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It was like riding in the shower, part 1

March 11, 2007

The English Beat

I was really impressed by The English Beat. I never used to go to shows, but since I got a scooter, I’ve been doing all kinds of things I never used to do.

Hanging out in bars with strippers and roller derby chicks, for instance. And bowling.

Meant to Offend, the first event of the Seattle scooter rally season, has gone bowling on Saturdays for as long as I’ve been doing scooter rallies. This year, we went to the West Seattle Bowl.

I was really happy to see 50º F on The Weather Channel. The rain, not so much. But as I say, this is Seattle, and if you won’t do something because it’s raining, you don’t do anything.

Following breakfast at Coliman in Georgetown (a neighborhood I never visited until I got a scooter), three scooterists and five members of the Mosquito Fleet of the Moped Army headed out on East Marginal Way. The mopeds were leading the way.

Okay, it would be good at this juncture to remind those who don’t know that a Vespa PX 150 is not a moped. Moped is short for Motorized Pedicycle, though today any 2-wheeled vehicle with no geared transmission and a top speed of 30 mph is considered a moped.

Of course, most of the moped kids’ bikes wouldn’t even come close to meeting that definition in their present form. Back during Fuel Crisis II in 1979, mopeds suddenly seemed to be everywhere, and they disappeared just as quickly when the price of gas dropped.

Allstate Bill, the Vespa Club historian, is fond of saying that moped riders are in the same place scooterists were 15-20 years ago: moped riders are highly knowledgeable about their bikes because they have to be. Nobody makes them any more, and most repair shops won’t touch them. Most of the mopeds you see on the roads today are real Frankenbikes, which is a tribute to the ingenuity of their riders.

The moped kids always make jokes about how slow they are, but I’m working hard to keep up with the seriously kitted-out machines slogging through the West Seattle industrial area. Most of these things lack such niceties as suspensions, so I’m happy for the PX’s springs and shocks, bouncy though they might be.

The rain is coming down harder as we climb Avalon Way. I’m really glad it’s a relatively short ride, but it would’ve been nice if there had been more bikes, even though I am able to enhance my reputation as hardcore rider. Yeah, right…

Time to bowl. I’m really pleased how much my game has improved, getting strikes and spares in about equal proportion to gutter balls and open frames. Massimo, a real Italian who rides the prettiest black Vespa GS you’re ever going to see, tells us he’s never bowled in his life, and throws a strike first thing. It’s all fun. Heck, I might even buy my own bowling ball.

There was supposed to be a time trial after bowling, but it’s raining hard enough to make people think about building an ark, so the time trial moves to the Harley-Davidson video game inside WSB. Whoever gets the most points wins. The moped kids kick the scooterists’ butts. Favicon

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