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Mods vs. Rockers, Seattle

June 4, 2012
Two scooters

Well, yeah, the Vespa P-series didn’t come out until 11 years after Brighton… (Orin O’Neill photos)

In Seattle, the first weekend in June means Mods vs. Rockers.

According to Allstate Bill, who is the Vespa Club historian, the Rockers didn’t call themselves “the Rockers.” They were just people who rode motorcycles. I suppose their preference for rock ‘n roll (vs. Mods’ affinity for soul, r&b and ska) caused someone to apply the term, and it stuck.

Bill's Triumph

That’s Bill’s Triumph, which he got at a garage sale for $300. He hasn’t washed it since. Rockers’ motorcycles tended to be dirty, he explains.

Bill's Triumph belt buckle

And this is his Triumph belt buckle. It appears able to deflect small-caliber rounds easily.

Legshield banners

Many scooters wore legshield banners honoring the victims of Wednesday’s Café Racer shootings.


The Mods were sharp dressers, and many of those on scooters got into the spirit. While a Rocker outfit is very easy—jeans, t-shirt, leather jacket—it’s become more and more difficult to put together a good Mod outfit. The appropriate clothing is not available at thrift stores as it once was, making it necessary to shop at pricey vintage clothing stores.

BMW sidecar

I’ve been watching a lot of old movies set during World War II lately, so this sidecar rig in Wehrmacht blue-gray caught my eye. I was told that it was in fact not a BMW, but a Chinese knockoff. I couldn’t say for sure.


The majority of scooters in attendance were of the old-skool variety.


There were mopeds, too. This one still has the pedals.


Of course, one must ask whether riding a Ruckus makes you a Mod, or a Rocker… Favicon

One Comment
  1. June 5, 2012 7:36 pm

    I don’t know whether I’m a mocker or a rod? I like them them all.

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