Category Archives: Amerivespa

Amerivespa 2017

Happy Monday Slow Kids!

While perusing the interwebs about scooter related business, I came across this fun announcement: Amerivespa 2017

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July 6-9th in Seattle, WA

Celebrating 25 years of Amerivespa in the picturesque Seattle, this rally will include multiple opportunities for riders to mingle, shop, showcase their scoot, and take in all that is the Pacific Northwest with coffee and culture. If you’re a VCOA member, registration is $60 on average, and a bit more if you’re not a member.

See the website for the schedule of rides and other events.

Anyone planning on going? Let us know what your plan is and where you’re traveling from if you’re planning to make the trip. We’d love to know who is out there representing.

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Here’s the announcement!

amerivespa  Hello, and good day Slow Kids. I just wanted to share this information in the event any of you don’t know already. It’s good to have planning in place for this rally, since lodging and travel can be expensive in the summer months.

Happy Thursday!

~wendE


The Gang is growing

First I’d like to give a shout out to our friends in San Diego attending Amerivespa. Those of us not there, are jealous. Trust me. We’ve seen a few pics trickling in but I’m sure there will be many more once the riders from across the country meet their beachy destination.

Next I want to brag, just a little. Our group on Facebook is growing. We have a modest 12 members, several are in other states and others lack scooters. But if you’re enthusiastic about scoots and scoot culture, we’d love to share some space with you. If you live in Arizona and want to get some ride time in, we are looking to set that up soon as well. Nevermind it’s 118 outside. 🙂

Anyway, I’m really excited that our fledgling operation is getting some feedback now. We have tons of readers on this blog, which I couldn’t be more grateful for and our virtual gang is growing. So, thank you.

I’ve been kicking around the idea of getting some gang swag, what do you think as our readers? Yay or nay? It would take a tiny bit to get that all set up, but thinking t-shirts, patches and stuff… Any responses would be most helpful.

Again, thank you! You’ve all been great with comments and sharing information. Keep it up!
~wem


FINALLY back for a new year, and the word is: Determined

So, I know… it’s been ultra dead around here.  This is because life has got in the way of scootering BIG time.  So much that I hardly see anyone that I regard as friend or family with work and school goings ons (Is that even a word?).  But, we trudge on.

The Agility is doing well, in case you were wondering.  We’re still a “gang” of one running scooter, one non-running.  But, the Kymco is plugging along just fine.  In fact, I was gifted with a rather goal-specific Christmast tiding from my mother in law for the bike: A brand new DETACHABLE top case!

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The mounting hardware doesn’t quite fit, but the mounting plate fits right on to the rear rack like it was custom made!  It’s a locking ABS plastic economy deal, but since most of the rest of the bike is the same grade plastic (only thicker) it will do just fine.  The lock for the lid is also the lock for the latch to the base plate, so it only takes one key.  A few test runs shows that it could use a bit of firming up on the mounting points, but otherwise I think it will do just well for the epic journey.

As for the journey, you bet it’s still on!  I have to start getting in gear since Amerivespa is only 6 months away, and there’s still plenty to do.  The biggest hurdle right now is actually getting a new passport.  For reasons unknown to me, my mother refuses to give me my birth certificate. She’s more than willing to photocopy or scan it, but for some reason she thinks she has eminent domain over my only proof of birth and hence info for my evidence of immigration. And, the entity that is the Department of Homeland Security has determined that passports are required for all Mexico entry.  So, once I can figure out how to get a certified copy of my proof of birth, we shall be on to stage two: Actual planning!  So, stay tuned because I PROMISE I shall start keeping this blog more up to date since the epic Mexico to Amerivespa road trip …thing… will start having many more posts!

That, and I’m open to submissions for a snazzy title.  Yes, I intend to make a scooter trip video that does NOT suck, unlike the variety of vids that are on YouTube and the like right now.  And, being an audio engineer I fully intend to do the voice overs right and even compose the music myself (yes, I am taking all of my production cues from “Long Way Round”. What of it?) 


