by Stephen “Hell Cat” Heller
TIME TO RIDE
The weather right now is the reason why we live in Minnesota. If you are of the persuasion that likes to ride in groups, there are many opportunities for you to do so. The first and longest running has to be the Regulars ride that meets the first and third Sunday at Pizza Luce on the corner of Lyndale and 32nd in Uptown Minneapolis at 2:00 pm. While eating pizza and sitting on the patio the ride route is discussed and then leaves, eventually.
A second weekly ride known simply as the Tuesday Night Ride starts at Summit Ave on, the river, by the monument. Yeah, look for the red house next to the tall tree. Really, the ride meets near Summit and Mississippi River Blvd. in St. Paul. Riders meet at 6:30 and leave at 7:00 for an hour-long ride that ends at Betty’s Bikes and Buns.
Although smaller and less organized, there are scooter clubs forming in the outlands of Minnesota. Organized through the website stcloudscoots.com, scooter enthusiasts from St. Cloud and the surrounding area are getting together to ride. To find out about rides in St. Cloud, go to the aforementioned site.
If you have a touring class scooter there are rides for you, too. The Minn-Max scooter club has regular rides throughout the spring and summer. The Minn-Max rides are usually longer and a bit faster than the previously mentioned rides. The routes and starting points are selected/ discussed on their yahoo group. autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/Minn-Max/
If you are not interested in riding in a group, but find yourself with some time on your hands and a sunny afternoon, then you should check out the newly created rides and routes database on www.minnescoota.com in the forum section. If you missed any of the Scooter Du rides, they are all mapped out with detailed directions. Other scooter friendly and just plain fun rides are there also, including one to Duluth and to Red Wing. It is an open forum, so feel free to add your own favorite route!
I had written a witty opening for this section but it was just too easy and groan inducing so I will abstain. The new Kymco Xciting 250 has hit the dealership floor in Minneapolis. I know everyone is waiting for the 500cc version to come out, but this is a great scoot and should definitely be checked out.
The Xciting 250 shares the same power plant as the other 3 Kymco 250’s including the torture tested People 250. Each of Kymco’s 250cc scooters has their own points that make them great. The Xciting is aimed at taller riders that want to cruise. On the other 250’s, riders over 6 feet tend to feel cramped, especially on the Grand Vista. The Xciting is plenty roomy, but maybe a bit too large for people who are inseam challenged. Dual disc brakes on the front and a single on the back stop the 403-pound scooter. At initial look everything on the scooter is very well finished from the dash to the passenger foot pegs. Heavier and longer than any of the other Kymco scooters, the Xciting feels very grounded, even at its top speed of around 80mph. It is a very welcome addition to the Kymco and I am looking forward to putting more miles on one in the very near future.
Although not technically a scooter, pretty much anything that comes out of the Factory in Pontedera, Italy is worthy to be in this column. Piaggio, parent company to Vespa, released their new “scooter.” With 2 wheels in the front and one in the back, the MP3 sounds like a 21st century 3-wheeler that we all got hurt on when we were younger. But Piaggio claims that the two independently tilting front wheels and 3 disc brakes give it “unprecedented safety.” I just think it looks cool. The MP3 comes in 2 versions with a 125 or a 250 cc engine. But unfortunately, Piaggio only plans on selling the 125cc 4-stroke version in the US. With many accessories including heated lap covers and TOM TOM navigation, Piaggio hopes the MP3 will be a good transition for people not ready to have a go on 2-wheels.