Driving: My Life, My Vespa

Driving: My Life, My Vespa

When it came time to buy a scooter, I knew it had to be an Italian job. I’d ridden Vespa`s on vacation in Bermuda and loved them. I was familiar with Piaggio, the company that started manufacturing them in 1946, and I knew that several international movie stars, such as Anthony Quinn and Henry Fonda, had been bitten by the bug. I feel that Vespa is the truly authentic scooter. Authenticity is taking what worked in the past and putting it in the context of the needs of today, and Vespa, with its combination of retro styling and modern convenience, is doing just that.

I bought mine at Vespa Ridgefield for around $4,500, including the matching helmet and the storage pod. It’s the coolest aqua green you can imagine. There are two models, the 50-cc ET2 and the one I bought, the 150-cc ET4. Because the ET4 can go more than 60 miles per hour, I had to get a motorcycle license to drive it, but it was worth it. I’ve learned that a lot of drivers don’t pay much attention to people on two wheels, and the extra horsepower is nice when you need to get out of a sticky situation.

Riding my Vespa is so much fun I can hardly stand it. There’s the appeal of being in the elements, feeling the sun beating down on you — all of the stuff that convertibles offer — plus you get 65 miles per gallon. My 14-year-old daughter loves to ride on the back; I coach her lacrosse team, and when we ride home from practice she holds her sticks. I ride to work, to the center of town, to high school football games. I see a few other Vespa on the road, but I predict you’ll see more. Suburbanites have station cars; I recently heard about a dentist in Bronxville, N.Y., who uses one as his station scooter. That’s another great thing about a Vespa: You can park it anywhere.

I feel more at home, more me, on my Vespa. I have my nonconformist tendencies. For example, I wear shorts every day, even in church, even on my scooter. Some people laugh at me, but I don’t care. I’m not trying to be Jack Nicholson in ”Easy Rider.” There’s no overcompensating on a Vespa. I have my own commuting ritual. Every morning I sling my computer bag over my shoulder and zip straight to Starbucks. I pick up two cups of coffee, put them in a tray and ride one-handed to my office. (One product improvement I would suggest for the Vespa is cup holders.) When it’s really cold I pull on a pair of insulated Carhart overalls over my shorts. I’m planning on driving this thing 24/7/365. Except when it’s snowing.

Soruce of article: nytimes.com