What follows is a really long winded way of saying I bought a Vespa and had my first motorcycle lesson.
I got an email last week from Peter at Scootopia informing me that they had a Vespa LX on display in their store. Since I was heading over to Toombul on Saturday to attend my first motorcycle lesson I thought I might pop in and see it in the flesh.
Originally when I had the idea of getting a Vespa I was leaning towards the retro styled PX200 but was talked out of it by Joe as it is a bitch of a scooter to ride. This left me with only an ET4 to look at as the GT was way too big for a wimpy girl like me. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the ET as it looked a bit to jellybeanish to me and I didn’t like it’s black rear view mirror stands. Luckily I came across issue 4 of the Scooter magazine which had a purple Vespa LX as a centrefold. It looked more like the GT but without it’s size and had a look that was better to me. I emailed Scootopia about it and he said he would email me when it came in, which he did.
When we arrived at the store on Saturday Pauline had ideas of taking a few scoots for a ride. The red LX was at the front window for everyone to see. It was only the 50cc version so there were a few minor differences between it and the 150cc – namely it has black at the bottom of it’s body whereas the 150 is all the one colour. I prefer the ET’s chrome pillion pegs but I guess it’s no big deal. Since the guys didn’t have the keys we couldn’t do anything with it, they even had to carry it to the front window as it had the steering lock on.
Pauline ended up taking the ET4 150 for a test drive around the back streets of the Grange. The leather jacket that was purchased from target suited her and the bike well. When she came back I was expecting to see a big grin on her face but she was playing it cool. She mentioned that it had a lot more power than the vmoto (to be expected) and that the seat was more comfortable. She had a few concerns about the seat height because her feet weren’t flat on the road but at the time didn’t think too much about it.
After her test drive we sat down to talk business with Peter about a deal for the purchase of two scooters. We were a bit limited by time as I had my motorbike lesson but he did enough wheeling and dealing to convince us to put down a $100 refundable deposit on each of the scoots. Pauline decided on a black LX while I went the silver. In all honesty I would prefer the purple one, but it is harder to see at night. They were getting a silver one in this week, so it’s possible I may have mine by the end of this week – not that I can ride it. Pauline’s would take a bit longer to order and he gave her a deadline of Monday morning to decide if she wanted to go ahead with her purchase, but I’m pretty much sold on mine.
Because the LX is a brand new model he seemed to think that I would be the first person to own one in Queensland. He was even talking about photos for the Courier Mail which would be pretty funny. I could compete with Keith and his Alfa photos then and put it up on the vanity wall at work.
Over the weekend she changed her mind about the LX and decided to look at an Aprilia Sportcity 200 or Scarabeo 250. She liked the fact that they had lower seats than the Vespas and had a bigger wheel for a smoother ride. They also were more powerful than mine so it may be better for trips that she might take to Ipswich in one. It would be cool to have two different models as we could chop and change them based on our moods. She has emailed Scootopia about her change of heart and we should hear soon from them. Because of this I’m not quite sure how much the scooters will end up costing as the deal he did for us was originally based on the price of two vespas.
When we were finished with all the paperwork we raced over to Toombul for my lesson with Aegis Training. It’s in the lower carpark of the Toombul shopping centre and they rope off an area for us. There were a couple of people on scooters doing laps when we arrived – a woman on a 50cc bug and a guy on a 150 bug that looked a bit like a scarabeo. Once they’d finished my instructor Andrew pulled out a 250 Honda for me. It had a few big dents on it and the seat was well used but it started first go. Andrew went through the particulars of the bike and taught me the FINE method to starting a bike.
F – Fuel
I – Ignition (key)
N – Neutral
E – Engine
We started off slowly with me in first gear releasing the clutch and moving forward a little then braking. We then migrated quickly in to doing slow laps around the carpark and even went in to second gear. There is a lot to think about on a bike when you are consiously doing stuff. You have a clutch on the left hand, a front brake on the right, the gears on your left foot and the back brake on your right. I can’t wait for the time when I don’t have to think, I’m cornering, so I have to put the brake on, keep the throttle in the same place, attempt countersteering by pushing the handles forward and look to where I want to end up – not where I’m going. By the end of the lesson I was completed wasted and it didn’t help that I was a little dehydrated. Pauline reckoned I looked like she felt and she had a migraine. I was a little scared about the power in the bike but I definitely enjoyed the feeling. He told Pauline I was doing really good and that I had done more in an hour than most people do in one day. I guess all those years of riding motorbikes in arcade games finally paid off!