It has been a few years, a lot of years, way too many years since we had a scooter rally here in Minnesota. Scooter Du ran from 2000 to 2005. Rattle My Bones went from 2006 to 2010. Then, nothing. Yeah that’s just too long without a big rally here. Now, in 2016, we are looking at not one, but two rallies on the calendar.
First up we have the Lambretta Jamboree taking place from Thursday, July 14th through Sunday, July 17th up in Duluth. This event is for vintage Lambrettas only and will draw from all over the country. Lambretta Club USA is the driving force behind this gathering and I think it’s a pretty big deal that they selected Duluth Minnesota for this year’s event. If you think Vespa is all that makes up the vintage scooter scene, you’re missing out on some wonderful machines and very interesting people. You can get more info at: http://mnlambrettajamboree.weebly.com/
If your only experience of “vintage” events involves show cars, this would be more than a little different. Though there MAY be a couple of trailer queens, many of these old scooters will see plenty of miles during the rally. There are at least planned excursions around Duluth and riding events such as time trials.
Here in the Twin Cities we are VERY glad to see a new scooter rally taking shape. Scheduled for Friday, August 12th to Sunday, August 14th, the Land of 10,000 Scoots rally will take place at multiple locations in the Twin Cities area. During the 2015 Bearded Lady Motorcycle Freak Show (if you’re a rider in the Twin Cities and you don’t know about this, you should) Joe Cappello (who was active in previous rallies) ran into Bill Bornhausen and Bill Gleason at the 331 Club. The two Bills convinced Joe to start the ball rolling for a Twin Cities scooter rally in 2016. The rally will be hosted by the Twin Cities Scooter Collective – a soon-to-be Charter Club with the American Motorcycle Association.
What’s all the excitement about scooter rallies? What does one DO at these things anyway? Lots of things, mostly fun. There are three types of scooter rallies: brand/make/model/club – specific, event centered (holiday, charity, etc.) and regional. Some rallies are a combination. The Lambretta Jamboree by the Lambretta USA club, should be pretty obvious. It’s for people (predominantly club members) who own vintage Lambretta scooters. There’s a regional element in that the event moves locations. As mentioned, this year it’s Duluth. As such, some of the things they will do at the rally in Duluth will take advantage of the location. I’d bet that at least one of the rally rides will involve Skyline Parkway in Duluth.
The Land of 10,000 Scoots rally is not specific to any particular make or model of scooter and is more of a regional event. Though put on by a scooter club, MANY of the attendees will simply be local scooterists. They will be riding everything from 50cc Chinese scooters to 650cc Japanese behemoth maxi-scooters. There will be vintage, modern, modified, stock, some of everything.
Scooter Rallies are likely to include activities that involve looking at scooters, riding scooters, eating & socializing. Looking at scooters may be a judged competition with categories one expects (best restoration, best original, etc.) and things one may not expect (most obscure ‘The Who’ reference, most unlikely electrical accessory, etc.) and just wandering around the parking area of the event gazing at other people’s rides. Scooter rides will generally take advantage of regional attractions. Sometimes rides will involve another activity such as a scavenger hunt or a timed ride to specific check points. Gymkhana is not so much a ride as a ridden obstacle course. Eating (drinking) and socializing can run the gamut from casual grilling in a parking lot to (semi) formal awards banquets and hosted live musical attractions.
What Scooter rallies really are is shared fun. A group of people, joined by their common interest in scooters, getting together to have a good time. This year we’ll have a couple in Minnesota and I’d encourage you to check one (or both) out.
Twin Cities scooterist David Harrington owns and operates JustGottaScoot.com