A day amongst “Odd Classics”
Since meeting Tom, of Oddscoot fame, on the day I bought my vintage Vespa scooter, I have been eagerly awaiting the annual Tom & Anna’s Bagel Brunch and ride. The couple throw this shindig each year, with their collection of over 50 classic scooters strewn across their front yard, and along the street where they live, in Westchester County. Several people on the forums I frequent have commented on the amazing time to be had, and although I have already seen the collection when it was stuffed into their garage, with this many scooters, I was looking forward to seeing them in all out their sun-baked glory.
As I had decided to meet up with the NY Scooter Club for the trip up north, I made my way to Grant’s Tomb, up on Riverside Drive, for the rally point. The ride there was a beautiful way to start the day, and after meeting the club, we all set out for points north. I fell in line with the club, trying to keep pace and safe group-riding protocol, up through Harlem, and then into the Bronx. Hopefully I succeeded in decent, group-riding protocol, but if not, everyone was very accommodating. We arrived in New Rochelle, NY about an hour after leaving. My vintage scoot seemed in good form, and although I intently listened for any odd noise or weird vibration, I made it without incident.
As we pulled down the street, greeted by smiles from the already gathering crowd, we were treated to a view of the largest collection of “oddscoots” in America, and possibly the world. These scooters are breathtaking, and the variety is not to be underestimated. Parking on the block, we were informed that many of the neighbors leave town for this bash, and after seeing (and hearing) the scooters constantly going up and down the block, it’s no wonder. There were an estimated 150 people attending this years Bagel Brunch, the 10th such event in as many years.
If you have never seen or heard about this collection, check out the photos that accompany this article, as well as some great photos that have been posted on the NY Scooter Club site. “OddScoots” are defined as scooters made mostly in the 1950′s, predominantly by manufacturers that designed and built very few runs of these eclectic bikes. When Tom described many of these models to me, during my first tour of the collection, he explained that several of these bikes were developed by tractor manufacturers that were looking to cash in on the popularity of the Vespa. It looks like everyone was looking to get a piece of the scooter market, after seeing that Vespa, and then Lambretta, were profiting from this new transportation phenomenon.
I met up with Louis, who had introduced me to Tom the night I bought the Vespa from him. We walked among the incredible scooters, made by manufacturers I have never heard of, ogling the unique designs and flare of some of these rarities. I spent the better part of the time at the house snapping photos of some of my favorite looking scooters. Then Anna called us around to organize the second half of this affair, a ride through the winding roads of Westchester County. Given maps and a brief rundown on where we’d be headed, we all saddled up and got in line, for my first ever rally ride. Traveling up to this event with the twenty or so Club members had been awesome, and I loved the feeling of being in the pack of riders, each looking out for one another, making sure that as a whole, we progressed safely through the hazards of New York City. Now, with an larger pack of approximately 75 to 100 riders, we slowly took off up the block, with some of the faster scooters moving ahead to offer “blocking.” I have never experienced this, when a smaller group of riders get to the intersections the pack will be crossing, stopping all traffic, so that we could move unencumbered through red lights and stop signs. Man, I could get used to this! Such a stark contrast to my typical ride in Brooklyn.
The plan called for a 25 mile ride further north to the village of Tarrytown, through the green roads and reservoirs that make up this part of the country. The scenery was exactly what I was hoping for, and the blocking provided the best ride I have been on to date. Anna had made an effort with the local police to arrange for an open lot for us to gather in, feeling it would be less of a burden on the town. But they had informed her that they were “not comfortable with the idea.” So we all stopped at a public parking lot, getting more than a few stares from the residents as we pulled in single file as a large group. After a quick look around the town, most folks decided to head off toward their respective homes, and I joined with the remaining NY Scooter Club members, for the trip back to the city.
By the time I pulled up at my apartment, my ride had totaled about 100 miles, and offered me the most scenic and relaxed ride I have had thus far. I look forward to planning more trips like this, and hopefully joining the Club on some of their jaunts, both in and out of the city. The exhaustion I felt was welcomed, having a complete sense of satisfaction at a great, and ultimately, safe ride. Don’t miss it next year!
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