Thursday

Vespa Oklahoma in Tulsa

This place is serious trouble for Vespa lovers. Serious trouble. Trust me. Serious.


First, they brainwash you with propaganda like this.



And this.


And while you're still in a fog over the brainwashing propaganda, hanging on every wall, they send you over the edge with this fiery temptation that just screams, "Take me home!"


And just when you think you've survived the fiery temptress, the clothing, leather bags and matching helmets, they throw this guy at you. And you realize it's futile. You can't live another day without a brand new scooter, all the chotchkies...and this guy. It's disgusting.

Wednesday

Vespa Champions Perform


It's not that I don't love all you Beemers and Ducati guys. And I'm not taking one bit of soul away from the Harley boys. And ladies. But I just can't seem to get the Vespa Scooters out of my system. They have helmets, and saddlebags, and gear just like the "real" motorcycles. BUT they also have anti tank rockets, helicoptor kits and bazookas!!!!! And now. Vespa has some amazing stunt riders. Many thanks to "ombra89ny" for "Trial Indoor Vespa Stradella." In case you haven't figured it out, I'm temporarily unable to ride. So this is my next best alternative! Enjoy.

Tuesday

Vespa Museum in Italy




You have got to see these. I thought I liked the 1946 Vespa with anti-tank rockets on each side of seat. BUT then I saw this and realized there's a bazooka Vespa and one that looks like a helicopter. If I had only known I could fly over my pool rather than crash into it! Many thanks to "bellbottomtear" for this video on YouTube titled, "Vespa Scooter Museum in Italy."

Sunday

My Vespa Lesson


It occurred to me that other riders with far more experience might be reading this for some technological tidbit or real cool motorcycle slang talk about a riding technique. Then it occurred to me that I’m not even called a rider. Recently I found out I was a co-rider. I enjoy my “co” existence. And while I agree it takes a certain type of courage to get on a motorcycle essentially taking your own life in your hands, might I also add it takes even more courage to get on a motorcycle and put your life in someone else’s hands. After 5 plus years of riding behind RD, I want to learn to drive my own bike. Enter a white with black seat, 150cc, Piaggio scooter. I’m calling her Venture.

Every rider should know how to turn on his or her own darn bike. It went something like this:

“To turn on your Vespa. Insert the key here. Turn the “Kill” switch on. See, it’s this red button. Squeeze back break like this. Hit start button.”

“What? I have a kill switch? Why? What for? Where’s the start button? Oh, the kill switch is red, does that mean it kills the bike or me? RD, let me do it, so I know how.”

“Do you want me to show you again?”

“Yes.”

And that’s how we started. My first sentence of encouragement from RD was, “it’s just like riding a bike.” I thought about the scar on my knee. I only rode my bike in a tomato patch once. Then I got a scar. So I wondered if he meant it’s like riding a bike and not falling off.

The first thing any budding motorcycle rider should master, as per RD, is stopping and starting. After you figure out how to turn the scooter on. And after you figure out which foot you are. Are you a left foot on the ground guy or a right foot on the ground guy? Turns out, I am a both feet on the ground guy.

My second sentence from RD was, “Don’t take both feet off the ground until you are going forward!”

According to him, I have to choose because taking off is easier if at least one foot is still on the ground. He’s right. I didn’t feel comfortable balancing on two wheels while I tried to remember which direction to turn the throttle.

As per my wishes he took me to a huge parking lot with no trees. I had plenty of room to stop, start, turn and not worry about traffic. My first surprise was learning the throttle turns towards the rider. Don’t know why I thought it turned the other way. But I did. It doesn’t. Next thing.

Getting your balance, keeping your balance and losing your balance. Balance as in staying upright. Balance as in not wobbling. Balance is easier while moving than while standing still trying to figure out which left foot I’m going to put on the ground.

On the second lesson, I added a tiny little bit of speed. Only about 15 mph. Still in the parking lot. Only the balance wasn’t as hard. I finally reached far enough back into my childhood and remembered the years I did ride a bicycle.

By now RD decided I should do some figure 8’s and practice starting and stopping. Preferably without wobbling or falling over. I had to wiggle around on the seat a little to find the right position. Before long I could start and stop smoothly.

Lucky for me the Venture is an automatic transmission. So I pretty much just need to worry about brakes, throttle and balance right now. I’m not pushing for speed. I just want to know what the Vespa can do, can’t do, will do, and won’t do.

I only had one scary moment. Almost hitting RD doesn’t count because he was on foot and always had the ability to jump out of the way. But I do feel embarrassed about the pole. In the middle of a high school parking lot are two light poles. They’re not camouflaged or concealed in any way. I was very busy trying to turn. RD told me not to stop in a turn, and I was focusing on not stopping while turning when the pole just popped up in front of me.

In an instant it was the “tree incident” all over again. I was staring at the pole, not thinking about balance or breaking or even which foot to put down. Experience paid off. I stopped fixating on the pole, looked past it, swerved around the pole and abruptly stopped in the neighbor’s yard without turning.

Do you think I’m a natural?