What I have learned from riding a Vespa in Italy
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Molto Verboso
2018 GTS300 Super Sport - Donatello Vespace
Joined: 22 Dec 2012
Posts: 1233
Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:39 am quote
Lesson 1: "Don't sweat the petty stuff, and don't pet the sweaty stuff"....

Actually the real lesson is to not lose my $sh!t when I get a scratch or scuff on my scoot. Pretty much all form of transport in Italy, gets "baptized" in some way or another. As long as the mechanicals and structures are good, the rest is just details. So, refer to lesson 1 🤣
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Modded Vespa 2017 GTV 300, BMW 2017 C650GT, Ural 2019 Gear Up
Joined: 21 May 2017
Posts: 5368
Location: Downtown Toronto
Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:49 am quote
There even the Vespas are just considered modes of transportation. Iíll admit if I had a Vino ( as if ) I would probably care less if it got a few battle scars. My Vespa though I know every little mark on the thing. Itís all perspective I suppose. I imagine there the roads and riding are probably a lot different than here.
Molto Verboso
Yamaha Tricity 155 Urban 2019 - MV Agusta 125 RS 1956 - Moto Guzzi Airone 250 Sport 1951
Joined: 21 Jul 2007
Posts: 1239
Location: Latina (Italy)
Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:46 am quote
... for any advice i there are ...
I am sincere until i am cruel but i like to say how things really are and i am pleased if you really say what you think ... it is right.
Better not talk about the streets, I will post some photos from which you will see why zigzag races are popular in Italy; one of the reasons why you don't see many sidecars or three-wheeled vehicles here, it would be very difficult to avoid the holes on the asphalt and now i know.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
GTS 300, BV 500, Buddy 125
Joined: 05 Apr 2008
Posts: 7895
Location: Houston, TX/Breckenridge, CO
Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:53 am quote
When we were renting in Florence because a big rain storm has just passed the guide we hired tried to talk it's into riding pillion with him and his assistant a so as to not riskno body damage to the Vespas. I explained that we owned Vespas and head been riding them for years in Houston. Even then he irradiated on a riding tests with U turns them circling a little pot Ho ed and travel washed over some parts of the packing on an older LX that was already scratched up before giving us the new Sprints.

At the end of the afternoon he handed us a card for a friend who rents Vespa's without a guide and had 300s not just the Sprints he had. Saying his friend would rent us a pair of 300s with a GPS even though he didn't normally rent to people from outside of Italy as he would couch for our riding ability saying " you ride like Italians" Which I took to be a compliment. I will say riding in Rome and Florence really improved my headband husband's lane splitting ability and refreshed mine.
Molto Verboso
Yamaha Tricity 155 Urban 2019 - MV Agusta 125 RS 1956 - Moto Guzzi Airone 250 Sport 1951
Joined: 21 Jul 2007
Posts: 1239
Location: Latina (Italy)
Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:39 am quote
cdwise wrote:
When we were renting in Florence because a big rain storm has just passed the guide we hired tried to talk it's into riding pillion with him and his assistant a so as to not riskno body damage to the Vespas. I explained that we owned Vespas and head been riding them for years in Houston. Even then he irradiated on a riding tests with U turns them circling a little pot Ho ed and travel washed over some parts of the packing on an older LX that was already scratched up before giving us the new Sprints.

At the end of the afternoon he handed us a card for a friend who rents Vespa's without a guide and had 300s not just the Sprints he had. Saying his friend would rent us a pair of 300s with a GPS even though he didn't normally rent to people from outside of Italy as he would couch for our riding ability saying " you ride like Italians" Which I took to be a compliment. I will say riding in Rome and Florence really improved my headband husband's lane splitting ability and refreshed mine.
If you have succeeded and survived it is like taking your driving license for the second time in your life.
Molto Verboso
2018 GTS300 Super Sport - Donatello Vespace
Joined: 22 Dec 2012
Posts: 1233
Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:42 am quote
Attila wrote:
cdwise wrote:
When we were renting in Florence because a big rain storm has just passed the guide we hired tried to talk it's into riding pillion with him and his assistant a so as to not riskno body damage to the Vespas. I explained that we owned Vespas and head been riding them for years in Houston. Even then he irradiated on a riding tests with U turns them circling a little pot Ho ed and travel washed over some parts of the packing on an older LX that was already scratched up before giving us the new Sprints.

