Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:20 am

Enthusiast
2016 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom; 2013 Vespa S 150 (Sold)
Joined: 20 Jan 2014
Posts: 96
Location: Staten Island, NY
 
Enthusiast
2016 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom; 2013 Vespa S 150 (Sold)
Joined: 20 Jan 2014
Posts: 96
Location: Staten Island, NY
Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:20 am linkquote
With my first 600 mile service coming up this last week, I had a choice between having the bike towed-in for service while I worked, or taking a day off of work, having my first go at the freeway, crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge ("The VZ"), and riding through Brooklyn to the Vespa dealer. I purchased my 2013 Vespa S150 with the idea that I would add a bit of fun to my daily commute, so when faced with the mundane versus an adventure, the choice was simple!

For those not familiar with the NYC area, the VZ is the longest suspension bridge in the Americas, see
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verrazano-Narrows_Bridge . It connects Staten Island to the other four boroughs of NYC. I understand that
there are regular commuters who cross the VZ by motorbike daily, but with both my home and office located in Staten Island, I am not one of the regular bridge commuters.

Before taking the ride, I understood theoretically that the S150 is "freeway legal"; the VZ Bridge is part of the interstate system; ergo, crossing the bridge on the S150 should not be a problem. In performing my due diligence, however, I found out the NYC Bridges and Tunnels Code doesn't allow for tires with a width of less than three inches, or outside tire diameters of less than 16 inches. See Section 1022.1(l) at web.mta.info/bandt/regs.pdf . Concerned my trip would be cancelled because of my 10" and 11" tires, which is the diameter of the rims, I inspected the tires with my trusted measuring tape. My measurements revealed that the S150 tires have a width of about 3.5 inches and an "edge to edge" diameter of a little more than 16 inches. For regulatory purposes, the S150 was ready for the bridge crossing!

The morning of my trip was beautiful- sunny, 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and winds of less that 5 miles an hour. The perfect day for a bridge crossing!

Taking the service road adjacent to the Staten Island Expressway, I made my way to the entrance ramp at Lilly Pond Avenue. The colossal steel towers of the VZ loomed before me, imposing in their immensity and framing the horizon in blue steel.

As I left the last stop light behind me, I proceeded down the entrance ramp, pinned the throttle and focused on merging with the flowing traffic. During my entrance maneuver, a maroon SUV passed me. So as not to have to rely on my speedometer, I decided to "chase" the SUV at a four second gap to maintain highway speed. As I accelerated, the SUV stopped receding and I eased off the throttle to match speeds with the SUV and the flow of traffic. Having successfully merged with traffic, I gave a quick look at my speedometer, which showed that I hit 60mph-- the fastest I had ever gone on the Vespa!

No sooner had I hit my stride, then the first set of bridge joints, giant metal zippers fastening two slabs of asphalt that connect the towers to the span, came rushing towards me. The reason for the tire size regulations suddenly became clear to me, and without time for a prayer, I twisted the throttle and crossed over the gaps without incident!

Now, on the span proper, I found some of the nicest paving in New York City. Smooth, unmarked asphalt for steady riding! The howling wind roared like the ocean of white noise between radio stations and as I reached the middle of the bridge, I hazarded a look over the side and was treated to a spectacular view of Coney Island and the container ships in the harbor!

Eyes back on the road, the second set of bridge joints appeared and the road began to curve to the left. Staying to the right, I signaled, then drifted into my exit lane and approached 92nd Street. My inaugural bridge crossing was a success, and I was now ready for my trip through Brooklyn!

Overall, the bridge crossing experience was exhilarating, but over too quickly! The ride to the oil change was an uneventful montage of buildings, bodegas and brownstones.

The return trip through Brooklyn was largely uneventful. Though I had been around the Fulton Street area hundreds of times on foot, commuting by Vespa was a different experience entirely. The sheer number of people on the street never ceases to amaze me!

My return ride over the bridge was windier, but having previously traversed the VZ, my confidence made it a more relaxing journey. Happily, I can say that it was a fun experience and I can confirm the S150 is capable of crossing the VZ bridge!


600 Miles!


Congratulatory photo of me at 4th Avenue and Marine Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn!


Vespa waiting for first service!

Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:45 am

Hooked
GTV 250, Mana 850, Stella 2T, BMW R75/6, 64 VBB, 64 GS160, 84 Moto Guzzi LeMans Mk3
Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Posts: 356
Location: NYC, Asbury Park NJ
 
Hooked
GTV 250, Mana 850, Stella 2T, BMW R75/6, 64 VBB, 64 GS160, 84 Moto Guzzi LeMans Mk3
Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Posts: 356
Location: NYC, Asbury Park NJ
Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:45 am linkquote
I cross it everyday albeit on a GTV 250 and a mix of motorcycles. A few times on a Stella. A 150 is a little too slow for my liking.

It is always windy on the VNB, I am still unsure if the bottom or top is windier, most think the top (I usually take the top). I have had to use an entire lane (or more) in heavy cross winds (gusts off the bridge 25 mph+) on both scoots and motos (more on scoots) and have almost had a knee put down a few times on motos in a real blast.

What should concern you is when off bridge gusts are sustained at 25-30 mph+ (they will be much higher n the bridge) and it is raining. Then you can slip on the metal expansion joints. When its wet on a scoot and not windy it will make the tires slip off, when its real windy and wet it gets even more exciting. The biggest thing to worry about on the bridge are the cagers.

Mosy on over to the New York Scooter Forum (http://www.nyscooterclub.com/forum/)
Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:49 am

Enthusiast
2016 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom; 2013 Vespa S 150 (Sold)
Joined: 20 Jan 2014
Posts: 96
Location: Staten Island, NY
 
Enthusiast
2016 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom; 2013 Vespa S 150 (Sold)
Joined: 20 Jan 2014
Posts: 96
Location: Staten Island, NY
Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:49 am linkquote
Vespiti, I'll keep my bridge crossings to nice weather

I just signed up at the NY Scooter Forum! Looks like there are postings for local rides, which is neat! Thank you!
Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:27 am

Addicted
GTS 300 ie - traded in; Honda CB300FA; Honda Ruckus scooter
Joined: 12 May 2014
Posts: 742
Location: Toronto, Canada
 
Addicted
GTS 300 ie - traded in; Honda CB300FA; Honda Ruckus scooter
Joined: 12 May 2014
Posts: 742
Location: Toronto, Canada
Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:27 am linkquote
@ adequerre - interesting story. Sometimes (or many times?) the "magical" trips come in short stretches. Now that you know what to expect, bring a camera and do snap a few pics while riding
Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:37 am

Enthusiast
2016 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom; 2013 Vespa S 150 (Sold)
Joined: 20 Jan 2014
Posts: 96
Location: Staten Island, NY
 
Enthusiast
2016 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom; 2013 Vespa S 150 (Sold)
Joined: 20 Jan 2014
Posts: 96
Location: Staten Island, NY
Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:37 am linkquote
Michael B. wrote:
Now that you know what to expect, bring a camera and do snap a few pics while riding
Its funny- I've lived in Staten Island since 2006, and since I started riding 6 months ago, I've discovered some really beautiful parts of the Island that I wouldn't have found, but for zipping around on the Vespa. I'll take a look around the forum for suggestions on what people use to snap pictures during their rides. There may be some camera equipment in my future for further ride reports
Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:57 am

Addicted
GTS 300 ie - traded in; Honda CB300FA; Honda Ruckus scooter
Joined: 12 May 2014
Posts: 742
Location: Toronto, Canada
 
Addicted
GTS 300 ie - traded in; Honda CB300FA; Honda Ruckus scooter
Joined: 12 May 2014
Posts: 742
Location: Toronto, Canada
Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:57 am linkquote
You mean you have no picture-snapping equipment...and you own a Vespa? Heresy.
Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:10 am

Enthusiast
2016 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom; 2013 Vespa S 150 (Sold)
Joined: 20 Jan 2014
Posts: 96
Location: Staten Island, NY
 
Enthusiast
2016 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom; 2013 Vespa S 150 (Sold)
Joined: 20 Jan 2014
Posts: 96
Location: Staten Island, NY
Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:10 am linkquote
Michael B. wrote:
You mean you have no picture-snapping equipment...and you own a Vespa? Heresy.
My vocation requires the use of a Blackberry, which ends up being my photography equipment by default as it is always with me Does that add apostasy to my heresy?