Slow Kids Field Trip ‘13, Part 2: From daily life to preparation

For most of us, our scooter is a daily mode of transport.  It’s the workhorse of the transportation world and as such is ridiculed by many other motorcycle riders as not being a “real” bike.  As someone who’s ridden everything from Triumphs to Harleys to Vespas, I of course would disagree. 

But, that’s not to deny that they are made for a particular environment.  It’s why I myself chose the Kymco Agility 125.  It’s a durable, reliable if not boring looking scooter.  It does the job of commuter better than nearly anything on the road for it’s price and it doesn’t look like a Chinese POS (which is very important in the scooter world ). And it does the daily chores expected of such a scooter with ease (such as the weekly bottled water runs seen below)

Or even grabbing a pizza:

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But, when you talk about cross country trips, THEN people really start looking at you like you’re nuts, and perhaps you may be just a little.  But, that’s half of the joy: Taking something designed for one purpose on an adventure doing something completely out of the ordinary.  When we think about Amerivespa, it means taking our daily riders and subjecting them to several THOUSAND miles of asphalt, gravel, dirt roads and NO roads in two different countries.  That means that both the bikes and the riders are going to have to prepare for things they never had to do before (for most). 

In the following entries, I’ll highlight my experiences with cross country riding, and how it’s going to be far different on a scooter.  I may do it with this Agility I have.  And why not? It’s known for being bulletproof reliable, simple to work on and made to be abused.  I also may do it on a Stella or a vintage P-series that has the same reputation from 30 years ago.  Either way, the choice of bikes is critical.  Also, there is the physical training of taking your body and wrestling a single cylinder small bike across Northern Mexico and the Southwest US.  It will be anything but easy, and probably more physically grueling on the rider than doing it on a fancy BMW or Kawasaki Adventure bike with 1200cc’s of power and custom made off road suspension.  Then of course there is the financial and mental preparation.  Any motorcycle adventure succeeds or fails on proper planning when it comes to logistics and financing.  Do we need carnes? What about Passports? What is the exchange rate? What if we break down and needs parts? What if we need a tow? HOW do we tow it home if needed? All of these are critical. 

So, stay tuned and you will see how we as city commuters start to attack the daunting task this next summer.  I think the difference in perspectives will shed some light on an awesome subgroup of riders most motorcyclist overlook… even when they are your own kind!


Musings after 1500k

 

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It’s been quiet around here.  That’s to be sure.  BUT… there has been some interest because yesterday we hit our HIGHEST per-day count yet: 69 BABY!!!

So, I figured it would be a good time to discuss the musings of using a commuter bike as the main bike for someone who’s ridden and lusted after fine Italian steel much of his life.  

As you see above, the Agility 125 has become part of the family, even taking it’s  own spot in the living room.  While some may question why take such care of a “commuter” bike, it is still *my* bike, and the only one I have.  And, while my new digs (The new “bunker” if you will)  are nice, the surrounding neighborhood is still on it’s way up.  I don’t want to take any chances, and this way it keeps nice and preserved without being beaten by the Arizona sun constantly. 

As far as growing performance, it’s settled into a top speed of about 65K-Mph (Kymco Miles Per Hour), which registers to about 61 Mph by GPS.  It has great pep and acceleration all the way up to about 45-50, but then plateaus pretty quick there after.  The ride is still stiff, but the bike makes up for the rough ride by some amazing cornering and handling hampered only by the strangely profiled tires.  With new tread, there’s no reason why I couldn’t drag with the best of them!  Seriously, this bike handles great, and way above it’s class and price point.

The brakes are a bit of a sore spot.  They’re “OK”, but not great.  And, the front disc has developed a squeal that I just can’t get rid of. I’ve tried sanding the pads, constant applications of brakecleaner to remove dust… nothing.  Still there. May have the dealer look into it after I can afford to do my 3rd service interval.  Other than that, all the rest of the material of the bike is holding up well into it’s 1500th Kilometer.  No broken bits and every bit of plastic seems to be in great condition.  The only minor bit is that the center stand likes to stick when folding it back up, but that’s the only thing I could find to harp on.