At the end of the afternoon he handed us a card for a friend who rents Vespa's without a guide and had 300s not just the Sprints he had. Saying his friend would rent us a pair of 300s with a GPS even though he didn't normally rent to people from outside of Italy as he would couch for our riding ability saying " you ride like Italians" Which I took to be a compliment. I will say riding in Rome and Florence really improved my headband husband's lane splitting ability and refreshed mine.
If you have succeeded and survived it is like taking your driving license for the second time in your life.
Haha, so true! After riding through Naples and other towns, I feel as though I have gone through "baptism-by-fire".
Hooked
Vespa GTS250, PX125
Joined: 04 Nov 2010
Posts: 276
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:06 am quote
I have been on Vespa tours in both Paris and Rome and I was very lucky both time.

In Paris the other members of the tour cancelled and it was just me and the guide. His question: "can you lane split?" me: "yes!" Off we went and he even asked if I was "brave" enough to go around Arc de triomphe in full traffic and I was like "yes!" and I'm sure he was happy because we blasted around the city. LA aggro street traffic riding over the years has made me a confident city rider.

In Rome, the other members of that particular tour were all just passengers in vintage scoots while I was the only solo on my own LX. The tour guides with passengers just wanted to rip and I kept up like nobody's business. Most of the scoots at the Rome tour were scuffed up of course.
Molto Verboso
Yamaha Tricity 155 Urban 2019 - MV Agusta 125 RS 1956 - Moto Guzzi Airone 250 Sport 1951
Joined: 21 Jul 2007
Posts: 1239
Location: Latina (Italy)
Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:27 am quote
.... yes but so you have more fun ...
Ossessionato
2006 Vespa GT (Rocket): 2005 Vespa GT (Razzo): 2007 Vespa GT (Vanessa): 2009 Yamaha Zuma 125 (Zoom): 2018 Yamaha Xmax (Max),
Joined: 26 Sep 2006
Posts: 4141
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:03 pm quote
I am currently in Evora, Portugal on a two week scooter ride with the Vespa Club del Mediterraneo.

It is most of the same people I have ridden with in Tuscany, Greek Island and Spain over the past three years.

I find that people generally ride the same everywhere. I find it no less safe in these countries than in the US.

The biggest difference is the culture and history, along with wonderful architecture, roads, restaurants and museums.

There is nothing to fear about riding in Europe.

Except maybe understanding tolls and speed cameras.

Bill
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 LX150 2015 GTS 2013 BV 350
Joined: 13 Sep 2012
Posts: 8630
Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:27 pm quote
WLeuthold wrote:
Except maybe understanding tolls and speed cameras.

Bill
Yeah, I think I recall you dealing with that....

With everything else to watch out for, speed takes a lower priority....even in a car. I was expecting to get some unwelcome news after returning from Portugal, but nothing so far.
Molto Verboso
Xmax 300
Joined: 02 Jul 2016
Posts: 1294
Location: Adelaide
Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:02 pm quote
WLeuthold wrote:
I am currently in Evora, Portugal on a two week scooter ride with the Vespa Club del Mediterraneo.

Bill
This deserves its own report.
My invite must have got lost in the mail.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 LX150 2015 GTS 2013 BV 350
Joined: 13 Sep 2012
Posts: 8630
Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:40 pm quote
Sledge wrote:
WLeuthold wrote:
I am currently in Evora, Portugal on a two week scooter ride with the Vespa Club del Mediterraneo.

Bill
My invite must have got lost in the mail.
What? I guess so. There are DOZENS of MVers over here. Hope you like bacalao.

Seriously, if you haven't seen Bill slip away, he's got stuff over at advrider... this ought to get you close: https://advrider.com/f/threads/rocket-me.1374350/page-18#post-37917117
Molto Verboso
2018 GTS300 Super Sport - Donatello Vespace
Joined: 22 Dec 2012
Posts: 1233
Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:34 pm quote
Some of all your stories are definitely fun!
Member
2013 S 150 SE
Joined: 25 Apr 2014
Posts: 34
Location: newark, ca
Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:41 am quote
Soul Surfer wrote:
Attila wrote:
cdwise wrote:
When we were renting in Florence because a big rain storm has just passed the guide we hired tried to talk it's into riding pillion with him and his assistant a so as to not riskno body damage to the Vespas. I explained that we owned Vespas and head been riding them for years in Houston. Even then he irradiated on a riding tests with U turns them circling a little pot Ho ed and travel washed over some parts of the packing on an older LX that was already scratched up before giving us the new Sprints.

