“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”
— Lao Tzu
The Vespa debacle ended Saturday1 when we went to Scoot Richmond — where we probably should have gone in the first place — and bought a new 2020 Vespa Sei Giorni GTV.
It was a drama-free, no-regrets event that let me think about the scooter itself during the meandering ride home.
I was gauging how it felt, the way it handled, and whether I’d be scared silly while sharing the freeway with demented, uncaring, inconsiderate northern Virginia motorists who are better at texting than driving.
We rolled out of Scoot Richmond’s lot with 11.5 miles on the clock and hadn’t gone 50 miles when I realized the saddle just wasn’t working. Sliding back on the seat gave my legs and arms more room, but the saddle is contoured and I ended up on the seat’s edge, which felt like sitting on the short side of a 2×4.
I’ve got to get a new saddle, I remember thinking.
But that was the only thing, aside from vibration at stoplights, which is expected since we’re talking about a single-cylinder engine. The Vespa has nice acceleration and was good on the sweeping county roads like U.S. 255 and stable when I got on the freeway. The ABS-equipped brakes felt reliable.
And I didn’t feel ridiculous on it as I thought. How I look may be another matter.
I swapped seats — my first modification! — between the Sei Giorni and Linda’s GTS2 the next day, which will make both of us more comfortable, I think. There’s a list of other changes I’ll be making.
“What’s the idea of a scooter if you already have a motorcycle?” a colleague at work asked, a righteous question, certainly; it’s still hard for me to articulate why I wanted a Vespa.
They’re much quirkier machines than either of my motorcycles but they still have a certain attraction for me.
I still like both of my motorcycles3 and couldn’t give them up.
The Vespa is something radically different, forcing me to think differently in terms of riding and touring. It’ll be slower-paced, and we’ll have to take less than we usually do. I’m thinking that may be a good thing.
Continuing my predilection for naming my bikes after Antarctic exploration ships, the Sei Giorni will be called Erebus4.
Now we have to figure out where to go.
1 — I put a down payment on that poor Sei Giorni at the Honda dealer when it seemed they were making an honest effort to obtain a brown/red key. Sadly, the previous owner did not return their calls and they were flabbergasted by the quoted cost to replace the ECU and ignition switch. They dropped the price a bit more but Richmond offered a better deal on a new bike, with bonafide key and two-year warranty, so I withdrew from Honda and went to Richmond instead.
I still feel bad about that keyless Sei Giorni, though. It deserves better.
2 — The Sei Giorni is essentially the same as Linda’s GTS with the same engine and ABS. The seat swap was with her consent, of course.
3 — Both Endurance and Terra Nova will be around for quite a while.
4 — The HMS Erebus (and the HMS Terror) visited both the Antarctic, in 1841, and headed for the Arctic in 1845. Both were lost until they were rediscovered in 2014.