One year ago, I didn’t have a Vespa. Getting a Vespa was on my bucket list, but it wasn’t a high priority. Then it happened: I fell down the rabbit hole that is Google search and next thing you know, I was calling local dealers asking what they had in stock and researching all available accessories. Weekends became full of dealer visits to see them in person. The one issue I had to overcome was that I didn’t have the motorcycle endorsement on my drivers license so I couldn’t actually test drive a Vespa before buying one! I had never rode a motorbike before, so before putting down money to buy a Vespa I had to be sure that this was something I would really enjoy doing.
One of my local dealers has 50 cc Buddy scooters for rent so my husband and I took a Saturday and did just that. They also provide some instruction for newbies like me to get you started on your adventure safely. I knew I wanted to purchase a scooter bigger than a 50 cc, but it was a great way to see how I would like riding. First off I had problems riding. I just couldn’t get the feel of the throttle, how to turn – all the important things.
The instructor had the patience of a saint! She turned what could have been a negative experience into a positive by boosting my confidence and my husband encouraged me too so within about an hour I was practicing figure 8’s in the parking lot with relative success. We graduated to riding around on a local public road with very light traffic and I was able to experience the joy of flying on a scooter. I hadn’t had this feeling since I was a kid zipping around the neighborhood on my bicycle coasting downhill fast. Pure joy. I was sold on the experience.
Deep down I did wonder if I should do this. Many of my friends said it’s too dangerous. I’m in my 50’s, but most of the time my brain doesn’t remember how old it is. Besides, if I don’t do this now, when would I ever do it?
How to decide which Vespa to buy? I had my eyes on a brand new GTS. The largest and fastest model in the Vespa line up. It is also the heaviest. Although I still couldn’t test ride one, the dealer let me try it by pedaling it around and sitting on it to see how it fit me. I am by all means not petite. I never have been. At 5’ 7” with curves and long legs I had no problem reaching the ground while seated. I wasn’t used to handling a heavy scooter and had a difficult time moving it confidently even while seated.
The dealer suggested I give the Sprint 150 a serious look. Sure, it’s the baby brother of the GTS, but fast enough in it’s own right with a top speed of almost 60 mph. It proved to be great alternative for me as most of my riding would be in the 30–55 mph range and I would rarely if ever go onto a freeway. An absolute must was that the scooter be able keep up with suburban traffic. The Sprint 150 was much easier for me to manage and it had ABS which was a feature I felt was important to me. The fact that some of the new Vespa line up had ABS was what prompted me into seriously check them out at this time. I put down my deposit and ordered the Sprint 150 ABS in Blue Gaiola.
So much to think about and so many things to do and buy. Brain overload! I took a step back and started a list.
I think quite a few of us start out this way if you aren’t lucky enough to born into the culture of Vespa or at least the motorbike world. If something is truly important to you then make it happen! Don’t be afraid to take that first step even if it takes you out of your comfort zone. Otherwise you’ll never know what adventure awaits.
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The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and not a direct representation of the Vespa Club of America, it's member base, it's Officers or Board.