Tag Archives: Austin Scooter Club

Scooter Grand Prizza

8 Dec

Last month Austin, Texas, had the honor of being the host city for the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.  News media and fans from all over the world poured into Austin and headed over to the new Circuit of the Americas state-of-the-art race track.  Most of the Downtown Warehouse District was blocked off for three days.  It’s been five years since an F1 race has been held in the USA, creating an especially exciting atmosphere.  We’re told half a billion people watched the the race.  It was a really big deal!

In honor of this major event, the The Pizza Bistro hosted its own Scooter Grand Prizza — free pizza and reserved parking for anyone showing up on a scooter.

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John Kinnaird, owner of The Pizza Bistro, and his staff greeted us at the door.  With Vespas lined up for outdoor seating, their enthusiasm for scooters was immediately apparent.  When asked about that, he said,

I’m sure you know that scooters are the preferred method of transportation all over Italy.  There were thousands and thousands!  They were wonderful:  functional, colorful, beautiful!  As we were working on design ideas about how to ‘fuse’ Austin and Italy together, we decided that one great way to do so would be to include scooters in our restaurant floorplans.  We think that they add spirit, a dash of fun and help connect us to Italy.

As for the pizza?  Bravo!  You get to choose style, size, sauce, and toppings.   I ordered thin crust with perfectly seasoned Marinara sauce.  John said they import many of their ingredients from Italy, and it shows. Of course, there are many other items on the menu.   Great service.  I’ll be back!

I wasn’t about to let this event go by without an Austin Scooter Club ride, so I linked up some of our best hilly, curvy roads for a fast 42-mile ride through West Austin.  At least in my mind, the Grand Prizza lived up to its name!  The video speaks for itself.

GoPro fans, I used my new Hero 2 for most of the ride footage.  Right now you can pick up a Hero 2 for a good price.  With the latest firmware download, it’s an economical upgrade from the Hero.  While I haven’t made a side-by-side comparison, it does a noticeably better job of handling motion and low light.  I see a Hero 3 Black in my future. . . .

Peace on the Road!

P.S.  Joy is everywhere, Funiculi, Funicula!

The Rally With No Name 2012

25 Oct

This year’s The Rally With No Name has come and gone, and I’m pleased to say it was bigger and better than ever!

Over 200 people attended, making it “the biggest and baddest scooter rally in Texas.”  The rides on Saturday were cancelled due to heavy rain, but I didn’t hear one complaint from anyone.  That’s the scooter crowd for you!   Sorry to say I didn’t pull my camera out Friday or Saturday because of the weather.

With clearing skies on Sunday, we were able to make up for lost time.  As we rode from Mellizoz Tacos (best tacos in Austin!) through Zilker Park, the sight of over 80 scooters created a spectacle that stopped action on the soccer fields.  From there we went through downtown and over to AF1 Racing for the ghymkana and prizes.                

Here is a short video I put together showing a few highlights from Sunday.    

I can assure everyone that less than an hour after the rally ended, the organizers were already brainstorming about ideas for next year’s rally.  Be there!

Peace on the Road!

Wednesday Night Scooter Ride

24 Aug

So here I am back in Des Moines, Iowa.  (Yes, I took the cage!)  Fortunately, before leaving Austin, I was able to squeeze in a Wednesday night ride with the Austin Scooter Club

We met at one of my favorite eating joints,  Top Notch Hamburgers drive-in restaurant — a nostalgic venue for the baby boomers.  

About 16 scooters crowded into a few parking spots under the drive-in canopy.

By the time everyone had their fill of hamburgers and tots, the sun was setting, temperature was dropping, and it was time to roll out for an in-town ride.

It was dark when we arrived at Kick Butt Coffee, just in time for the comedy open mic.  Without, ahem, commenting on the comedians, before long we ended up outside for some more socializing.

Here are a few sights and sounds from the ride.  


As always, I had a great time with my scooter friends.  We need to do these midweek rides more often!

Peace on the Road!

il Buono, il Brutto, il Rally (The Good, the Bad and the Rally)

6 Oct

The saga continues. . . .

In September the Riff Raff S.C. and Austin Scooter Club presented their third annual scooter rally, The Good, the Bad and the Rally, which many of us think is the “best rally in Texas.”  Not that I’m prejudiced, but from what I could see, it was a major success!

The Clint Eastwood series of spaghetti-western movies have been the inspiration for past rally themes, with A Fistful of Scooters in 2009 and For a Few Scooters More in 2010.  This year’s rally completes the trilogy.

Basically, the format was similar to last year, but this year’s schedule of events was bigger and better, including blocked-off scooter parking on Downtown Sixth Street; out-of-town barbecue run;  live music, a movie, and sharing space with vintage cars at famous Top Notch Hamburgers; a run to Pinballz Arcade; gymkhana; prizes and giveaways.  There were 148 participants, with two guys from England and a couple from Minnesota that used the rally “as an excuse to see Austin.”

If you’ve been reading Biketrash Holiday for very long, you know how much fun Desha and I have running around on our “little” scooters (both Vino 125’s), so this year we felt like it was time for us to join the rally organizing committee.   Because of that involvement, we spent a lot of time helping with registration, directing parking, being hosts, etc., so there wasn’t much of a chance to take pictures or play with the GoPro camera during the rally.  I’m afraid my video doesn’t even begin to cover everything.

In honor of the good, bad and rally motif, I decorated Jane (my scooter) with good and bad Barbies.    Don’t know what Sergio Leone would have thought about that interpretation, but it was distinct and unique!

Here is Good Barbie.

And Bad Barbie.  Tsk, tsk. . . .

