Just finished up Amerivespa 2008. Conveniently, it was held in my hometown and though I don't own a scooter, I do own Vespa mopeds, so I figured I had no excuse not to go. So what was it like attending the biggest scooter rally in the country (on a moped)? How does my first scooter rally compare to my first moped rally (Bomb Prom 08)?
Firstly, despite the name, it is a scooter rally, and includes things not Vespa (of course) and does not include Vespa mopeds for some reason. I had the only pedals there other than a pedal bike some guy had put a VBB shell around. It doesn't exclude mopeds per se, just I guess noone thinks to bring them.
There was no category for my mopeds in the Concours de'Elegance, they were entered under "Oddity". Very lame.
That pretty much sums up the strictly negative bits, on to the rest.
My bikes (the Grande in particular) did get TONS of lookers during the Concours, which was personally satisfying. Also had many many people asking about it, telling stories about theirs, and had a few people that either had one or knew what they were talking about moped-wise. That was also fun (I like talking shop). Also got a crap-ton of people saying how surprised they were after the ride that I passed them climbing some hill or screaming down the other side.
Zero disrespect from any scooterists. Maybe they snickered when I wasnt looking, but I have no reason to think so. It helped that I did both rides on Sat. and Sunday and El Grande kept up fine both times, even up our famous Tennessee Hills.
The scooter guys were pretty much really cool, and I enjoyed hanging out and talking and drinking beer with them. Also interesting was that the middle-aged guys on the whole liked the mopeds more than the younger ones. Not sure why.
Mopeds apparently are quite capable little contenders in the Gymkhana, which for those unaware is an agility course I guess, for scooters/mopeds. Ramps, see-saws, cones, this kind of thing. I ran it on the Grande and negotiated everything except the Ramp of Impossibility with no real difficulty (dabbed once on it). Didnt win, but didnt finish last either...got a lot of cheers.
Mopeds suck at slow-racing.
This guy Nathan let me borrow his GPS, GPS'd 44.1mph on my Grande on a not-as-long-as-I-needed flat street. It had a lil' more to wind out. Pretty happy about that.
Riding with a group of scooters is not as much fun as a bunch of mopeds, but it's still damned fun. Especially in the hills which is all tight and twisties so noone is dusting you with their GS160. Even on the highway only like two people blew by me, so it wasnt bad.
Jersey kids (mostly middle aged guys in this case) suck, on scooters as well as on mopeds. They were all the time complaining about how registration was BS and how they didnt know before they rode down from Jersey that they had to pre-register, even though it was all over the website (Amerivespa.org). WTF? Then later they were complaining about how things were happening on time when everyone expected things to start late (everyone else seemed to get along fine). So wtf, Jersey? (If you're from Jersey and not like this then you're cool, it's not written about you).
This was WAY more organized that Bomb Prom, which was probly necessary cause it was so huge (400-something riders), and it wasnt really a good thing or a bad thing, just different. Less sitting around waiting for stuff, but at Bomb Prom we just rode off whenever we were bored. Here there was usually stuff going on or at least you knew when the next stuff was going on. So no real boredom either way, just different.
More hanging out it pubs and bars and restaurants at this one than at BP. Again, not bad, just something different. Also more destinations and activities at the end of rides, but thats cause VCOA has sponsers and stuff out the wazoo and people want to do stuff like let VCOA tour a museum or something.
Food was way better...the huge sponsers again. Ditto rally packs and prizes.
Please dont hit me, TBS, I still love you guys and your rally was awesome and I would go to it over Amerivespa any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Amerivespa was a fun time, though, and I'd recommend it. My thoughts are that the scooterists that go to these rallies are not usually the stupid kid on a brand new automatic 4-stroke Plastic Special thats driving all crazy and laughing at your moped. Most of them are two-stroke tuner types that just happen to have chosen a different medium. One guy there even had a cafe custom RD350.
Sorry I couldnt make it up on Thursday, K-town guys. Next time.
Anyway, thats it. Just thought I'd share case anyone found it interesting.