28 November 2008

Now there's something you don't see everyday...

Last Saturday, Simon had the pleasure of having an aquaintace named Chris, from Rotorua, up and going for a quick ride. The real pleasure in this visit was seeing Chris' restored Maicoletta and knowing there's hope for the 2 we store in our garage after all!
Unfortunately, no photos of Chris' Maico with our Vespas, or of the ride, but here are several of our Maicos next to his. Hopefully next time he comes to visit, ours will be looking a little more respectable.

For those of you who are wondering what the heck a Maicoletta is, here is a quote from "The A-Z of Classic Scooters" which we blogged about here.
In 1955, the firm [Maico] brought out a real scooter, the Maicoletta, just as heavy and cumbersome, with a two-stroke, 175cc or 250cc engine with four speeds, a tubular frame, 14-inch wheels, telescopic front and swingarm rear suspension, a flat footwell, moving front mudguard and lift-up rear body. The very full equipment included an electric starter, double seat, break light, dashboard with a speedometer, clock, steering damper, and bag hook. Below the dash was a glove compartment with an anti-theft lock. [It was also] produced in a 277cc version more appropriate for use with a sidecar. ... The Maicoletta, according to it's publicity, 'feared no hill' and, better still, 'when it is fitted with a sidecar, the whole family can go on holiday'.

18 November 2008

Magnetos Annual Ride - Sat 15/11

On Saturday, 15 Nov, we set off from home at 1230 and returned around 9pm and 160 or so kms later. The reason? The Annual Magnetos Scooter Club ride! What a blast. We joined 60+ other scooters for a ride through central Auckland and then along the harbour to a BBQ. We went first to Ponsonby for lunch and a bit of a shop then met the club at Scooter eMotion on Ruru St at 4pm. The ride commenced about 430pm once everyone had gathered and had been given instruction. We arrived to the final destination at Kohimarama beach around 530pm. Here are some of our favorite photos from the day.

Simon's bike with the Magnetos Annual Ride Sticker

Leader Bike

The DMW - a classic British scoot from the '60s

The NSU Prima - German bike from the mid '50s with really cool white seats that are blocked by the helmet in this pic :(

The ride leader explaining the route

Scoots lined up under the Harbour Bridge at the other Shelley Beach

The rest of the line up at Shelley Beach

Upper Queen St.

The corner of Queen St and Mayoral Dr.

Right in downtown Auckland on Queen St near Whitcoul's bookstore

At Britomart Place

The Deemster at a light on Quay St

Scoots stopping midway through the ride at Mechanics Bay - about 65 scoots on the ride!

Tamaki Drive

Yes, he is riding without any hands taking photos!

The trickster again taking a photo of Angelle taking a photo of him; this time over his shoulder with no hand on the throttle

Mission Bay

BBQ post ride at Kohimarama

Parked on the grass verge at Kohimarama

"Vesparate Housewives"

Just the two of us before taking off to get sushi and make the long ride home

Our favorite bike of the day was this rat bike with the mud flaps reading "Manic Mutha"

15 November 2008

Playing Catch Up

Last Saturday we had a wonderful day. We went for a flight to Whangerei and had a pie and then came home and went out scooting. The weather was great and we had all the time in the world. It's not often there is no training on at the airfield on a Saturday morning or that we have absolutely no other commitments or plans and can spend an entire day pottering around enjoying the countryside.
Simon is a pilot of microlight aircraft and working on his instructor rating, so he needs to fly as much as possible. Although we had no specific goal in mind for our arrival at Whangerei and could have gotten a much better pie elsewhere, we went for it.

Simon re-fueling the plane in our "back yard"

Pie in Whangerei

Funny signs in the cafe at the Whangerei Airport.

Graffiti "SL <3 4 AL"

As you can see, we certainly weren't the first to leave our mark.

Ready for take-off towards home.

