we are all responsible for “the greatest good”.
Sitting in the airport last week, I calmly clicked to confirmed my ticket on line thinking “knowledge is power”. The Delta airline employees herd hundreds of people around, yelling, “stay in line. This is the only way to get re-booked”. As I walked away, I pulled a mother with two kids aside and said, “use you cellphone, call the Delta desk while you stand here, rebook over the  phone. You have to take care of yourself, they aren’t going to take care of you.”

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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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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...
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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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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.

Super 8mm Isn’t Just for Home Movies

This is “The Morning Run – Mizuno Ad“, Patrick Barry’s promo for sports company Mizuno was shot on 10 cartridges of 200T Vision 2 negative film stock with a Canon 1014E camera. Go to www.bluellamastudios.com for more on Patrick’s work. I happened upon this while looking into a post on scooters and retro-technology. What makes this fascinating is that this and a whole world of 8 mm camera fanatics are out there making beautiful clips, while the rest of us (me included) are fiddling around with little flip video cameras. Check out onsuper8.org where “The technology of yesterday becomes the artform of today”

Kodachrome 40 KMA464P Super 8 Cartridge
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About Scooters and More Important Things – Episode 85

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Some of you know that my politics lean a bit left. At one point in my life I think my family might have worried that I was part of the weather underground. Over the years I have morphed into a passionate community organizer. This was a good week. It started with an old fashion rally at the State capital that drew more than 500 people. Later that same say, people with all kind of disabilities flooded the committee hearing and demanded a voice in determining state budget cuts. Watching it all I thought to myself, this is the right thing to do.

After all the excitement and several long days, it was good to get back home and be able to retreat to the garage. I spent most of the day Friday, fashioning a new ignition coil, but even with the extra work I get no spark. This is another caution, before you take on restoring a piece of forty year old junk, triple check the availability of parts. I figure that I have two options, I either wait and hope that a new stator emerges from some dusty shelf or I go see if Dave the mechanic can construction some form of hybrid solution.

I have been noticing a number of scooter blogs that have started up in the past year and then have gone silent. So what happened? I think I know. I get focused on other things and all of a sudden it has been a week since I have posted. The other thing I rediscover is that bloggin and pod casting is work. You have to be disciplined, organized yourself and set a schedule or it just doesn’t happen. On January 29th I will have finished two years of blogging and pod casting. Come to think of it, thats a lot of talking (writing).

Webpicks

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  • Copart is a leading online remarketer of vehicles including scooters and motorcycles, selling more than 1 million vehicles per year.

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  • A very popular scooter post this week had to do with a Portuguese craftsman Carlos Alberto who hand built a beautiful wooden Vespa

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Music for this show is from the Podsafe Music Network and features The Plastic Soul Band

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The Scooting Police

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It is not unusual to see police in Italy riding motorcycles and scooters. Apparently this is becoming more true here in the U.S. and other parts of the world as documented at the aptly named “police scooters” website. I was also glad to see that it looks like New Orleans Vespa got a bit of the action down in the big easy.

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Scooting Today? But Baby it’s Cold Outside – Episode 84

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Cold weather doesn’t start in Richmond, VA until January and is usually over by the end of February. That’s not a season, that’s cold snap. So scooting here is mostly a matter of bundling up and staying warm. My prep consisted of purchasing a new riding suit.It is a First Gear one-piece, medium weight, lined and has reflective material sewn into the suit. It is large enough to step into and to fits over any of my other riding gear, without feeling like a wet suit. You know, the kind that you have to peel off? If you order one, be careful not to go too large, they are big.

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The new and old bike both appreciate a little winterizing with Sta-bil. The treatment is good for running in cold damp weather and if you are going to store your scoot for any length of time as it keeps adatives in the fuel from detriorating and removes water that might get into the tank through condensation.

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For other other old weather riding suggestions I am going to suggest a David Westman post at the SQREAM scooter Club. David rides his scooter all winter long and is the founder of the Denver SQREAM (Scooter Queers Riding Everywhere and More). He writes about about clothing, scooter maintanance and riding/road conditions.

This Weeks Webpicks

Music for this show is from the Podsafe Music Network and features the Brendan Boogie Band

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Scooter Holidays and a Mid-size Scooter Test – Episode 83

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For two weeks my hands were tied by the crash of my main desktop computer. I spent most of last week trying to cobble together a variety of old hardware and coax it back to life. Finally decided to take it to the computer man, who confirmed I had a dead hard drive. So, problem solved. Since then I have been building my podcasting infrastructure back up and organizing my files so I can get another show out.

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Marcel got me some sweet scooter related casual wear including another hooded sweatshirt. I can never have enough sweatshirts. I bought myself a Aiptek HD video camera to shoot the scooter events around the Richmond. I chose the Aptek over the Flip video camera, a very popular platform because it takes a large flashcard and offered more features. Watch for video from the next club ride, coming up this weekend.

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Steve over at the ScooterScoop blogged about an Australian video that compared mid sized scooters. I like the SYM Fiddle.  There aren’t many scooters that work well in a variety of situation, but this is one comes close. I first saw it first showed up at my local dealer here in Richmond. Later when I saw one out of the warehouse and out on a ride I thought it was attractive and had impressive performance for a mid-size scoot. Not all of bikes in the video are really comparable in size or performance. The big wheel scooters have distinctively different handling properties than the small wheeled ones and I think it is not fair to try to compare the two. The test puts them all through the same paces on a closed track. .

This week’s scooter web picks

  • An English site named Punks in Parkas and is authored by Stu who started scooting back in the 80’s.
  • A website that is all about the Vespa GS. Clinton will jump start your search, talking about what to look for in a restoration project scoot and what you will be facing when you start into the restoration.

Music for this show is from the Pod safe music network and features  Leaving Town Blues Matt Thorpe , Novelty Act The Eisenhowers and Bohemian Financial Rhapsody Geoff Smith

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