by Jeremy Wilkers
FIRST ANNUAL TOY RUN!
The Regulars held our very first holiday Toy Run on May 20th 2001 and it was a great success! Yes, we know there isn’t a widely recognized holiday on May 20th, but the traditional holiday season isn’t so accommodating for scooters here in the Midwest. Plus, getting toys on a nice spring day is always a big surprise and tends to produce smiles all around.
We gathered at the Bryant Lake Bowl in Uptown for some grub and administrative issues. Everybody pitched in $25 and the entire amount went to toys for the kids at the Children’s Hospital in St. Paul. In exchange for our participation we received t-shirts and leg shield banners compliments of Chris Payne at Tee Squared Screenprinting. Chris was also instrumental in organizing the event and we thank him for all his efforts.
We were joined in the event by members of MMPEAPSHA, the local Mini Cooper club. Ok, let’s get the big question out of the way: MMPEAPSHA stands for Minnesota Mini’s Pizza Eating And Psychiatric Self-Help Association. It was great fun riding through town with two Mini cars zooming along with all the scooters! Plus, they had storage space to haul all the toys! We thank them for their willingness and generosity and hope to ride with them again soon.
We took our vehicles over to Target where we created a bit of a gawker slowdown in the parking lot. For some reason, mass numbers of tiny vintage vehicles cause curiosity. Or maybe it was the cloud of blue smoke hovering around the puttering machines… We all had two children on our gift list and we swept through Target like a swarm of, well, like goofy scooterists, actually. We made sure we had enough for everyone and went through the checkout only to discover we still had $40 left over. Back to the toy section for more games!
Upon arrival at The Children’s Hospital, we lined up the vehicles in front for easy access and unloaded all the toys, books and games onto a big cart so the kids could pick out what they wanted. Many children and their parents came outside to see the sun and the old scooters and cars while they received their presents. It was very rewarding to see the smiles spread across those little faces once they saw what they wanted! Some were shy about those vehicles but eventually there were kids climbing on scooters and sitting in Minis to get their pictures taken. Everybody got something – whether a gift or the satisfaction of a good deed done. We’ll be back next year, I’m sure!
NEW SCOOTERS FINALLY
The first handful of Vespa Boutiques have opened around the country and are apparently doing gangbuster sales to hungry customers. The Chicago, Denver and California stores are now open and initial reports sound great. People are able to go in, see, try and buy a brand new Vespa for the first time in 20 years! Finally. Several people here in the Twin Cities have made the journey to Chi-town to pick up their scooters and we’ve even had the pleasure of taking one of them out for a little test ride – very nice! Peppy four-stroke fully automatic 150cc engines, disc brakes, electric start, full instrumentation and other great features spell success for Piaggio. Now where did I put those 400,000 pennies? Bajaj USA also just passed their EPA tests and should have scooters in the States by August and September!
So what do scooterists do during the long dark cold months of winter? Why, go out and make a scooter movie, of course. This past winter we did actually spend time in the ice and snow and made a movie for the first Scooter Film Festival in California. What else we gonna do? Scooter restoration? Upgrades? Sure, we all (*cough*) do that.
We had shot a bunch of video last summer and a bunch at our rally (we would’ve had more if my ScooterCam didn’t get run over by a car – but that is another story) so when word went out about a scooter film festival, we wanted to do something. The dilemma was the deadline – April 30th. As Minnesotans, we knew we couldn’t count on the weather to be nice for filming prior to the deadline. After a bunch of brainstorming we came up with a winter-based storyline that spoofed The X-Files. How else could we explain a bunch of people trekking through the tundra in search of an “alien artifact” (scooter) buried in the ice?!
Surprisingly, it didn’t take a whole lot of arm-twisting to get club members to participate in this crazy idea. Nobody had any previous experience with acting or directing or lighting or catering or special effects or costuming, but that didn’t phase us in the least. We just jumped right in and started doing it. I’d encourage you all to do the same, trial by fire. I cranked out a 17-minute long script within two days and we picked a day and location to do the shooting. We figured we could wrap up the shoot within 5-7 hours. Well, we weren’t too far off and we finished 95% of the shooting in about nine hours. Nine hours of cold wind, ice-crusted snow, sleet and rain, walking to and fro, and much darkness — all shot on digital video in the middle of Lake Minnetonka and Big Island. Ask Nate about his frozen hands (all in the name of “art”) Brrrr.
The video was finished in post-production just in time and we are currently awaiting word on the competition. If you feel like finding out more or like reading the script and seeing video stills from the movie, go to this link on the website for all the info: http://www.minnescoota.com/movie
Ride Safe, Ride often.
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 or send me a message – firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com