News briefs

News Briefs

I’m falling behind again, it must be the beginning of hockey season (and the launch of the Galewood Cookshack, more on that later).

Aussie motor group speaks up for scooters

As Spring arrives in Australia, bringing along a U.S.-like scooter boom, The Age quotes the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce:

Scooter riders need safer travel routes, better sharing initiatives, better education for riders and drivers, better traffic management, better licensing and training laws as well as better infrastructure. Government policymakers and road planners are failing powered two-wheeled transport users. We need a system of designated `safe routes’ and better traffic management features to make road-sharing safer for scooter and motorcycle riders. It is time the growing army of scooter riders was heard and their concerns addressed.

Hear hear! We feel the same way in the U.S. (and we want parking!). Some Chicago scooterists are looking to join forces with ABATE, the next meeting is Wednesday, September 20. We’ll post more details soon.

Around Australia

Australian scooterist Julio Languiller is a quarter of the way into his 15-day, 10,000-mile trip around Australia for at-risk and homeless Australian youth. Languilller holds world endurance records on Honda 50, 125, and 150cc scooters and is a veteran of many long-distance charity rides. The Cannonball Run starts in less than a month, their ride is less than a quarter the distance in two-thirds the time, but they’re mostly riding vintage scooters, not 600cc Honda Silverwings, so we’ll cut them some slack.

Gadabout town on a Swallow

Barry Hartnell of Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia shows off his motorcycle collection to the ABC, including his pride and joy, a Swa… sorry, Swall… snort! er, Swallow Gadabout, made by:

“…the people who went on to make Jaguar motor cars. (The Vespa) arrived in England and they didn’t have anything to counter it, so they quickly sat down and made this horrible little bike out of steam pipe and tin…”

A 1950 scooter book in Hartnell’s possession:

“…shows all the bikes from A to Z, and when it comes to the Swallow Gadabout, there are seven and a half pages of it’s virtues and how wonderful the bike is and further on in the book you get to “V” for Vespa and it simply says ‘small scooter made in Italy’.”

Great story, great quotes.

Deus Ex Machina

Deus Ex MachinaAs the popularity of motorcycles and scooters spreads to well-to-do city-dwellers, there’s been an increase in urban “motorcycle boutiques” (Vespa and Harley each sport a flashy upscale retail location in Chicago) where the machines are a distant afterthought to a line of expensive clothing and accessories. Deus Ex Machina in Camperdown, Australia has taken this trend a step farther by selling a variety of late-model “retro” bikes and dirtbikes in a similar environment. They’ve even produced several custom “Deus” motorcycles and host a gallery with rotating motorcycle exhibits. While Vespa and Harley’s “shoppes” seem like a cheap cash-in, Deus comes off as a more personal, heartfelt venture, though that might just be the utterly amazing graphic design talking. Unlike Vespa’s ho-hum (or plagarized-and-settled-out-of-court) t-shirt designs, Deus’ shirts almost seem worth $50.