Category Archives: Rides and Rallies

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.


Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all the Slow Kids out there!!

We hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that 2015 was kind to you. I’ve got some really great things lined up in the coming months for all of you, so please stay tuned! 

In the meantime, check out this little Vespa I caught in the parking lot at my office yesterday in the rain. 

  
Have a great day, and if you’re still out riding this winter, show us your ride in the comments! We’d love to see what you’re rolling. 


This week is “Ride to Work Week”

Hey Slow Kids!

I know you’re all waking up from your winter slumbers and finally warming up in much of the Northern Hemisphere. What a better way to get out into the sun than to start your week off with riding to work? Apparently this week marks just that, the start of Ride to Work week. There are many places that are having some sort of events this week, so get out there and ride your scooter/ motorbike/ moped to work if at all possible. Show some love to the group and lets see those photos rolling in this week as well. If you’re not working, don’t have a bike, etc, send us pics of your dream bike! Enjoy the weather and stay safe out there!

For those in the UK, here’s a link to some info and events on that side of the pond this week: http://ridetoworkweek.co.uk/

Those in the USA, check this out: http://www.ridetowork.org/

Have a great week!!


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


Over at the In N Out with the Phoenix Meetup Scooter Club

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So, I had a weekend night with no shows.  This meant, as a production tech with no life, I had zero on my plate on a hoppin’ Friday night.  But, I saw on the local Phoenix Meetup board a notice that there was going to be a meet at the Tempe In-N-Out burger joint.  So, after a quick wash of the scooter and a fill up, I headed out to finally try to be social with *other* riders in the valley.

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As it turned out, it was a great time! There were about 12 others there on bikes of all types.  From a couple of Chinese rides to top-of-the-line Vespa GT300’s, there were even a few Kymcos (Including my trusty little Agility) and even a 4-Stroke Stella and vintage style Honda Helix!

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Turns out that the rider, Keith, is a reader of this very blog!  It was crazy hearing him recount articles that I have written on this very page… it was like someone was actually reading this drivel.  And, it was a first chance for me to hear a 4-stroke Stella in person, and it’s almost too quiet.  And, it didn’t “smell” right, but that’s the 2-stroke enthusiast in me.  Otherwise, it was a sweet machine.

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Another bike that caught my eye was this Honda PCX.  It was a really slick machine at night, but after sitting on it I came to the conclusion that, after riding the Agility, the seat “hump” on the PCX’s saddle was just in the wrong place, forcing me forward. But, from the owner’s reports there is more than enough power, if it weren’t for the limiter chip installed in the bike from the factory. Major suck on limiters..

As I mentioned, there were a few Chinese scooters there, but they were all running which was unusual in it’s own right.  One of the riders, Prescott, was already mentioning his interest in looking for a step up from his ride (which cost about $1049 from what he reported).  But, it sounded in working order and he like the rest there was a great guy and very welcoming!

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There was even another Kymco in the mix to welcome others of the Taiwanese marque.  This Grandvista had a few years on it, but from the looks and sound you would never know!  These bikes hold up extremely well and seeing one look this good after a few years only increases my confidence in my bike.

It was a great meet up and I had a chance to finally meet some other riders in the valley. It was honestly refreshing not having to deal with the vintage-snobs and the cliquish club riders that have pretty much faded into obscurity in the valley.  Hopefully I can get on a few more of these rides when I can get even a little time off. 

And, the weather was PERFECT: 71 degrees and clear skies.  Can’t get better than that.


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!


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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An Arab Spring so close, you can smell it over the 2-stroke smoke!

So, you’ve contemplated riding to Amerivespa this year and found it too pedestrian.  You’ve thought “Alaska? Eh, there’s still asphalt”.  Even the cartels and unstable political forces in Mexico don’t pique that sense of adventure when you’re looking for a *true* long distance haul.  What’s an adventurous scooterist to do?

Egypt. 

Yep.  There is a company currently still going full tilt into offering scooter tours in the form of a trans-Egypt challenge.  Nevermind the factors such as a brand new government where even it’s own people aren’t sure who is effectively in charge and a flashpoint for Christian, Muslim and other indigenous peoples and faiths.  This is one of the oldest nation-states on Earth, and while they may not of had the best of press in the past year, the sense of wonder and adventure are REALLY tempting! 

The tour is set for October 12-20 2012, and details can be found at http://www.crossegyptchallenge.com/.  The details (as copied from the website):

Cross Egypt Challenge is not a commercial event, therefore the following rates / fees cover part of the actual cost of participating in such a unique event while we look to cover the additional cost through our loyal sponsors.
Registration fees for the 2012 season of Cross Egypt Challenge are: LE 9,600 or USD 1,600 (the fees are subject to 10 to 20% deduction in the case enough sponsors come on board)
All fees are to be paid at the time we confirm your participation spot f the Cross Egypt Challenge 2012 season. All banking details will be forwarded to you at the time of notification.
THESE FEES INCLUDE:
– Securing a scooter for the participant during the challenge
– Securing a brand new helmet for the participant’s use during the challenge
– Securing a brand new gloves for the participant’s use during the challenge
– 2 branded polo shirts + 4 branded long sleeve t-shirts for each participant to wear during the challenge
– Refueling during the entire challenge
– Oil changes during the challenge
– Scooter maintenance during the challenge
– Road tolls (where applicable)
– Cost of army/military and special permits for the entire route
– Accommodation for 7 nights in hotels
– Camping in the desert for 1 night (with all camp gear provided)
– Desert camping activities
– All meals during the challenge including welcome and farewell dinners.
– Return flight from Luxor to Cairo
THESE FEES DO NOT INCLUDE:
– Flights from/to Egypt (for international participants)
– Visa charges
– Extra accommodation prior or after the above schedule
– Extra food and beverage beyond 3 meals a day
– Any personal extras or any expense not mentioned above

If I had any spare cash and didn’t have a driving push to finish my two degrees, I would be TOTALLY down for this!  Mrs. Trotsky (would that make her Ms. Frida Kahlo technically? Eh, only the art geeks got that one…) thinks of course I am insane. 

I’ve grown accustomed to such things.


Location, Location, Location!

Sorry we’ve been taking a break from this blog oh faithful readers. There’s been some life happening as usual with the SlowKids, but we’re not dead. Promise.

It has come to our attention that the city has been announced for Amerivespa 2013~ no dates have been released yet, sadly.

However, this Kid is especially happy to know that it’ll be in one of my favorite cities. Good old San Diego!!! Bikes and beaches?! I think those things go perfectly together! It’s a little closer to home than we were hoping, but the planning stages for how to make a great ride have already begun!!!

Since a whole year ago, we were planning to go to Lake Geneva, and unfortunately that wasn’t in the cards due to that pesky life thing. NEXT YEAR, will be a whole different story. I assure you.

Details will be posted as we receive them, never fear. Until next time!

~wem

 

(http://vespalexington.com/2008/11/vespa-lexington-incoming-scooters/)