Pre-flight run-ups

Instrument panel

Scenery on take-off

So, after the flight, we got the scooters out of the garage and went for a burn. Again, no specific agenda which is usually the best way. We took the back road from Helensville down past Waimauku and on to the Riverhead area where we stopped at Hallertau Brewery for a pint. We were responsible and had only one and some chips alongside as well. In the past, Hallertau has been a dinner destination for us, so it was nice to sit out on their patio and see it in another light.

Out in front of Hallertau

After our brew, we went to Coatsville and stopped at this store.

We saw another scooter out with a larger motorbike and snapped a photo.

And we shared a thickshake.

The Longest Drink in Town cup our thickshake came in :)

14 November 2008

Scooter Brands

Well, I'm sure this is starting to look like a disused blog...no entry for almost 2 weeks. Or was there?

Angelle here. When I was away in Tauranga, I wrote a blog entry about the abundance of Chinese 50cc scooters I saw there. Looks like it didn't post for some reason. I'm not going to try to recreate my thoughts from then, but I will give you the general idea of what I had to say instead.

I was in Tauranga for a week of work. Long days, starting at 7am and finishing between 5-5:30 each evening. On my drives to and from the work site from the suburb of Mt Mauganui during those hours, I saw quite a few scooters. One day on my way home and in a time frame of about 20 minutes, I counted 14. The majority of these scooters were unknown to me - someone who calls themselves a scooter enthusiast. I was only able to recognize one Yamaha BWS, one Honda Today, and one Suzuki maxi scoot over the whole week. Not a single Vespa, Lambretta, Belladonna, etc. I don't consider myself elitist when it comes to scooters - I'm happy to see every one of them out and about, but I do wonder where are all these new Chinese scooters coming from and who is the market? In the area where I stayed (which seemed middle to upmarket), there were 2 scooters that I had a look at and still couldn't tell you the manufacturer. I discussed this with Simon one night and he surmised that these scooters were likely first vehicles for youth with their learner licenses and not enough money to run a car. That sounded reasonable so I kept an eye out. One morning, I saw someone getting on to one of the scooters parked next door - it was a portly, middle aged man who seemed to be dressed in business attire. I kept a look out at all the other scooters to see if I could see Learner plates or young riders. I saw neither. Well...one learner plate but the rider was a woman, not what I would call a youth. Perhaps the Tauranga riders are not youth, but practical minded 30-50 year olds with a bit of spend-thrift attitude.
Personally, I don't like the styling of many of the Chinese bikes and those I do like, I wonder about the quality. Back in Canada, I rode a Honda Jazz/Metropolitan/Scoopy for 3 years and a Yamaha Vino 125 for about 6 months and found both of them to be very stylish and reliable bikes...stylish and reliable, 2 words I often associate with the Japanese. Lately, I've obviously been on a Vespa and of course, I enjoy the styling and haven't had any mechanical issues as yet. Maybe I AM a bit elitist when it comes to scooter brands and never even realized it. I'm going to put up a new poll to find out what type of scooters all of you ride, and if anyone has any feedback or experience with Chinese scooters, I'd love to hear it - leave a comment!

02 November 2008

Scenic Saturday

Off we went again for brunch at the Waimauku Food Station. The thought of the blueberry pancakes with cream and Texan omlette breakfast was enough to get us out of bed early-ish this Saturday morning.

Blueberry pancakes with cream.

Texan omlette with vegetable mash and bacon rashers.

We decided this time to take the back road from behind Helensville through what is known as the Kumeu Valley. Such a lovely ride in comparison to the highway we took last time. Some of the scenery is so amazing, you have to make an effort to ignore it and focus on the road. In order that we didn't miss anything, we made several stops along the way. The Kumeu Valley is a known wine-producing region and we made a stop near some of the vines to take the following photos.

The road also boasts a sweeping view of the Kaipara Harbour and Helensville. Here are two photos of the scene with the two of us acting like fools...

Sorry, no map this time as google maps is very slow today!