The Incredibly Boring History of 2strokebuzz
In May of 1995, Illnoise and Vina (who would one day become his wife) ventured out to the suburbs of Chicago to look at a Vespa Primavera. Illnoise had been hunting for a scooter for a couple months, and in 1995, he was limited to two options: go to a motorcycle dealer and buy a Yamaha Jog/Spree or Honda Helix/Elite, or practice the dark arts of classified ads (in print, even, online classifieds were still a couple years away). He was surprisingly lucky to have come across several Vespas for sale in a short span of time, but each was either unsatisfactory or out of his price range. The Primavera in Elmhurst turned out to be reasonably priced ($950) and in reasonably good shape, so without an iota of a clue of how to ride a scooter, he bought it and rode it back to the city, skidding through red lights, stalling every other block, and fending off would-be passengers as he passed through a Puerto Rican festival.
Lost and without a clue, he hit the web and found very little, other than Mr. Mark’s Original Motor Scooter Home Page (still frozen in time here), the usenet group alt.scooter. The only magazine available was Scootering, which was expensive, hard to find, and kind of silly. Most scooterists at the time were hardcore skinheads or mods or ska fans, and while illnoise enjoyed these subcultures, he wanted to find a broader range of scooterists. He decided to start a magazine of his own. He called it “Nice Moped, Asshole!” but at the last minute changed the name to 2 Stroke Buzz, citing “the mental buzz you get from riding, the physical buzz you get from inhaling 2-stroke exhaust, and the gossip/news ‘buzz’ about scootering.” The Two Stroke Smoke (TSS) mailing list (now a Yahoogroup, following several schisms) started around the same time, causing minor confusion.
Three issues were originally printed, one in Spring 1996, the second in late summer 1996, and the third in the summer of ’97. A fourth issue was finished but never printed for lack of budget. The original “issues” and the stories behind their production, are available as .pdf files on this site.
Frustrated by the amount of money and time it took to produce the ‘zine, Illnoise gave up on it for a couple years, but was more active in scootering than ever. Work got more hectic, Illnoise and Vina were married and bought a house, and 2 Stroke Buzz fell by the wayside.
But illnoise missed doing the ‘zine. He met many good friends while working on it, and was very proud of the magazines themselves. It just wasn’t worth all that time and money to put out a handful of magazines. Around this time, the internet was blooming, and frequently-updated, fun sites like Suck and McSweeneys inspired him to take 2strokebuzz to the internet, where it could be updated frequently for little expense, and be seen by anyone interested in having a look. On June 1st, 2000, as a birthday gift to illnoise from vina, 2strokebuzz.com was launched.
The first year or so was slow going as illnoise struggled with wysiwyg html editors and ftp updates, but illnoise and vina managed to update fairly regularly, with feature-length stories, photos, short anecdotes, and jokes. But word of mouth spread (as illnoise was on every newsgroup he could find) and the site was popular with scooterists.
The big breakthrough camed when illnoise discovered a program called Moveable Type, that allowed him to set up templates and then upload stories and links much more simply. this new version of 2strokebuzz launched just as the word “blog” was starting to be whispered around the internet. 2strokebuzz appears to have been the first entirely scooter-related blog on the internet, and with these more frequent (often several times daily) updates and reader interaction via comments, (and fantastic contributions from many others) the site grew to be among the most popular scooter-related sites in the world.
But alas, hackers and spammers also loved Moveable Type, and in 2003 and again, fatally, in 2004, the site’s database was corrupted by comment spam. A new daughter, a busy year at work, and frustration left 2strokebuzz more or less dormant for more than a year.
Thanks to some actual begging by people who missed the site, the third rebirth of 2strokebuzz came in February, 2006. The temporary absence had allowed a lot of competition in the scooter blog world to develop, but discerning scooter blog readers know where to go first for dodgy, biased scooter news.
The technical info
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