At the end of the afternoon he handed us a card for a friend who rents Vespa's without a guide and had 300s not just the Sprints he had. Saying his friend would rent us a pair of 300s with a GPS even though he didn't normally rent to people from outside of Italy as he would couch for our riding ability saying " you ride like Italians" Which I took to be a compliment. I will say riding in Rome and Florence really improved my headband husband's lane splitting ability and refreshed mine.
If you have succeeded and survived it is like taking your driving license for the second time in your life.
Haha, so true! After riding through Naples and other towns, I feel as though I have gone through "baptism-by-fire".
My wife and I rode a tour bus through Napoli and thought riding on the top deck in the front was like riding a roller coaster. There seemed to be no rules and all the drivers had to insist on their space. Even just watching the scooters gave me more confidence riding back home.
Molto Verboso
Vespa GTS 250ie
Joined: 02 Jun 2015
Posts: 1182
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:57 am quote
I wish we had the free flowing traffic patterns here in the States. Our patterns are very regimented and slow, especially around intersections. More traffic circles and moto-filtering without the heavy hand of the law...
Molto Verboso
2018 GTS300 Super Sport - Donatello Vespace
Joined: 22 Dec 2012
Posts: 1233
Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:01 am quote
SCTLVR wrote:
I wish we had the free flowing traffic patterns here in the States. Our patterns are very regimented and slow, especially around intersections. More traffic circles and moto-filtering without the heavy hand of the law...
Same here. Toronto is terrible for traffic despite the size of roads.
Enthusiast
300 GTS / Husqvarna FE250
Joined: 14 May 2017
Posts: 87
Location: Southend, United Kingdom
Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:40 pm quote
SCTLVR wrote:
I wish we had the free flowing traffic patterns here in the States. Our patterns are very regimented and slow, especially around intersections. More traffic circles and moto-filtering without the heavy hand of the law...
Interesting. So, if you canít filter and Ďlane splití in the US, It really defeats the point of having a PTW.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
GTS 300, BV 500, Buddy 125
Joined: 05 Apr 2008
Posts: 7895
Location: Houston, TX/Breckenridge, CO
Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:11 pm quote
Tim_h wrote:
SCTLVR wrote:
I wish we had the free flowing traffic patterns here in the States. Our patterns are very regimented and slow, especially around intersections. More traffic circles and moto-filtering without the heavy hand of the law...
Interesting. So, if you canít filter and Ďlane splití in the US, It really defeats the point of having a PTW.
Not really, best thing about riding a scooter is larking. When I'm in Houston parking is a major pain. I live inside the loop, this city center. In some places parking is either impossible to find or bloody damned expensive with the scooter I've tucked in to nooks and crannies and park places they won't let a motorcycle park because it is "cute".

