World’s Largest Scooter Ride

Scooter Therapy, Madison, WI’s Genuine/Kymco dealer is attempting to enter the Guinness Book of World Records on April 17 with “The World’s Largest Scooter Ride.” We heard rumors of this a couple weeks ago, and found it curious: Isle of Wight organizers brag that their 2008 Sunday ride was Guinness-verified as the world’s largest parade of scooters with about 5000. Even though there’s no mention of this record on Guinness’ site, European rallies routinely top 1000 scooters.

It turns out, despite the vague name of the event, Scooter Therapy is trying to break a 2005 Dutch record for Largest Parade of Mopeds (motorcycles Under 50cc), which currently stands at 674. All mopeds and scooters are welcome, but only those under 50cc will count towards the record.

I don’t know what kind of moped population Madison has these days (maybe it’s through the roof, unlike most states, WI law clearly specifies 50cc scooters as mopeds, legal to operate with a regular driver’s license, and Madison is a relatively affluent college town) but that still seems like a lot of bikes, considering that the biggest (and more-publicized) midwestern scooter and moped rallies rarely attract half that many. When you limit it to 50cc bikes, and hold it on the same weekend as a big moped rally in Louisville, that just doesn’t seem possible, but maybe they know something I don’t. In any case, it’s a ride, it’ll be a good time, and they’re giving away a Genuine Roughhouse 50, so if you’re in the area you’ll want to check it out. Here’s hoping they pull it off and steal the title from those stinking Nederlanders!

Swedish Army Huskies

We try to only talk about motorcycles when it’s absolutely necessary, but with Cold Weather Challenge fever heating up and a few threads going about the snowmobilification of scooters, Mad Man Maddox posits an alternate scheme based on Sweden’s late-seventies military Husqvarna. Even motorcycle-haters can love a 250 automatic, but it’s the ‘winter package’ that will send gonzo CWC would-bes on an errand to the welding supply shop. These Huskies feature spring-mounted outrigger skis! On roads, they pop up out of the way and you put your feet on the pegs. On snow, you rest your feet on the skis, which automatically adjust themselves for cornering and snow height. Brilliant! If that doesn’t sound like fun, check out this video:

Yesterday I demanded Brooke procure some video of Bob and Colin racing ski-scooters across Lake Minnetonka with “Take Me With U” playing in the background. But scratch that, now I demand footage of you psychotic Minnesotans tearing up Michele Bachmann’s front yard on dual-ski outriggers. Get on it!

Oh, if 2SB only had Top Gear’s budget.

Team S Equipe

Neville Frost

(Isle of Man) regulations stated that “works” teams weren’t allowed, so the guys formed their own team christened “Team S Equipe.” Unknown at the time was the fact that “Equipe” in French means “Team…”

A must-read account of the Arthur Francis S-Type Lambrettas and the men who raced them, with loads of truly awesome photos and memorabilia.
Continue reading “Team S Equipe”

Dumba Dumba Dumba: Madness’ “City”

Madness’ awesome TV commercials for the Honda City, The City was a compact hatchback with a matching folding scooter that tucked into the back, a concept that deserves to be revisited with the Fit. The jingle was later reworked as the “In the City” single, and “Honda Honda Honda” was replaced with “Doomba Doomba Doomba.”

(Thanks, Heather, awesome find!)

The “American Girl in Italy” Lambrettista

Surely you’ve seen the poster, it has graced countless dorm rooms, and hangs in every other Italian restaurant in Chicago. Ruth Orkin’s photo “American Girl in Italy” has been a popular symbol of Italy for decades, but the first thing any scooterist sees is the early Lambretta to the right of the frame. Corriere della Sera recently tracked down the Lambrettista (now 79 and living in America) and interviewed him,. From what little sense the Google translation makes (he’s a Clint Eastwood lookalike? What?), it sounds like a fascinating story.

Soviet Scooters

Here’s a good brief rundown of the Soviet-era scooter industry, featuring some good photos of the Tula Turist and T-200, and a 1974 Vyatka “3,” which I’d never seen before. If that’s not enough Warsaw Pact-ion for you, Autosoviet has lots more info and photos of Tula scooters and Vyatka’s better-known Vespa knockoff plus more than you ever wanted to know about Vostok, Dnepr Minsk, Voskhod, CZ, and more.

It’s about TIME…

Chad Schaefer (months ago) passed along five great stories from TIME Magazine’s newly-available-online archives. They were decades-old to begin with, so you’ll forgive the delay. Here are some excerpts, click the title to see the full stories.


TIME, October 17, 1955
…Italian motor-scooter enthusiasts, often harshly criticized for their desire to dominate the road, were still glowing at [79-year-old Pius XII’s] understanding words to a group of Vespa riders: “Those who complain of your noise, do they ever think that your speed may take you to church in time for Mass, or that you may be rushing a sick person to the hospital? Be patient with those who abuse you.”…

Rocks Round the Clock

TIME, August 14, 1964
… Suddenly, the kids began ranging through town in packs, stopping traffic, banging on cars, chanting (“Up the Mods”), looking for trouble. They raided cafes for dishes and glasses to throw, knives and forks to brandish, chased each other up the beaches and down the streets under a hail of rocks and crockery. On the promenade, herds of noisy Rocker motorcycles roared incessantly; buzzing them in hand-to-handlebar combat were enough Mod motor scooters to hold mass Vespa services.…

Fuzz with a Buzz

TIME, January 13, 1967
…the New York police have found a way to let one man cover the ground of five: the motor scooter. Police Commissioner Howard R. Leary has already checked out 575 cops on 80 Vespas and Lambrettas. And he has just asked for funds to buy 300 more. Eventually, he wants all 2,000 patrolmen to mount up…

Drunk astronauts and cosmonauts on scooters in Paris

(no original title) TIME, June 13, 1969
…the next morning [U.S. Astronaut] McDivitt hustled out to the Air Show, where he and fellow Apollo 9 Crewmen David Scott and Russell Schweiclcart showed Cosmonauts Vladimir Shakalov and Alexei Yeliseyev around the American exhibit. The proceedings started somewhat stiffly; then a bottle of bonded bourbon was broken out and things began to loosen up. By the time the revelers reached the Russian exhibit with its plentiful stock of vodka, they were saluting everything from Snoopy to space medicine. Toasted to a light crisp, the space travelers finally piled onto their Vespas and scooted back to the American pavilion—two hours late for their ensuing engagement.…

Victim of Affluence

TIME, February 7, 1972
…In 1970. only 55,000 Lambrettas were sold compared with 180,000 a decade earlier. Faced with the realities of a stronger economy, the late Innocenti’s son and nephew, who now run his company, have stopped production of the Lambretta in Italy but will keep a parts depot. They are arranging a deal with the Indian government and a Bombay company to move Lambretta production to India beginning in 1974…

In Memory of Marshall Tito: A Scooter Contest

To celebrate the upcoming officially recognized birthday of Josip Broz Tito I would like to offer the opportunity for one lucky trainspotter to win a fantastic Scootmoto decal. The first person to identify the model scooter displayed at 1:07 of this BBC video will win this prize. Don’t put links in your response below just the make and model and I’ll ‘fact check’. (If the feed goes dead here’s the direct link: )

Disclaimer: Not an official contest. Subject to Bb pulling the post and replacing it with a helmet review. But I swear I’ll send one to the first lucky winner, as soon as I get around to it. -bgk