Vespa Chicago closing?

2strokebuzz sources report that local Piaggio/Vespa dealer Vespa Chicago will soon close their Vespa Boutique on Diversey and their showroom in Maywood (within the Volkswagen dealership of parent company West Suburban Auto Group). The new Vespa dealer for Chicagoland is rumored to be Motoplex USA, a motorcycle/powersports dealership with showrooms in Worth and Joliet, IL, and an upscale Chicago showroom on Wells Street called “Old Town Motocycle Shoppe.”

As Motoplex did not immediately reply to our confirmation request, this information is still hearsay, but such a move seems absolutely consistent with recent changes in Piaggio’s strategy. West Suburban seemed unlikely to add Piaggio brands Moto Guzzi and Aprilia, while Motoplex is already an Aprilia dealer. Old Town Motocycle Shoppe has a prime upscale retail location and employees with motorcycle experience, and Motoplex’ other two dealers may be more accesible to suburban and even rural customers. According to one of our sources, Vespa Chicago’s general manager Dan Kay will move to Motoplex along with Vespa/Piaggio. It is unclear whether Piaggio or West Suburban Auto Group terminated the relationship, why it was terminated, or exactly when the transition will take place. Vespa Chicago opened in 2000, they’ve been Chicago’s sole dealer since Vespa’s return to the United States in 1999.

Kymco giving away Amerivespa trips

Amerivespa 2006 is, happily, shaping up to be quite the pan-scooter event. Starting life as the national Vespa rally combined with Denver’s legendary Mile High Mayhem rally, it also now encompasses this year’s Lambretta Jamboree and Stellabration. Main sponsor Kymco is giving away vacation packages to the Rally to ten lucky winners.

D.C. Rob’s Cannonball for cancer research

If you spend any (most) of your time on Scoot.net Chat or the BBS, you’ve probably met Rob Downs III, AKA “D.C. Rob.” If that doesn’t ring a bell, you might remember him as “Rob who got hit by a semi on the Cannonball Run.” A few months ago, Rob’s father, Robert Downs Jr., was diagnosed with a rare form of skin cancer. Rob is riding again in this year’s Cannonball Run, and decided to try to raise money for cancer research and awareness. He’ll be riding about 3500 miles, and his goal is to raise one dollar per mile ($3500) for the ACS. Donations can be made directly to American Cancer Society online (no amount is too small), and he’s looking for corporate/equipment sponsors as well (email Rob).

Two rides on Saturday, April 22

The spring itch to ride manifests itself via two Chicago-area scooter rides happening next Saturday (April 22): The Heck’s Angels (warning: MySpace) are sponsoring a Benefit Ride for Kalaisha Watrous, and all are wecome to donate and participate. (Info about Kalaisha’s accident.) Also next Saturday is Scooterworks’ annual Spring Ride, (more info to come). I heard some girl behind me on the street the other day say “God, it’s GORGEOUS out” and out of nowhere (without even seeing her) I got the temptation to turn around and say “it JUST GOT GORGEOUS-ER!” but I chickened out.

Reminder- two weekend rides!

Looks like a good weekend for riding, 2sb might even show up for once:

  • Saturday: Chicago Scooterist Motorcycle ride. Leaves from Pontiac (1531 N Damen Ave) at noon. For scooterists with motorcycles (or very fast, reliable scooters). Invite your motorcyclist friends. Route includes stop at Big Basin Saloon, a riverside biker/boater bar. (off I-55 so you can take the interstate back into the city if you wish.)
  • Sunday, 11:30am Nitro’s Top Notch Burger Run, leaves from Rancho Nitro, (3120 N Elston) at 11:30. Inner-city ride, everyone welcome.

Progressive publishes motorcycle accident/theft stats

Last month, Progressive Insurance published a list of collision and theft statistics for 89 metropolitan areas. Chicago surprisingly placed slightly below the national average on both charts, 64th (of 89) “most likely” for collision, and 52nd (of 89) for theft. Just don’t let your bike out of your site in Honolulu, where theft is 4.28 times more likely than the national average. Thanks for the tip, Vespaway.

Waxon7 Headlines Double Door Thursday

Waxon 7 at Double Door flyerAs any longtime 2strokebuzz reader can tell you, Waxon7 is pretty much the house band of Chicago scooter parties. Abe (the “singer”) leaves his desk at Scooterworks every night to become the Patrick Bateman of Rock and Roll, stripping it down like a Lincoln Park Trixie layered-up in JCrew for a Chicago winter. Guitarist Vee Sonnets crashed my wedding in a red velvet suit. The other guys in the band, well, I’ve never heard them speak, they’re barely human, just some vaguely hispanic mutants Abe brewed up in his crawlspace to help him spread the word. Add some barely-legal go-go dancers and a crowd full of scooterists, and any basement shithole they play is magic. Thursday night just might be their definitive show, they’re headlining the Double Door, the biggest venue they’ve ever played. Cover is $7, or $5 with this flyer, and they’re handing out W7 t-shirts to their fans. Don’t miss it.

Springtime in Chicago

Ah, the Jewel bags are stuck in trees, the melting snow is revealing fossilized dog poo, illnoise shaved his beard, it must be springtime in Chicago! And so even though the thermometer is showing a balmy 39° and we still have our annual May blizzard to look forward to, Chicago is gearing up for scooter season with several rides:

  • Saturday April 8 Chicago Area Scooterist Motorcycle Ride (for scooterists w/motorcycles or 60mph+ scooters), 3-hour ride through Southwest Chicago, meet at Pontiac Grill, 1531 N Damen Ave., at noon.
  • Sunday April 9 South Side ride to Top Notch Beef Burger at 2116 w 95th Street. Departs at 11:30 from Ranch de Nitro
  • Saturday April 22 Scooterworks ride and open house, details to come.
  • Sunday April 23 Walneck’s Motorcycle Swap Meet, Woodstock Illinois
  • Saturday May 13 Stock Car Racing at Sycamore Speedway, Sycamore, IL. Racing starts at 8, ride leaves Chicago from Atomix at 6:30 PM

Amerivespa 2006 registration starts April 1

The Amerivespa 2006 site has been updated with a more-or-less final itinerary. Amerivespa is the official national Vespa Club of America rally, and will take place July 27-30 in Denver, CO. Online registration opens on Saturday. Registering online gets you more swag for your money, joining VCOA saves you $10, as well as four issues of American Scooterist and other good stuff.