Last edited by cdwise on Wed Sep 18, 2019 7:38 am; edited 2 times in total
Molto Verboso
Yamaha Tricity 155 Urban 2019 - MV Agusta 125 RS 1956 - Moto Guzzi Airone 250 Sport 1951
Joined: 21 Jul 2007
Posts: 1239
Location: Latina (Italy)
Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:11 pm quote
Here there is practically no traffic control, little police and whoever is driving knows ...
Many telelaser and speed cameras recently (movable), some time ago I got a fine because I went to 62 km / h (38.5 mph) with a limit of 50 km / h: 180 Ä and minus 3 points license.
You should know that in Italy the roads are entrusted to different bodies: the municipality, the province and the state; everyone provides maintenance and manages both horizontal and vertical signs.
Now .... the law here says that if an accident occurs over 50 km / h each institution is responsible for it depending on the road conditions and since the roads (many) are never in perfect condition, the clever bureaucrats have put the limit of 50 kmh almost everywhere!
Even on roads where you can go faster, the Appia road 60 kmh!
An example, to go from Latina (my city) to Terracina there are 50 km ... at that speed it takes about an hour because there are also many traffic lights.
Not to mention parking in the city, dedicated to two wheels are very few or non-existent, you park on the sidewalks (whoever has been here will confirm it) with the risk of being fined.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2008 MP3 500, 2013 BV350
Joined: 13 Oct 2012
Posts: 7225
Location: Ashburn, Va. Home to the Internet
Wed Sep 18, 2019 4:52 am quote
SCTLVR wrote:
I wish we had the free flowing traffic patterns here in the States. Our patterns are very regimented and slow, especially around intersections. More traffic circles and moto-filtering without the heavy hand of the law...
Virginia is adding traffic circles to heavy traffic intersections and it is working to speed things up.
Now if everyone just understood how traffic circles worked it could be even better.
Hooked
2003 ET2 (SOLD); 2004 GT200
Joined: 22 Oct 2016
Posts: 328
Location: Atlanta, GA
Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:10 am quote
cdwise wrote:
Tim_h wrote:
Interesting. So, if you canít filter and Ďlane splití in the US, It really defeats the point of having a PTW.
Not really, best thing about riding a scooter is larking. When I'm in Houston parking is a major pain. I live inside the loop, this city center. In some places parking is either impossible to find or bloody damned expensive with the scooter Ivan tuck in to nooks and crannies and park aces t eyes won't let a motorcycle park because it is "cute".
This, and also in many jurisdictions, PTWs get access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. Just this morning, my commute was half of what it would have been if I had been in a car.
Molto Verboso
2018 GTS300 Super Sport - Donatello Vespace
Joined: 22 Dec 2012
Posts: 1233
Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:53 am quote
everytimeidom wrote:
cdwise wrote:
Tim_h wrote:
Interesting. So, if you canít filter and Ďlane splití in the US, It really defeats the point of having a PTW.
Not really, best thing about riding a scooter is larking. When I'm in Houston parking is a major pain. I live inside the loop, this city center. In some places parking is either impossible to find or bloody damned expensive with the scooter Ivan tuck in to nooks and crannies and park aces t eyes won't let a motorcycle park because it is "cute".
This, and also in many jurisdictions, PTWs get access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. Just this morning, my commute was half of what it would have been if I had been in a car.
Same for Toronto. I also drive an EV so I have that privilege, even as a single occupant in the EV.
Member
ET4 S2R 800
Joined: 14 Jul 2019
Posts: 20
Location: Florida
Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:56 pm quote
I was told before coming to Napoli that the drivers drove like they're on scooters since they all started riding on scooters (Piaggio) first.
Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody)
Joined: 22 Apr 2015
Posts: 2246
Location: Asbury Park, NJ
Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:00 pm quote
Soul Surfer wrote:
SCTLVR wrote:
I wish we had the free flowing traffic patterns here in the States. Our patterns are very regimented and slow, especially around intersections. More traffic circles and moto-filtering without the heavy hand of the law...
Same here. Toronto is terrible for traffic despite the size of roads.
Seconded!
cdwise wrote:
Tim_h wrote:
SCTLVR wrote:
I wish we had the free flowing traffic patterns here in the States. Our patterns are very regimented and slow, especially around intersections. More traffic circles and moto-filtering without the heavy hand of the law...
Interesting. So, if you canít filter and Ďlane splití in the US, It really defeats the point of having a PTW.
Not really, best thing about riding a scooter is larking. When I'm in Houston parking is a major pain. I live inside the loop, this city center. In some places parking is either impossible to find or bloody damned expensive with the scooter I've tucked in to nooks and crannies and park places they won't let a motorcycle park because it is "cute".
I know that's a typo, but the thought of "larking" on a scooter sounds so good. But, yes, parking is a godsend on these things, which I was reminded of again earlier today on my 40-mile ride to the dentist (details in another post here: The Melody Chronicles/I Get No Kick From Novocaine* )
Molto Verboso
Yamaha Tricity 155 Urban 2019 - MV Agusta 125 RS 1956 - Moto Guzzi Airone 250 Sport 1951
Joined: 21 Jul 2007
Posts: 1239
Location: Latina (Italy)
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:53 pm quote
In 40 miles you have to keep your mouth open otherwise your teeth will tremble when you arrive...
My dentist is only 16 km (10 miles to go and others to return) but I use the car; he is very rude and I never know in what conditions I will return home.
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