The hot weather has vanished and I’ve been on the scooter more. Riding nowhere in particular. Just enjoying the passing landscapes. A stop along a rural road to admire the field corn, tall and lush from an abundance of sunshine and moisture.
I ride a Vespa scooter because it’s easy. And it can do practically anything. Anywhere. With few exceptions (water crossings and deep mud), most of the scooter’s limitations exist between my ears.
A recent email I received from a rider in Nova Scotia has been rattling in my head. Specifically, a short passage regarding a cross continent trip from Washington state to Nova Scotia:
“Most of that 14-day adventure (almost exclusively across America) is a blur to me. Like so much of my riding up to that point, my focus was 150 feet off of the front wheel and hitting every apex with surgical precision. In the process, I missed a great deal of beauty.”
I read about people making grand adventures; on two-wheels, on cruise ships, in cars. And I marvel at the distances traveled and the experiences consumed. But it all seems rushed.
As much as anything, this is why I love the Vespa. It’s nature invites me to slow down, to stop, to look and explore. To not rush. In doing so, and finding the magic and mystery of an ordinary place, the need to seek out distant and exotic locations loses some of its seductiveness. The Vespa GTS scooter grounds me in the place I’m rolling through at any given moment.
At least if feels that way.
I’ve learned to experience the journey regardless the destination.
By no means is this an indictment of other forms of travel or experience. I spent the early part of my life traveling Europe with my mother consuming churches and graveyards, mountain peaks and castles, withering daily agenda’s to squeeze the most of every moment. These journeys are not without excitement and a rich, rush of experience.
But they’re different. And hardly relaxing. Riding a motorcycle often calls me to go faster. In part, because there’s so much weight and power at my fingertips that the machine feels odd not moving along faster. And with that speed comes a heigthened need to monitor. Riding north on US 15 out of Williamsport, Pennsylvania on a BMW R1200 RT found me traveling along at 80mph as I plotted lunch at the Wellsboro Diner. The return trip by winding country roads was slower and navigating the motorcycle on and off the road to set up photographs was work.
The Vespa is easy to start, stop, pull on the centerstand and put pretty much anywhere you want it. As I ride along through central Pennsylvania’s ribbons of asphalt, dirt and gravel, I have found the scooter universally simple to deal with. If it’s simple riding you’re after the Vespa fills the bill.
Many consider the Vespa suited mainly for a life in and around town. The perfect vehicle to run errands and do its duty as an urban commuter. I won’t try and dissuade anyone from these observations. It does them well. But it does other things too.
The Vespa is an ideal candidate for two-wheeled travel through the rural and forested landscapes of Pennsylvania. It performs in these rides reliably and with more than adequate power to exceed any posted speed limit in the state.
An for those times you’re in a hurry and have to jump on the freeway, the Vespa can handle that task as well.
It’s all part of simple Vespa riding.