I haven't searched MV yet for threads on photography. I'll be interested in seeing what gear MVers use, as the photojournalism here is pretty good!
⬆️    About 1 year elapsed between posts    ⬇️
Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:58 pm

Member
2015 Vespa Primavera 150 3V
Joined: 05 Aug 2015
Posts: 12
Location: Brooklyn, NY
 
Member
2015 Vespa Primavera 150 3V
Joined: 05 Aug 2015
Posts: 12
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:58 pm linkquote
Top or Bottom?
Hi!

I wanted to jumpstart this thread again and see if anyone had further insight on whether the top of bottom of the Verrazano bridge is windier. I've ridden over it a handful of times in my new 150 3V but today the winds are reported at 18MPH and I'm concerned. Last Friday the winds were at 14MPH and the lower level was brutal. A few weeks ago I had to take the top of the bridge because the bottom was closed and it was easier than any of the rides on the bottom have been. I don't know if that was circumstance or if the top is actually less windy.

I sort of feel like the top is better because there is less chance of the gusts hitting you in bursts. The bottom of the bridge has the columns and you get blasted with wind after you pass each one.

Please share your experiences and thoughts if you've got em!

Thanks!!
Wed Aug 05, 2015 6:13 pm

Enthusiast
2016 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom; 2013 Vespa S 150 (Sold)
Joined: 20 Jan 2014
Posts: 96
Location: Staten Island, NY
 
Enthusiast
2016 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom; 2013 Vespa S 150 (Sold)
Joined: 20 Jan 2014
Posts: 96
Location: Staten Island, NY
Wed Aug 05, 2015 6:13 pm linkquote
Staratmidnight- I've made the commute three or four times in the last year, and all of my commutes have been on the lower level. I have stuck to the lower level mostly because its easiest to get to from 86th Street in Brooklyn or from the service road in Staten Island (i.e. I don't have to cross lanes of traffic to get onto the upper level bridge crossing).

The best advice I've found is, before your trip, check weather.com for Staten Island, NY (10301) which will give you the wind by the ferry. Assume the wind on the VZ is 10mph faster. To avoid putting yourself in a windy situation, I would suggest NOT crossing when winds are greater than 12-15mph on weather.com (that's my limit, YMMV), and instead take the ferry on those days. Given the height of the bridge, I'm not sure upper or lower level would make a difference in a high cross-wind situation.

The "physics" issue on the bridge crossing is the weight of the bike. If you're caught in a strong cross-wind, your counter-steering skills will be tested to keep your line and not get blown about. If I had to commute the VZ with a strong cross-wind, I'd probably keep a four to six second gap between myself and the car in front of me so I have time to react to the wind gusts.

Welcome to the forum and good luck commuting!
Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:55 pm

Member
2015 Vespa Primavera 150 3V
Joined: 05 Aug 2015
Posts: 12
Location: Brooklyn, NY
 
Member
2015 Vespa Primavera 150 3V
Joined: 05 Aug 2015
Posts: 12
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:55 pm linkquote
Thank you so much, this is very helpful!! After reading many of the posts on here I did a ride last week and felt a lot more confidence in handling the wind. The wind is a bit higher than I'd like today (about 14 MPH again) but I'm ready to handle! Thanks again.
Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:33 am

Hooked
GTV 250, Mana 850, Stella 2T, BMW R75/6, 64 VBB, 64 GS160, 84 Moto Guzzi LeMans Mk3
Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Posts: 356
Location: NYC, Asbury Park NJ
 
Hooked
GTV 250, Mana 850, Stella 2T, BMW R75/6, 64 VBB, 64 GS160, 84 Moto Guzzi LeMans Mk3
Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Posts: 356
Location: NYC, Asbury Park NJ
Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:33 am linkquote
I take the top because its easier to get into the HOV. Just don't panic. It has to be real windy to tip the scoot. It wants to keep going. You can feel it slip a bit on the expansion joints, just shift weight to front of floorboards and ease up on handlebars, let the scoot correct itself. The only really bad times are on the top heading back to SI when there is a heavy headwind and your are halfway over coming down. Still, just ease up on handlbars and use he entire lane if you need to.
⬆️    About 6 years elapsed between posts    ⬇️
Mon May 24, 2021 2:16 pm

Member
Stella
Joined: 19 Sep 2020
Posts: 36
Location: Staten island
 
Member
Stella
Joined: 19 Sep 2020
Posts: 36
Location: Staten island
Mon May 24, 2021 2:16 pm linkquote
Hey does anybody still ride in Staten Island?

Restart this thread!
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