1995. I just got my first scooter. I’d met Alfredo on Usenet’s alt.scooter, we’d gone for a ride, he’d mentioned a scooter rally coming up in a few weeks, “We should go!” I got my scooter to get around town in style, I wasn’t so sure about diving into the “scene” of weirdo mods and skinheads, but it was worth checking out. All Alf had was a phone number. I called and talked to a girl named Kristen, she took down my address and said she’d mail me more info. A week later, I got a flyer in the mail. Continue reading “1995”
In 2003, writing about the CycleWorld motorcycle show, I wrote:
The Ruckus has “personal injury lawsuit” written all over it. (…) What can I say? it was hands-down the most ridiculous, ugly, pointless vehicle on display in the entire arena. And Grace, Vina and I all loved it. It’s basically a 2-wheeled ATV. You can’t look at it without thinking about ways to hurt yourself riding it. It simply inspires jackassery. It’s just begging to be covered in chicken wire and papier mache, or to be ridden “Bad-Route-style” through the woods while tripping, wearing nothing but cutoff shorts and a gorilla mask. Love it. It’s the future of scootering.
Here we are, ten years later, and my prophecy is fulfilled: Are You F*#kin Nuts? Chicago 2013. Actually it was fulfilled last year, when 40 riders attended the mostly-Ruckus-centered event, but as an expert globetrotting scooter journalist who posts once every two months these days if you’re lucky (you’re not), it passed right under my sad-old-man Cushman-polishing radar. We’ve been seeing more and more hot-rodded Ruckii at our own rallies in the past few years, and as far as I’m concerned, everyone’s welcome at most of our rallies, so we’re glad to have ’em, and more power to ’em, but obviously it’s not my demographic, I can’t even pretend to understand it, and I’m sure they’ve had their own blogs and tumblrs and sext aggregators and whatever it is that hipper, younger, carefree scooterists do these days to justify their existence. So as 2strokebuzz enters its wane of old age (seriously you guys, I need to pull the plug on this thing and put it out of its misery) cheers to the next generation, you’re just as stupid as we were and if you’re luckier than us, you’ll stay that way.
POC Phil has extolled the virtue of the AMA’s Vintage Motorcycle Days in Lexington, OH, as long as I can remember, he always comes back with some great bikes and great stories. This year, he asked us to let everyone know that the AMA is basically begging scooter shops and scooterists to participate this year, with a new Mods vs. Rockers event, and even free admission/vending for selected scooter shops. Here’s Phil’s spiel:
It’s not your average Mods Vs. Rockers – Here’s why:
The largest vintage motorcycle swap meet in the country. Last year I bought a Lambretta Li150 Special for $250…It’s not uncommon to find $400 Honda CB350’s with Titles!
Vintage Motorcycle Racing all weekend long. Watch guys on 1920’s Harleys and Indians slug it out on machines none of us are qualified to ride.
Infield Events like the Wall Of Death http://www.facebook.com/Wall.of.Death.ThrillShow If you haven’t seen it, you should…’nuff said.
Vintage Motorcross and Trials
They’re giving us a 40′ x 120′ tent for Vendors (FREE VENDING!!! Get in touch with Phil for more details)
Friday night Punk Rock Karaoke and DJ, Live Bands on Saturday.
Did I mention the LARGEST vintage motorcycle swap meet in the country?
This is a camping rally, there are proper toilets and showers. If you don’t want to bring your own food there are plenty of Vendors on location.
Downtown Lexington is a beautiful 10 minute ride from the racetrack/campground.
Oh, and did I mention they’re giving us a LAP OF THE TRACK!?!?!?!?
Bonfire, Camping, Riding Scoots around checking out cool old bikes and scrounging for that diamond in the rough, it’s a MUST DO!
How to Register: Don’t call me, don’t email me (unless you want to be a vendor) simply go here. As you can see they’ve set the pricing structure up so there’s a definite advantage to being an AMA Member.
Lastly – if you are an expert on Mod and you’re thinking about attending (I use the term “expert” loosely) get in touch with me – AMA is asking for a 40 minute seminar on “what is Mod?”.
