It’s been a busy scooting summer here in the midwest, with the usual cavalcade of events that occur on almost a weekly basis. It’s a great time to relax with old and new friends and take in the sights and activities of another area. The two highlights for me were (as usual) the Pittsburgh Vintage Scooter Club’s “Bandcamp” and our own Rover rally, “Motorcity Shakedown”. They both offer some great times, amazing rides and the sights, sounds and unique 2-stroke smells, bat are as different as can be. One is a country lane accessed camping rally with no cell phone signal, and one is held in the suburbs and on the downtown streets of one of America’s most charming cities.
Bandcamp 16, New Somerset, Ohio
PVSC’s excellent Bandcamp scooter rally continues to grow in popularity and attendance and yet, the quality of it is being maintained and even increased. Despite some truly poor weather with long periods of heavy rain, the rally went off without a hitch. Even at it’s worst, with the rain pouring down and the mud coming up, no complaints were heard, and for scooterists, that is nothing short of a miracle. Friday night went by with a blur with campsite visits and micro-brew tasting all the rage. Soon, the sounds were pumping on the stage and what seemed like 100 people were up there skankin’. Fireworks were going off in the rain and all seemed right.
Perhaps it was the dry periods in which excellent food (breakfast and dinner on Saturday) and mid-afternoon Tiki drinks from Cleveland’s Porco Lounge that made the best of the soggy conditions. Saturday afternoon’s “Scooter Games” went off with the usual minor miscues, but also with the usual laughter and frivolity. The “Mexicana 300” scooter race was again a huge hit, with it’s laps of the actual Band Camp practice field interspersed with gobbling mustard burritos and taking drinks on each successive lap. It wasn’t easy to ride on the wet grass and plentiful mud, but that didn’t stop the eventual winner from blasting around and increasing his margin at every stop.
The theme of Bandcamp this year was “Scootspringa”, a play on the Amish Rumspringa, where the usual ways are cast aside for a period of debauchery and abandon. And this was the rule too, at Bandcamp, albeit in reverse as more and more Amish customs seemed to appear, rather than disappear, throughout the weekend. No matter, a fun, muddy time was had by all.
A personal highlight was actually remembering to bring my wet-weather gear, so I was probably the driest person on site that whole weekend. Besides, it made walking around in the pouring rain kinda fun. Another highlight was the appearance of a fantastic mechanical Amish buggy (complete with a glowing red-eyed, animatronic “horse”) that was in fact mounted on the famous “El Coucho” scooter and sofa sidecar chassis. It’s creator was transformed from a minor to a major celebrity as his creation wandered the area.
As Saturday night arrived, the raffle bags were raffled, the awards were handed out and the music on the stage began to play. Fun was had, the dancing was mad, and we all turned in early so that we could get a start on the departure in the morning. Everything except that last part is absolutely true. Roll on Bandcamp 2016! I wonder what PVSC have in store for us next year?
Motorcity Shakedown 11
On the second weekend of August, scooters rule Detroit and environs. This year was no different, as over 100 scooters roamed freely through the streets of not only Detroit proper, but also Warren, Ferndale, Royal Oak and Corktown.
It all started with a huge biker-bar welcome party at the famous Stonehouse Bar near the old state fair grounds in Detroit. An outstanding collection of ska, punk and psychobilly rang out as scooters filled both sides of Ralston street in front of the Stonehouse. After several hours of this beverage-powered meet and greet, a large contingent departed to the old Theater Bizarre grounds for a well-managed and chill bonfire (complete with Greenbush microbrew and yes, even a porta-potty). Soon it was “good night”, or was it “good morning”?
Saturday breakfast was hosted at MotoPow! the ultra cool vintage motorcycle and scooter repair facility in Ferndale. Rovers stalwarts Sally and Charlie cooked up a fantastic breakfast that was augmented by fresh bagels, fruit and plenty of coffee, juice and water for attendees. The breakfast quickly turned into an impromptu scooter show and friends gathering.
The main ride this year, by Rover Grimace, actually left MotoPow! spot on time and headed straight for a couple of quick stops in Corktown and Detroit including Abick’s bar and Batch Brewing along with a longer stop in midtown Detroit for lunch. There, riders got to choose between Jolly Pumpkin, HopCat and Motor City Brewing Works and many did.
After a short afternoon break, Rovers and guests headed to Hamtramck’s Bumbo’s for the Saturday night party. The historic bar was filled it to the gills and it seemed that everyone enjoyed a variety of beverages and food truck-style catering that was set up on the patio. Soon enough, the artful awards (designed and created by Rover Greg) were distributed. After the raffle bags were won by lucky raffle ticket holders, the main event started, the rally scooter raffle. This time it was a lovely 1968 Vespa Sprint, and it went to Rover Scotty Law. This was the first year that the Rovers could win the raffle scoot and it sure paid off for Scott and wife Tina. After some quick goodbyes, the party moved to Rover Tater’s house and apparently went until the sun came up.
A few hours later, Rovers and friends gather at Ferndale’s Imperial for eye-openers and delicious breakfast fare. Too soon, it was all over again and everyone headed back to their original ports of call, whether it was blocks or hundreds of miles away. After the rally, it was announced that they made a nice contribution to The Devoted Barn with the raffle proceeds. A great ending to a great rally. What will those Rovers do next year for Motorcity Shakedown 12? It might be nothing! We are tired!
What’s next: Taking a walk on the dark side