Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Future Fun

I am really stoked. I have started working on next year's scooter rally. As you may recall, our club hosted a scooter rally, this past May. It was the Tucson May Day Rally. I was a little disappointed at first, but I eventually realized that my expectations had been a bit too high. After a couple of weeks, I realized that it was a pretty darn good first effort. Not wanting to be a “flash in the pan,” we had an after action meeting and talked about what went well, what could have been better, etc, etc, in anticipation of another rally.I had wanted to do the rally as a fund raiser for a local charity, but started too late and couldn’t get it together.

I decided that I would started earlier this year and have actually been thinking about the 2011 rally quite a bit. I have already decided to change the name, but not the date. May Day doesn’t really mean anything anymore to most Americans and so, coming up with some kind of consistent theme for a “May Day Rally” is difficult. Since we are located in the southwest, some kind of western theme seems appropriate. This makes the choosing of venues, destinations, patch/logo designs, games etc, a lot easier. I’m fairly certain that is the direction we will be going.

Regarding charities, I had mentioned my search to the club and asked if anyone new of a local charity that might be interested in working with a rat-tag bunch of scooterists on a rally and raise a bit of money as well. Up steps Paul Tumarkin who mentions that he knows someone at Beads of Courage (hereafter referred to as BoC.), who just might be interested. BoC works with seriously ill children. As a nurse and father of five children myself, this organization appealed to me.

Long story, short, Paul contacted Jean Baruch, from BoC, who expressed interest in the concept and we had a meeting together, today, between the three of us. I think the other two are as excited about this project as am I. Jean and BoC have a network of contacts in southern Arizona that, I feel, complements mine. Our goals and values seem to be compatible. We all have big plans and high expectations from our respective organizaions.

Jean is new to the idea of scooters and scooter rallies, so I told her how the May rally went and why we did things the way we did. She was very receptive and seemed to agree with my ideas of having a family-friendly, community centered event. She asked appropriate questions and when it came time to speak of the 2011 rally, she and Paul, already had some great ideas!

I want to be able to raise money for a charity, but at the same time, I want to be able to host an exciting, quality rally for scooterists. Using BoC’s status as a charitable organization, I think we will be able really get a lot more business to donate goods, services and $$ to make this rally ROCK!

Another exciting idea that came out of this meeting are some ways to integrate artists, scooters and kids into this rally. This way, we will be able to reach people who would never have any interest in something that was aimed at just scooters.

I am very excited about this rally and about meeting and working with new people.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Borrowed Rides, Test Rides and Reviews

As I've mentioned in at least one previous post, scooter people are great folks. In the context of this post, I'm referring to the generous, sharing (and foolhardy) spirit that results in those scooter people who allow others to ride their scoots. I've run into a lot of those in the short time I've been riding. I've also done a couple of formal test rides/reviews lately that I wanted to mention.

Perhaps 6 months after I started scooting, I was at my local scooter shop and my second home, Scoot Over, when a guy riding a Big Ruckus pulled in. I had never seen one up close and was asking a few questions about the bike. The guy tossed my the keys and says "take it for a ride." I hesitated, because no one had ever done anything like that before, but he says "Really, it's okay. Have fun with it." Then he turned around and walked into the shop.

So, I went out and rode it. I was fun, but not as much fun as my Buddy. The Big Ruckus is 250cc and, as you can see above, has a lot to carry around. Subsequently, it is fairly slow accelerating from a stop, but it does have a decent top end. I love the rugged, industrial kind of look to them.

I mention the above incident only because it was the first. In the past month, similar incidents have happened and that's what resulted in this particular post. On Independence Day, Scoot Over hosted an awesome picnic. Some 25 scooters and their riders showed up. Naturally, we were all admiring one another's scoots.

One scooter I am hoping to own one day, is a vintage Lambretta. A young man at the picnic happened to have one and don't you know that he offered to let me take it out for a spin. So I did.

The one I rode in the blue and white Lammy in the middle of this pic. I love the long, low, sleek look of the Lambretta. I'm sorry, but I don't remember the year of this scoot, but it was a fun ride. One thing you have to get used to on vintage scooters, are vintage braking systems. Those drum brakes are a far cry from today's front disks.

A short while later, at the same picnic. I was offered my first ride on a moped. We have a local moped club (Las Tortugas aka The Turtles) and I had commented a few times that it must be fun to ride with them. The moped in question was a J.C. Penney "Pinto."

The moped is much different from a 150cc scooter, but still a lot of fun in their own right. I wast sure what to do with my feet. It felt weird to be moving along under power and yet, have pedals. I guess you get used to it. I am considering the possibility of adding a moped to my stable of 2-wheelers. I think riding with Las Tortugas sounds like a blast.

Last week, I was at Scoot Over when the new 220cc Blur arrived. The scooter community has been eagerly anticipating the arrival of this sporty scooter for a while. It just so happened that Ron finished prepping the bike just after I arrived. James offered me a test ride. There was no way I was turning that down. Here's the new Blur:

I am pretty old school when it comes to scooters, but I still appreciate the look of the Blur. I really like the grey and black. It reminds me of the Volkswagen Scirocco I owned years ago. As you would expect from 220cc, the Blur accelerates well. "Roll-on" acceleration is particularly good. The seat is as hard as a rock and I would be modifying or replacing it or ASAP if I had one. Riding position is forward and aggressive, like a sport bike. This takes some getting used to, but it does make for some nice cornering traits. Thanks to Scoot Over for letting me test ride it.

I stop by a nearby motorcycle shop from time to time because they carry a limited number of scooters from the Japanese companies. I was in there this week looking to see if they had a Yamaha Majesty in stock. (I've decided that I want a maxi-scoot in the stable as well.) While there, I was offered a test ride on the 2010 Can Am Spyder. The Spyder is a 3-wheeled, tadpole-style trike with a 1000cc sport bike motor. They look like this:

It was a blast to drive, uh, ride. I did a formal review of my experience on our club webite, here. I don't see myself ever having one, but if you get the chance to take one for a spin, do it.

I love being in a community where our rides are so diverse. I have nothing against homogenous groups like Goldwing, or trike, or moped clubs, but riding one another's rides is kind of moot, since everyone is on the same thing.

Ride on,