by Jeremy Wilker

SKOOTER DU 4
It is that time of year again: the one time to make sure your scooter is in good running condition so you can make your annual appearance at the Skooter Du scooter rally! You could have your scooter in a bazillion pieces all year long, but come rally time all excuses are null and void. You simply must have a working scooter. How the hell else will you take part in the fun events, crazy contests and BBQ’d food?

Skooter Du 4: Zen Arcade is our fourth annual Twin Cities scooter rally and I encourage you to attend some or all of the events, whether you have a scooter or just appreciate them. You’ll no doubt see scooters the likes of which you may have only dreamed about (or feared, in some cases). You’ll meet a broad range of scooter riders from the young to the old, intense to laid back, punk rock to lawyerly. Friendly, every single one of ’em.

The rally takes place this year on August 8th, 9th and 10th and things get kicked off on Friday night starting at 6:00 p.m. down at the Triple Rock Social Club (629 Cedar Ave. S, Minneapolis). We’ve commandeered a few booths here for the past three years and the joint has been very accommodating and a good place to grab some grub, some nicely-priced suds and B.S. about scooters all night long. This year we’re having a bunch of bands play, including The F**k Yeahs, Holy Ghosts (from Rockford, IL) and more. Besides rally registration, which gets you a fair bit of schwag, you’ll pay only to see the bands, the bar itself is still a freebie. Alcohol, however, is on you. You can sign in for the weekend rally Friday night or you can do it Saturday morning.

Speaking of which, Saturday morning rolls around starting at 9:30 a.m. at the CalhounCommonsShopping   Center (3040 Excelsior Blvd.) near LakeCalhoun. If you didn’t register Friday night, you have to do it before 11:15 a.m. Bring down your scooters with a full tank of gas and some sunscreen for your pale Minnesota skin. The ride leaves at 11:30 a.m. sharp and will take the fleet of scooters through the southwest metro area. We will do one fuel stop along the way and stop for lunch. Riding en masse with up to 100 scooters is a crazy cool experience – don’t miss it.

At the end of the ride (destination: Scooterville), we’ll be holding the contests and judging sessions. Enter your vintage or modern scooter into the appropriate category for your chance at fame (such as it is) and fortune (prizes!). Before the big Saturday night shindig we always hold the gymkhana — a two-wheeled obstacle course judged on agility, time and style. Competition is tough and might well be the high-point of the weekend. Unless of course you have the Rockford boys staying at your house for the rally…

The Saturday night party is being held at Jitters (205   Hennepin Ave E.) this year. Raffle prizes and awards get the evening started and then free music the rest of the night with DJ’s spinning the best soul, motown, freak-beat and more from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Drink specials will no doubt be available to party-goers. Anybody got any salted nut rolls?

Whenever the night ends, Sunday morning comes around too early. Still, you must force your weary bleary eyes open, get active and motor on over to McGovern’s in downtown St. Paul by 10:00 a.m. for breakfast and the giving away of the S.O.B. Cup. It will be filled, by the way. The St. Paul S.O.B.’s will then lead the Sunday ride around the capital city before attendees say their goodbyes and head for home.

Look to next month’s issue for a full rally report and photos! http://www.minnescoota.com/skooterdu/

SCOOTER RALLIES
What the heck goes on at a scooter rally? No, wait… better yet, what the hell IS a scooter rally? A scooter rally is, at its most simple, a gathering of scooterists over a weekend for talking, swapping advice and parts, riding, contests, and partaking of much food and drink. They usually take place in two environments: city and campground. The city rallies are perhaps a bit more “tame” as there are such things as bar close times to be enforced and attendees aren’t all staying at the same place. Camping rallies tend more towards “free spirited” vibes, what with the availability of bonfires and beer. Late nights are guaranteed. Flaming burnouts? Uh huh. Contests involving shots of hot sauce? Beware.

If you feel emboldened to attend more rallies after your experience at the Skooter Du 4 rally, you’ve got a wealth of options and weekends available for your selection. The best place to find out dates and details is over at the Two Stroke Buzz website’s calendar at http://www.2strokebuzz.com/calendar

Some examples: the Mile High Mayhem rally in Denver includes live shows, the usual competitions, a huge raffle and scooter racing. This is one of the premier rally events in the U.S. but it takes place the last weekend in July so it’ll be over by the time you read this. The Kings Classic in San Francisco (a big scooter town) takes place August 15-17th. One of the bigger rallies here in the Midwest is the Slaughterhouse rally (number nine!) in Chicago. Make the relatively short trip for this event August 28-September 1st. There is something just about every weekend during the warmer months — pick your weekend and your state and load the scooters on a truck or trailer and get out of town!

PIAGGIO UPDATE
If you follow the column you’ll remember that an Italian named Roberto Colaninno was offering to buy up Piaggio and start a recovery plan for the historic company. A few weeks ago, at the end of June, the major banks involved in the deal green-lighted Colaninno’s plan (via his organization IMMSI). Not all is said and done, however, as the banking group also received a new offer from the American investment fund Cerberus. Who the heck is Cerberus? According to the Washington Times, Cerberus is “…a New York investment fund that specializes in buying the debt of troubled companies with the idea of profiting from their restructuring,” and it has apparently been buying Air Canada bonds and has recently announced it will be buying up shares of Aozora Bank in Japan. Curiouser and curiouser!


The Twin Cities’ Vintage Scooter Club, The Regulars, meets on the first and third Sundays of each month at Pizza Luce in Uptown Minneapolis (32nd and Lyndale Ave) at 2:00 pm for socializing and riding–as long as weather permits. Join us! The website is located at http://www.minnescoota.com

M.M.M.

 

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