Italian scooters in Boston, Food & petrol goes Metro! – Part 1

Posted Friday, September 20, 2019

PART 1. Italian scooters in Boston, Food & petrol go Metro!  

Am I nuts? ( Shuddap all that are guffawing.) On two wheels in Boston? 

  A resounding yes is what I shout! You will now be informed as to why Scooters may be amongst the best ways to navigate the cow and goat paths that comprise the maddening non-grid of Beantown. Well, that or a helicopter. I am familiar with the NYC grid, and it is convenient, however on my Vespa, the indirect paths thru ivy (and all that B town has) and tree-covered streets make the Boston maze, well, FUN!  

  Ok, why you ask? The genesis of this scooter idea ( and they will correct me) started with son Evan, Cafe Miranda Co-founder Evelyn & her BF, Chad. Evan had moved to B town sans auto. Welcome to the nightmare of the T, Uber, Lyft and the mostly useless surface buses, sonny boy. 

Somehow an idea was hatched to procure a scooter for the boy & his GF to get around on for Holiday. Yes a leftover Piaggio Typhoon, in black, became the mode of transport for these two Gen Z folks. 

   As an avid petrol head, the scooter was an intriguing thought. I ride high horsepower Motocross style and street bikes as my usuals. Then to a 49cc Vespa? Hummmmm. It is about scale. As Evan noted, the scooters fit Boston as a car is really too big. Ducati in Boston? I don’t think so. Think thoroughbred racehorse in a closet. Snorting, a temperamental race bike for the street vs. going wide open laughing on the Vespa. No choice here. The appropriate tool for the job is the game. It is a different, intimate with your surroundings mode of transport.what’s it like? If a moped is like riding a bicycle, a scooter is like riding a toilet. The Vespa brought me back over my fifty+ years of riding on two wheels. It is very much like my Montgomery Ward, 100 dollars mini bike in 1965. 3 ½ Horsepower lawnmower motor, crude, fun. Yes, we blew the engine doing “high speed” runs once we rigged the governer. It was also a toilet, but the apple of my eye.

 Getting set for my urban scooter safari, I tweaked the red (of course) Vespa in the shop at my Headacre Farm, see the pic w/ the Ducati 996 in the background. The Vespa tops out at a velocity of 45 +- MPH making it 125 mph slower than the Duc!. Pink Bird applied, oil filed, air pressures adjusted, the odd loose nut tightened, and generally prepped it for METRO RIDING. 

That means a camo cover and a BIG chain liberated from my tractor with a suitable lock of course for the huge pain that is keys, locks, and paranoia in the city. 

  Off we went in the pickup, wood ramp, locks, Vespa, and adventure in my future! Looking at the rental Dodge, there was mud on the truck tires from my farm road. Trouble. I was once told the if you are in NYC and have mud on your tires, you just dropped a couple of bodies in Jersey. Well, I chanced it and hoped for rain…..headed south to see my son. As a parent, we often drown our kids in good intentions. EX: Bring rock City Coffee, Miranda Bread (see pic) and other Midcoast iconic items.

 Keep at it. They need some home. 

Hitting the highway, and I must say that the 2109 Dodge crew cab ram w/ Hemi is an awesome vehicle. TONS of rubber-burning power, all the modern conveniences, and geegaws. Back up camera, more stuff on the touch screen than I am remotely interested in understanding. Read the manual? HA! Well, my advice is to hit “auto” on every function and hope for the best. Works for me. 

   As I leave the state where there may be less Starbucks per capita than any on the Eastern Seaboard, I of course stop at the Kennebunk service plaza for a caffeine infusion. I do love (not) speaking Starbucks. CAN I GET A AMERICANO WITH HALF THE WATER PLEASE? Huh, no. So my end run of their coporatespeak is: DOUBLE ESPRESSO in a cup with a side of hot water. Right, deconstructed americano. Feel free to use this method to get a strong coffee, no BS. 

   One thing keeps bothering me, though, I look in the mirror, and there is this scooter following me at 90 MPH! Oh, nevermind, it’s my bike in the pickup truck bed. 

Arrive Boston. Get to the Air BnB and lo and behold, parking is an issue. Ah, Vespas have no such issue. One can park pretty much anywhere. The truck is the problem…while a 40$ parking ticket is also one.

  Unload, helmet on fanny pack secure, Varoom, well, shizzzz, buzzzz or something like that., My first time on an actual road with the Vespa, what fun! 

Easy to maneuver, park, and fuel. I see why these are in every city on earth and why they are catching fire here. The ride is easy. Brakes are great, zippy such as it is, super on the turns. Easy. 

  Tooling about Allston, by BU, lo and behold, Spike’s Junkyard Dogs! I have been here. This time by chance. A peruse of the menu reminds me fondly of the wicked Junkyard Dog. Spike’s mustard, pepper rings, tomato, chopped scallion & pickle. Allston meets Chi-Town. Griddled dog, soft “French” roll, very fresh BTW, a winner. Spike’s is in the vein of what I will call Punk Dogs Of Character, PDOC . Well prepared, a specific style or styles and a bit daring. Look at the picture, that dog has a mohawk! As this one delivered the goods, alluring names like the Texas Ranger, 57 T-Bird, Sinatra, The Mutt of course and The Patriot insist you head back.

  Next up Carbureted Chowder Heads, Meet up with son Evan, GF Merritt as TOH, The Other Helmet(s) and go Dim Sum it up in Boston’s China town via scooters. 

Ciao! Chef Kerry

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