Speaking of great scooter images, as we were a couple days ago, if you’re Facebook-inclined, definitely check out Scooter Stoke, they’ve been posting a couple simply amazing scooter pictures or scans every day. I don’t know who they are or where they come from, or where they’re finding this great stuff, but I hope they don’t stop. If they’re reading this and would like a 2strokebuzz contributor login, it’s all theirs.
If you love photography and motorcycles, you already love BikeExif, today they’ve posted an interview with Miguel Galluzzi, designer of the Ducati Monster and head of Piaggio’s new Advanced Design Center in Pasadena, CA. Perhaps we’ll find insight into the future of the Vespa?
Often blogs will just be a cyclical affair of reposting items and it seems a bit tired. But that’s really the nature of a weblog isn’t it? Sometimes there’s a real news scoop, an interesting editorial or just some eye candy. This is an example of the later to check out. Flickr user Panoramicpete has a very nice collection of scooter racing photos from days gone by. Da Nguyen from The Scooterist, a site that I’ll have to be sure to revisit, shared a few photos and one was in turn posted by the Ride The Machine blog. I expect that another page may now share the image set after seeing this. Or should we just stop wasting keystrokes and take up Tumblr?
SIP Scooter Shop shared a video on their Facebook page today. It is a National Geographic program clip about the Piaggio factory in Pontedera. The video has a few shots of vintage machines in their museum. But one of the views that appealed to me was the factory building tucked in the Tuscan hills shown in the background of the test ride shots. I don’t know if the buildings are the same, but it was reminiscent of those old aerial photos of the factory from the 1950s. Other parts show the processes involved in the building of their larger engines (What are they doing tossing crankshaft halves into big vats of rocks?!) and the assembly of the MP3 hybrid scooter. Not a 2-stroke in sight. I wonder where they build those? I focus on the visual aspects of the video because it’s all in Italian, a language I do not understand. If anyone wants to translate any remarkable points of what looks to be a standard factory tour for the kind of shows that used to make the Discovery Channel great before they jumped the shark, feel free to post below.
The New York Times Wheels Blog offers a report on the man behind the original design of the Vespa. The most interesting note for those immersed in all things Piaggio, is that he was left to design trade show displays instead of the helicopters that he really wanted to work on. He was a great designer because he started with the user and moved out from there. Today most things start with an industrial designers screen and are forced around a user, with poor results. Step away from the CAD software and Illustrator, dudes. Just because it makes a pretty picture does mean that it will make a useful object. D’Ascanio knew this. Lets be thankful that he didn’t have the tools that modern designers have.
Thanks to Scooterville in Minneapolis for sharing the post on facebook. The owner, Bob, once designed sets and trade show displays and now sells Vespas. Full circle.
Between July 1955 and July 1956, Wim Dussel and Manfred Uschold travelled the world on a Maico scooter with sidecar. 36 photos (from 10,000 negatives!) were published in Dussel’s 1957 book De wereld is nog altijd rond : per scooter dwars door Europa, Azië en Noord-Amerika, more than 400 are published in this must-see photo set.
Heinkelfest may not be the biggest rally of the year, even if all 350 of the Heinkel Tourists sold in the U.S. were still running. But any rally so carefully targeted deserves a shout, right? Organizer Michael McWilliams (who–you might have guessed–is also behind HeinkelTourist.com and the North American Heinkel Registry is a past-president of the Vespa Club of America and one of the nicest guys in scootering. Even if you find yourself Heinkel-less, or can’t make it to Colorado Springs later this month, you might want to print the handsome event poster for your garage.
Oh, geez, I was wearing one of my favorite t-shirts over the weekend and it occurred to me that I promised them a plug here (MONTHS ago). Check out Motor X – Graphic Tees from nopooh. “Francorchamps” (left… that’s a model, not me, he looks better in it.) is my favorite but they have a few great ones. I like their subtle non-douchey designs and I hope someday they give a few rare old motorscooters the same graphic treatment.
Mohs is an 87-year old Madison inventor/eccentric, he built the four-passenger scooter after hours at his school’s metal shop as a teenager. It’s not as elegant as the Vespa, introduced a year earlier, but the machine got some attention at the time, and Mohs rode it as far as Kentucky.