On Saturday one of my jobs was to help with traffic control during the ride to Lockhart, where I blocked traffic at the turns.  Then when everyone passed through the turn, I’d race wide-open throttle to the front again and block traffic at the next turn.  Kinda fun being a law-breaker!

So I’m flying along, feeling good and thinking to myself about how nimble and sweet the Vino rides.  In fact, before leaving Austin I was bragging to someone about Vino performance and reliability, blah, blah.  Suddenly there is a pop, no power, a few backfires, and I limp to the side of the road.  Aargh!

You know, it seems like every time I get a little uppity or overconfident about something, circumstances knock me back into my rightful place!   Jane and I humbly rode into Lockhart on the sweeper truck.  And, let me tell you, there is no disguising a scooter with waving Barbies.  Everyone knew Jane had broken down and I had to answer many concerned questions.  Doh!

Turns out when we got back to Austin, the guys at AF1 Racing discovered the spark plug cap had come off.  Took them about 60 seconds to figure it out.  Guess I won’t be so quick to brag the next time!  Lesson learned. . . for now.

As always, on Sunday the gymkhana, generous door prizes and vintage raffle bike (pictured below) were a big hit.

Here is my latest video showing a few of the sights and sounds from Sunday.

Everyone I talked to is already looking forward to next year’s rally.  I have it on good authority that — Well, you’re just going to have to wait and see!

Peace on the Road!

Official Scooter Goodwill Ambassadors

4 Apr

Recently I had the great honor of serving as a scooter goodwill ambassador in the Capital 10,000 race.   Well, um, okay. . . .  Maybe that’s a little grandiose — but it sure was fun!

The Capital 10,000 is the largest 10k race in Texas, with well over 22,000 participants this year.   In our official capacity as ambassadors, 19 scooters from the Austin Scooter Club  rode ahead of the racers to toss T-shirts and provide a little entertainment for the crowds and volunteers while they waited for the main event.

We met at the IHop early — and I mean early.  

We lined up on the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge just as the sun was coming up.   That’s the State Capitol dome way down the Avenue.

One of our jobs was to stay in front of the wheelchair racers, and we timed it for a few photo ops.  This was taken in front of the historic Paramount Theater in downtown Austin.  No secret why this crowd was “employed” as ambassadors and not bouncers!  You can see that everyone had a bulging bag full of  T-shirts to be tossed.  

Of course, the pink granite Capitol Building of the Great State of Texas!

Restocked on T-shirts at the halfway point and looped back to the First Street Bridge. 

Our formal ambassadorial duties abruptly ended as we crossed the finish line and were whisked clear of the racers.  Several of us kept the spirit rolling  with a late breakfast at Star Seeds Cafe.

Here is official video documentation of our goodwill mission.  You’ll see in the video that everyone had a scooterrific time, and I can’t wait to do it again next year!

Peace on the Road!

Second Annual Scootour of Lights

28 Dec

Last week Desha and I led the Second Annual Scootour of Lights and decorating contest with the Austin Scooter Club.  Even Mother Nature seemed to help with the plans, as she gave us perfect weather with temps in the fifties.

The fun began with a scooter decorating contest, door prizes, and dinner at Titaya’s.  Most everyone decorated their rides, and there was fierce competition for the top three places!  Desha was in charge of the contest and worked hard to find some scooter-loving businesses that were more than generous.   Thanks to Austin City Powersports for a free oil and filter change, Austin Vespa for a chrome front rack, leather gloves and T-shirts, Urban Moto for a Givi messenger bag, and Genuine Joe’s for a gift certificate.    

Ride-leader duties trump picture-taking duties, so I’m sorry to say I didn’t get pictures of the top three  — although the winner is shown in the video (link at bottom of the page).  It’s the Buddy with moving reindeer antlers and rear basket full of stuffed animals.

You can always find fabulous Christmas displays in Austin, but this year lights seemed to be fewer and farther between.  Our route meandered through what I call old Central Austin, down along Lake Austin, and back up to  Twelfth Street.   The route was complicated (42 turns) as we weaved in and out of the various neighborhoods; but it all went without a hitch, thanks to Garmin and Scala Rider communicators that enabled me to receive progress reports from Desha, who was riding tailgunner 16 scooters back.

One of the highlights was the home of Willis and Cathy Littlefield.  They’ve been decorating and handing out candy canes for many years and are featured on all the maps of must-see Christmas lights.  Because of this, literally hundreds of cars drive by and part of the street is blocked off.  Mr. Littlefield loves having the scooters (Who doesn’t?), he always looks forward to having us stop by, advertises our arrival time, and gives us special permission to park in the driveway and street. 

It’s a splendid show, complete with snow-making machine — especially amazing when you realize they take it down each night and set it up again the next afternoon.    (Theft problem a few years ago.)  You can walk around and they even let the little children touch and “play with” the various displays.

Here are the Littlefields with their hallmark candy canes and Cowboys Santa hats and a few pictures to give you an idea of what it’s like at their place. 

By this point it was getting late and some of our group had to head for home.  The rest of us went by Austin Java for hot chocolate and desert to prepare for the grand finale of 37th Street.   (Everyone simply says 37th Street, but it includes 35th Street and Home Lane.)   The lights on 37th Street have dwindled since its glory days several years back when it received national attention, but plenty of houses still participate with irreverent, quirky, keep-Austin-weird displays. 

Here are my favorites from this year — sock-monkey manger scene and tyrannosaurus rox (giant guitar).  You can’t get any more Austin than that!

The video does a much better job than this blog post of bringing the ride to life.  If your computer has trouble playing it, click on the HD in the bottom right-hand corner of the movie screen to turn off the High Definition.  It also might be helpful to let the movie load for a few minutes before you begin playing.

Peace on the Road!



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