- Yamaha will present the FC-Aqel hydrogen fuel-cell scooter at the International Electric Automobile show in Yokohama.
- The 22-year old daughter of the Coldstone Creamery founders has been indicted for manslaughter after killing a scooterist in a Mesa, AZ drunk-driving accident this spring. Savannah Sutherland’s blood-alcohol content was .19% when tested by police. She faces up to 21 years in prison.
- This editorial from the Lawrence (KS) Journal-World just might be the most pointless and unresearched scooter story ever. The headline (“Born to be Mild,” yet again!) is just the tip of the iceberg.
- PiaggioUSA has landed the same rehashed press release in at least six newspapers this week, hitting all the “Vespanomics” talking points. Funny that the story was originally appeared in Philadelphia, where the Vespa dealer is closed and allegedly under investigation for fraud. If only the rest of PiaggioUSA was as efficient as their PR team.
- An Australian industry group reports Australian scooter sales are up 54.3% in the first 9 months of 2006 (vs. 2005).
- The University of Iowa joined the list of schools where a “park a scooter anywhere” mentality has become a problem. The Iowa City Council is considering adding more spaces for scooters and mopeds with designated parking permits, which cost $46 for nine months.
I’m falling behind again, it must be the beginning of hockey season (and the launch of the Galewood Cookshack, more on that later).
- Last Tuesday, 200 workers at Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India’s Gurgaon plant went on strike The strike was settled on Sunday, and today HMSI promised US$87 million in investment in the plant and new product development in the next three years.
- From St. Maartens: How not to steal a scooter.
- According to Hemscott.com, Roberto Colaninno expects Piaggio’s Indian- and Chinese-market sales to increase to 25% of the group’s sales by 2010, as opposed to 15% currently.
- Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services have upped Piaggio’s long-term debt rating from BB- from B+.
- St. Louis joins a growing list of cities with a minibike pickup service to discourage driving while intoxicated.
- And finally, something to think about next time you’ve brought a long-dead bike back to life after a marathon drinking ‘n’ wrenching session.
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.
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.
“â€¦the people who went on to make Jaguar motor cars. (The Vespa) arrived in England and they didnâ€™t have anything to counter it, so they quickly sat down and made this horrible little bike out of steam pipe and tinâ€¦”
A 1950 scooter book in Hartnell’s possession:
“â€¦shows all the bikes from A to Z, and when it comes to the Swallow Gadabout, there are seven and a half pages of itâ€™s virtues and how wonderful the bike is and further on in the book you get to “V” for Vespa and it simply says â€˜small scooter made in Italyâ€™.”
Great story, great quotes.
As 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.