Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ride report: Cedar Key, Florida

I've had my new Vespa LX 150 for five weeks now, and yesterday I took her for our first long ride. We started with 158 miles on the odometer and ended the day with 275.

The weather was unseasonably warm for north central Florida -- about 75 F. The morning started out so cloudy, I wasn't so keen on the ride until later when some blue sky started to peek through.

A two-lane state road runs nearly straight from my home to Cedar Key, a former fishing village on Florida's Gulf coast. I figured it to be a good first trip because there's enough traffic on the road to keep me from becoming a sad story ("Found three days later ...") but not so much traffic that it's no fun to ride. The road is so straight, it's not exactly exciting, but the trees are pretty, and the air is marvelous.

I was really glad to be wearing a proper motorcycle jacket, with double zippers and Velcro flaps. I was doing 60 mph much of the time (speed limit = 60), and I have no windscreen. My arms and shoulders are a little stiff today, but I think the jacket protected me better than most.

The Vespa rode like a champ and was completely comfortable. I stopped to stretch my legs and get a beverage once in each direction.

I didn't stay long in Cedar Key -- I've been there many times. Took some time to sit by the water and watch the boats, then hopped back on and rode home. All in all I was out for about four hours, enjoying lots of fresh air and sunshine!

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Motorbikes and economics in Laos

Cheap Chinese motorbikes ($400 each) change life in rural Laos.

Story (The New York Times): In Laos, Chinese Motorcycles Change Lives

The Honda Wave is the prototype for these cheap models -- it's a great, reliable 125cc bike, easy to handle. If I could buy one new in the U.S., I would!

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Documentary video: The classic scooter scene

Did you know there is a DVD about scooter fanatics? It's called Scooterist, a Way of Life, it's 89 minutes long, and the filmmaker is Christian Bauer.

Scootering magazine called it "the best scooter-related film in years." (Hmm, should that be "the ONLY scooter-related film in years"?)

You can buy a PAL-format DVD for £14.99 plus S&H, or an NTSC-formatted DVD for $28.35 plus S&H.

I haven't seen it. Any reviewers out there?

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Scoot! magazine, December 2007

I got my first copy of Scoot! magazine yesterday in the mail. It's very nice! The ads are great, but the articles are good too (heh).

This issue is largely about mopeds, which is not usually the case. There are also a lot of rally reports from local clubs. These are probably more interesting for the people who rode in the rally than they are for me, but they do make me want to go to a rally myself! The photos make the rallies look like a lot of fun.

The U.S.-based magazine used to be quarterly but has just become a bimonthly (six times a year). I subscribed less than two weeks ago and the latest issue appeared quite fast.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Some handy resources and references

Get the scoop on all U.S. states' motorcycle laws, from the American Motorcyclist Association.

Check the Motorcycle Safety Foundation for useful safety tips and to find a rider course near you.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

New York Times: Make room for scooters!

There are 82 reader comments so far on this article by Jerry Garrett in The New York Times (Dec. 15, 2007).

The title: "What’s So Great About Scooters? Why Should You Care?"

Modern models with emissions-compliant, incredibly fuel-efficient four-stroke engines could really make a difference right now in America’s energy consumption. Especially if people used them for what they are at best at: things like short commutes, light errands and student transportation.

I was in New York City in October and was delighted by how many scooters I saw there, both parked and in motion.

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Amerivespa 2008

Amerivespa 2008 will take place July 24-27 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

It's 500 miles from where I live. Hm ... long ride?

View Larger Map

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Vespa music video

So Vespa had a user-generated video contest, and this guy named Rex Hermogino won:

I think he deserves it! His prize was a Vespa GTS 250!

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Podcast for Scooterists

The SCTRCST (Scootercast) is a regular podcast with an accompanying blog that's quite interesting. You can play any episode of the podcast right from the blog page, without waiting for a download. I like that a lot because you don't have to commit to a subscription or anything.

I listened to Podcast No. 40. It is about 20 minutes long and the production quality is quite good. It starts off slow, in my opinion, but then our host, "DaveM," plays a fun song and then gets into a discussion about having an accident on a scooter or a motorcycle.

Podcast No. 39 is about online scooter groups and forums.

If you're not used to trying out podcasts, here's what I suggest: Open the podcast page in a new browser window and start it playing. Then go back to your regular Web browsing. It's exactly like listening to the radio -- without the commercials.

DaveM is a apparently a very experienced motorcyclist as well as a scooterist. I found both his blog and the podcast very well-done and valuable!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

News from Genuine: Stellas, Buddys

Lots of information about Genuine Stellas that will sell for U.S. $3,399 in a post at the 2strokebuzz scooter blog. Lots of photos too!

Also, Genuine is going to begin selling 150cc Buddys for U.S. $2,999. Previously the "biggest" Buddys were 125cc. That news is in the same post.

The Stella is built by LML Ltd., an Indian company that built Vespa scooters under contract to Piaggio for many years. The Stella is the same body as the 1970s Vespa P200-E. The appearance is nearly identical. The mechanicals are very similar.

... In summary, the Genuine Stella is a new scooter that is exactly like a classic Vespa with the front brake upgraded to a disc and an electric starter.

That's from a nice review (100 Miles on a Genuine Stella Scooter) written by David Leader.

The Buddy is marketed by Genuine Scooter Company of Chicago Illinois, the brain-child of Philip McCaleb. ... The introduction of the Buddy adds a "new school" automatic scooter to complement the established "old school" manual shift Stella line. ... The Buddy is manufactured in Taiwan by PGO. Founded in 1964, PGO manufactured components for Piaggio from 1972 to 1982 and has won numerous quality awards.

That's from a point-by-point comparison of the Buddy 125 to a Yamaha Vino scooter, including tons of photos!

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Early Scooter History

See some mind-blowing photos of really, really old scooters at the Honky-Tonk Dragon blog -- like this one:

See larger version

The blogger works at a Vespa dealership in Connecticut, but he writes about all kinds of scooters, old and new.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Another Nice Blog About Scooter Life

I often visit the scooter blog -- naturally it has a lot of items that interest a female rider, but plenty of the information applies to ANY rider. Guys -- don't be put off by the pink bits! Check out these posts:

All that aside, there are some serious "girl" topics in the blog -- like the periodic links to cool pink helmets!

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Stylish Top Case for Your Scoot

Over on the Modern Vespa forum there was a discussion ("Rear rack for LX150") about racks and top cases for scooters. Some folks were singing the praises of the SX top case, and one member posted this photo:

See larger version Photo copyright © 2007 Lou Miranda. Used with permission.

I really liked it because it shows how good the case looks. Unfortunately I don't have this type of case myself! I also like the picture because the make and model are the same as mine, but as I live in Florida, I'm never going to have a picture like this one!

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Some Scooter Resources

I might start posting more here soon ...
  • Corazzo: Very nice jackets for riding. "Based in Portland, Oregon, Corazzo designs and manufactures technical riding apparel for people who ride in an urban environment. Whether you ride a motorcycle, scooter or moped ..."
  • Motorsport Scooters: Buy parts and accessories. Lots of genuine Vespa parts.
  • Scooterworks USA: More parts and accessories.
  • Modern Vespa: Excellent forums/community for people who ride the new Vespas. I have learned a lot here in the past two weeks!

I don't have enough links to start a feed here, so these will suffice for now.

NOTE: These are NOT sponsored links, so don't send me any spam. I am posting these links purely because I like the sites.

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