Sunday, March 25, 2007

Waking Up My Old Vespa...And Myself

Last night I buzzed down to the local bookstore to scan the magazines in search of an infusion of moto-inspiration. What I came home with was Classic Bike Guide. This magazine is published in the UK, and is one of my favorites. If you have any interest, look up and you'll see some great stuff. Anyway, looking at these bikes and their riders, and the way these chaps dress had me itching to take out the old Vespa and put in some miles.

Shortly after breakfast, I went out to the shop to uncover Ol' Blue and give the old scoot the once over. I've had the Vespa covered up with an old blanket in the corner of my little shop for the past few months, and we needed to get reaquainted. After pumping some fresh air into the tires that were a few pounds low, and topping off the tank with mixed fuel, we rolled outside to see what we could do about kicking the old dog to life.

Six short kicks had Ol' Blue clouding up the yard with that wonderful two-stroke smoke that I just love. Even my neighbor took notice and came over. He and his wife have Yamaha Zuma scooters that probably won't see daylight till June. Too bad, because the weather is looking better than it has for months, and it seems a waste to not ride whenever you can. But that's his deal.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, maybe from the photo's of those British riders, I had a thought to not just ride, but to also look the part of the old time Vespa rider. I put on my old bomber jacket, some elbow length gauntlet motorbike gloves, and an old helmet from 1967. I topped off the look with my Bell goggles, and away we went.

I realize that I probably should have worn a fishtail parka, but I don't have one, so I had to make do with what I had at hand. It does give me a goal though, to get squared away with the "proper" riding attire of the Vespisti.

For the most part, the ride was a blast although short, because I had noticed that I didn't have my license tabs renewed, which I'll have to do this week. But it was fun, and it has inspired me to dig a little deeper into the world of the vintage Vespa scooter, and the rich history of the culture of the scooterist. As a vintage motorbike enthusiast, I find that having a specific point of interest usually opens all kinds of doors to information and treasures. I'm excited to have a target to shoot at now.

I no longer have the urge or want for something new as I had posted about recently. I'm happy with my Big Ruckus, and really feel that it is the right steed for the job as my full time commuter. And to have a classic to roll out of the shop to enjoy is really the best of both worlds for a working class stiff like me.

As I follow my friends and their adventures on the Vespa of this era, I'll try to put together some thoughts in writing of my adventures on a Vespa of days gone by.

Have fun,


Blogger CodyandMichelle said...

My favorite post to date by you Bill! Glad you got your groove on with your Vespa once again. We need pics my brother, of you and your mod bike and riding attire :)
A beautiful day in FL today, Michelle and I will be riding this afternoon!

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Gary said...

That was an excellent post, Bill. It sounds like you have all the bases covered.

I have enjoyed CBG magazine in the past as well. I think I've still got one or two old issues lying around the garage. Good stuff in there.

What in the world is a "fishtail parka"?

Ride well,

4:52 AM  
Blogger Bill Sommers said...

Thanks for the kind words. Yeah, it's good to have my old ride under me again. It makes me happy.

I'll get crackin' on getting some new pictures to post soon, as I'd like to feature some of the finer things about the old school scoot.

Thank you sir. I do have the bases covered. I just needed to take inventory of what I had, compared to what had my interest, and realize that I was already in good shape.

The fishtail parka is a military issue knee length jacket with a fur lined hood that was first offered in 1951 to the US Army for soldiers to deal with the extreme cold temps during the Korean War.

The Mods adopted the jacket during the '60's as part function, and part fashion. This jacket is still popular with the traditionalists, and can be found in Army surplus stores, and lots of web-sites, including eBay.

The real stickler for detail will tell you that the ONLY one to wear is the early US Army issue, and are quite expensive. But there are lots to choose from, from different sources, and different years of issue. Fun facts to research.

Have fun,

6:33 PM  
Blogger Sarch said...

I realy enjoy reading your blog Bill. You've got a true passion that shows through.

I rode to work last Friday. When I headed back home I took the long way round and ended up taking some side roads I had never been on. There are just no words...

6:41 PM  
Blogger American Scooterist Blog said...

You beat me to it. Yours is done and mine is a long way off. Truth is I'd rather ride when I have the time. That's my own fault. I should be working on the GL instead. It was a great looking bike in your other posts and I'm looking forward to more of it when you put it up.


7:45 PM  
Blogger Bill Sommers said...

I apprieciate your nice comment. As far passion goes, I look at the way I think of motorbikes the same as a teenage boy has thoughts of girls filtering through his mind all the time.

With a great marriage chasing away visions of female beauty, the images of motorbikes took that spot and made a home there. I pass it on as well as I can in writing.

Who wouldn't ride when they have a chance? The GL will find it's way to the top of the priority list, and it will be so worth it.

Have fun,

9:52 AM  
Blogger Combatscoot said...

Nice to do a bit of vintage motoring on a nice day. I wouldn't mind having a vintage scoot, but my tastes run more toward some of the offerings from Germany (east and west) during the 50's. Would love to have a Berlin with trailer.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Bill Sommers said...

There are so many choices out there that are tempting to me, but not to my budget. I'm happy to have the "wasp" as my happy ride, as parts are easily available, and the interest in these little scooters is still high.

Have fun,

2:11 PM  
Blogger CodyandMichelle said...

BTW Bill, I'm here today to get on the case of the few blogpals that I do have. Haven't seen you on mine lately, wheres the love? :(

8:31 AM  
Blogger Bill Sommers said...

Sorry I didn't swing by. I've been up to my George Castanza hairline in work, and haven't been by blogville in a while.

Have fun,

5:41 PM  

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