Sunday, 4 February 2007

Why a Vespa?

What we're gonna do right here is go back, way back, back into time....

My first experience riding two wheeled motorized vehicles was about 25 years ago when I was on my eight month backpacking tour of Europe. I spent three or four weeks in the Greek Islands (picture above was taken on Corfu) and part of what I did about every other day was rent a moped and, with the people I was with, explore different villages, sights and beaches. One day, the rental shop was out of mopeds and gave me this scooter called a Vespa instead. I fell in love with it at that moment....

Fast forward to last spring.

With my eldest daughter the proud owner of a learner’s license, I realized I would soon need some mode of transportation but I didn’t want yet another car. I do like riding my bike but being too busy and too sweaty make it difficult to bike ride everywhere. Additionally, a new teaching contract freed up some money for this kind of purchase. And, of course, I found myself thinking back nostalgically to those days in Greece, oh, so long ago.

I began my research. The internet is a wonderful place because there is so much good information. Some people find it daunting but I love arming myself with scads of facts and reviews. After all that research, I discovered that although I really wanted the Vespa, I thought that it was a bit pricey compared to the competition.

I went to my local motorcycle store in Maple Ridge (CR Cycle) and asked to see what they had. After wandering through the Harleys and big Suzukis, we came to the small scooter section. I was interested, at this time, in the Honda Jazz, basically because it sort of looked like a Vespa but was cheaper. I sat on it and found that I couldn’t turn the handlebars without banging into my knees! Too small.

I then tried the PGO T-Rex (pictured above). It was, admittedly, fun to drive and had good pickup. It was comfortable to ride but lacked something in the look - it just wasn’t a Vespa.

I got a lot of good advice from the Vespa Club of Vancouver message board. One person offered to sell her 50cc ET2 Vespa. It was at this point that I realized that I didn’t want a 2-stroke - I was willing to take a slight hit in power for a cleaner burning 4-stroke engine.

Then, off to Vespa Vancouver. The salesman (Bob) is a genuinely nice guy. He encouraged me to take it for a nice long ride - and I was hooked -still hooked - 25 years later. As I rode around the streets of Vancouver, people would look over at me and smile - not sure why but it made me feel good!

I returned to the store. What Bob didn’t know (and I told him later) was that I had already made plans to see a guy selling a Vespa privately. He had won it in a contest but had only put 75 kms on it in two months and was parting with it. With taxes, a new Vespa would have cost around $5700 where this one cost me $4000. I felt bad, though, and the first place I went after I bought it was back to Vespa Vancouver to tell Bob why I had bought privately. Bob was very gracious and said, “That’s fine - by the way the shop rate for you is $1000 an hour!”

The anticipation and excitement I still get from rolling out the Vespa from the garage has not faded since I bought my LX50 in August. Just imagine the fun I’ll have in the spring!


Combatscoot said...

Cool story. I like reading about people's pasts and what influenced them to ride.

Bill Sommers said...

$1000.00 an hour? What a good deal! You had better get a full set of riding gear with that oil change though.

It's nice to find those old feelings again, and be able to hold onto them the second time around. Nice post.

Have fun,

American Scooterist Blog said...

Thanks for sharing how you got from there to here. You have a better tale to tell than most of us for sure. You got your first taste of "the Marque" in the world it was born. How cool is that!

The Roadbum

Dave Dixon said...

It's interesting to see what motivates people to scoot - it's a bit like swimming upstream as many people think it's 'cool' but aren't really willing to try it themselves...

Ah, proper riding gear. Hmm... that will be the topic of another post - when I get the nerve!

american scooterist
I'm glad you enjoyed my story! I was thrilled when I was able to come up with the old photo!

Bob said...

Hey Dave,

I don't think it was $1000/hr. I thought I quoted you $999/hr. Glad to see you are enjoying your Vespa. Stop by anytime, look for our spring scooter rides that will be starting from our store.

Dave Dixon said...

Then I think you owe me a buck next time I get some servicing done...

I'm interested in the spring rides - as long as there are other 50cc scooters involved...

By the way, any news on that rear shock? I suppose they hand making it in Italy...