With bragging rights for the highest gas prices in Chicagoland going to the Shell station just a few blocks from home, Melis and I have been talking about alternative ways to get groceries or go see a movie without relying on the car. When you think about it – particularly during the summer – cars are overkill for anything other than long distance trips.
Now, bicycles are fantastic – love my bike. Except that it’s light on storage – not great for shopping. Walking is good, but requires a lot more forethought (it’s a 20 minute hike to town.)
So we’re very excited about our solution – a new member to our family. Next month we’ll pick up our restored vintage Vespa. Vintage models don’t only look better and increase in value, they’re often cheaper than a new one. Plus, it’s small enough to fit in the garage alongside our car, robust enough to whisk both of us around at 40 or 50 mph, (30 is fine, thank you,) and efficient… we’ll be seeing around 90 miles to the gallon. Add a big chrome rack for bringing home several bags of groceries or a bunch of library books, and you’ve got yourself really smart transportation. Vespas are also notoriously easy to maintain, once you learn a little about them. It’s about as difficult as working on a lawnmower engine, by most accounts.
One of the other unique benefits is that you instantly become part of a neat little sub-culture. More mild ones than wild ones, these scooter gangs take Sunday rides up Sheridan Road along the lake, go out for dinner, and hang out at seemingly endless rallies, making new friends in the process. And while I don’t see myself ever participating in road trips with packs of leather-clad scooter riders… I suppose it’s nice to know they’re there.