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All in all, the bike has proven a great daily driver.  It’s neutral styling doesn’t attract the wrong attention, while it doesn’t look like a cheap China-Container scooter.  It’s build quality is impressive for the price point, and the performance is solid.  No, it’s not as smooth as a Vespa LXV or as sleek as a Honda PCX, but we’re talking about bikes that cost two to three times what this did!  And, I’ve been seeing more pop up on the roads here in Phoenix.  When gas makes it’s innevitable climb above $4/gallon as it does every winter, I’m sure that with the number of dealerships Kymco is pushing in Arizona, we’re going to see A LOT more.

And, as for the great Mexico to San Diego Amerivespa trip?  This could be a contender.  Yes, I haven’t forgotten about that promise.  The pressures of full time work, more than full time school and moving into a new place may of taken me offline for a bit, but I have still been thinking of that journey.  Current conditions may preclude me getting another vintage scooter for the great trip, so the Agility may have to step up to the challenge of fighting the journey South of the border instead.  And, so far? It may just do fine!

Although, the ride is a bit rough, there’s no doubt the machine is up for the challenge!  And to make a trip on what is considered to be the cheapest quality-made bike on the market could be a bragging right on it’s own!


Amerivespa ‘13: San Diego by the LONG way… through Mexico!

In an attempt to find a witty and telling picture to start off the first part of this awesome blog entry, I already struck a problem that may be more representative of the greater issue.  Let me explain…

In an effort for the sole two members of this gang to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and get BACK on their bikes, we have once again started a plot that focuses around Amerivespa!  This year, it is going to be located in San Diego, California.  This is *much* closer to Phoenix, but that also is a downside as much as an upside.  It removes much of the adventure of going across country on bikes that really weren’t meant for such a journey.  But, as I sat and thought about things, running route scenarios for the summer rally through Google Maps, one thing became noticed as a constant:

Each route aside from one brought us into Mexico, if even for a short time.

Then, as I thought about it, a route started forming in my head.  But, it wasn’t the direct beeline that Amerivespa ‘12 offered up.  I looked at places I’ve always avoided, but have always heard of.  There was Rocky Point (which is located in a city where Wende Machete has a friend who owns a house), bastion to all of those bro-ish adventures on Spring Break.  There is San Felipe, home to the Baja 250 and San Felipe 250 overland races and prime training ground for North American Dakar racers.  There is Ensenada, the resort coastal town and long time resort for those looking for exotic-but-not-so-much from California.  And in between… a nation of adventure that I honestly don’t know as much about as I should living so close.

But, this isn’t unusual for many living in Arizona.  We live next to and depend on so much from Mexico as much as they do from us.  Our cultures constantly bleed into one another.  There is so much in common it’s uncanny, but rarely do you find a border so hotly contested anywhere in the post-industrial world. This leads me to the issue I had finding a picture to start this blog off.

So much of the images I found were VERY racist, anti-Mexican and downright disturbing, even for someone like me who’s seen civil war, police corruption and the inside of the federal prison system first hand.  I realized that outside of the sound-bytes, false claims of “headless bodies in the desert” by psychotic American governors and the real-world kidnappings and massacres that are a very real problem that flash across the screens here in the US, I didn’t really know much.  I have plenty of friends from both sides of the border, and in my world, they’re great people.  But, have I actually *been* to Mexico? I’ve been to Mexicali once and it wasn’t exactly a fun trip, but have I truly given Mexico the chance and the credit it deserves?

Well, there always needs to be a point to adventure.  We travel and challenge not only our bodies and mechanical skills with these kind of trips.  Why not challenge my world view?  Why not go and find more of our biggest neighbor down South and learn more than just slugging across the Midwest on two wheels…again? 

So, after a bit of over-the-phone planning, me and my partner in crime have determined that San Diego Amerivespa ‘13 will be by way of the costal towns of Mexico!  A story of adventure, international intrigue, scooters and  the story of a Roller-Derby Vegan and a Socialist Engineer in an effort to find something they probably shouldn’t: Something more interesting.

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