NYCS At The East Coast Classic
We laughed, we cried, we certainly got lost. We did not however break down.
This weekend, Jersey Shore’s faded glory beach resort of Wildwood saw two independent and equally strange subcultures descend on it’s beach, bars, and boardwalk. East coast scooter rally goers in attendance for the first annual, “East Coast Classic,” and a national “Elk” convention and I rode down to take part. In the rally that is, not the convention.
With fellow riders Melissa, Patrick, Zach, Nick, Oz, Maya, Kurt, and Kristed; I braved what turned out to be a mammoth ten hour ride down from Brooklyn through Staten Island and down the Jersey Shore to Wildwood, south of Atlantic City on Friday to arrive just in time for the kick-off event on Friday night.
What should have been about a six hour, one-hundred-and-seventy-or-so mile, journey – long enough in itself – was stretched further by a missed turning leaving Staten Island as we took a meandering, though pretty, route 35 instead of the more direct route 9.
No doubt our heads were still fuzzy following the first hurdle of the day. Crossing the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge on our Italian ladies’ shopping bikes in high winds. Heads-down and hearts in our mouths. As Oz – who has only been riding for a few months – put it in videogame parlance, “Achievement Unlocked.” Achievement unlocked indeed.
Next highlight? Stopping for gas only to find out that Zach’s seat on his 60′s Lambretta Series 3 refused to budge, blocking access to the gas tank. An hour and several borrowed tools and scooterist ingenuity later and the seat was finally opened and the locking pin mechanism removed for the remainder of the weekend.
Next hairy moment. Zach’s side panel flying off at 50 miles an hour only to be picked up by Melissa playing sweeper at the back of the pack. Sorry again Zach, my bad on failing to correctly secure the panel.
A few more rest stops for gasoline, stretching, and bad road food later and we raced against the sun like vampires-in-reverse for the final stretch of road to finally arrive around 9 o’clock to check in for the rally.
Check in took place at the kick-off party at Wildwood’s restaurant-cum-bar-cum-disco-cum-Tiki bar, “Flip Flopz.” As concise a slice-of-life of the Jersey Shore as I could ever describe.
Dropping off our bikes at our motels following the check-in was promptly followed by cab rides back to “Flip Flopz” for a night of chit-chat, beer, food, and more beer.
Saturday morning saw the day starting at the Starlux Motel meet-up which acted as rally central for the weekend. License plates gave evidence of a hundred or so bikes from New York, New Jersey, Maine, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. as we downed coffee and bagels, caught up with old friends, and talked shop.
A wide slice of scooters were represented with the usual selection of Vespas (vintage and modern,) Lammys, Hondas, and more. GS classics with side cars to souped up TS1 racing Lambrettas. Rat bikes to paint jobs and chrome. Scooters filled the Starlux parking completely and overflowed into the street causing a good deal of interest from passers-by.
Saturday lunchtime saw a leisure ride south to the beach at beautiful Cape May at the very southernmost tip of New Jersey led by Philly’s Rabble Rouser Scooter Club member Tedford. An hour at the beach gave plenty of time for souvenir shopping and lunch. The ride back was punctuated by New Jersey rider Clinton driving into the weekend’s official photographer. In true scooterists tradition the photo bug was more concerned about Clinton’s SX200 than his own wellbeing.
Saturday afternoon gave the Brooklyn gang and myself a chance to take to the boardwalk and ride the roller coaster. At $5.50 the Verrazano had given a significantly cheaper thrill-ride but the $8 wooden “Great White” coaster was a thrill all the same.
Saturday evening and it was back at “Flip Flopz” for a buffet, drinks, and the all important raffle. Trophies, some as big as the scooterists themselves, were also awarded to riders who had participated int he CORSA and Corsette (Ladies’ small frame) gum-ball races down to the rally. The raffle consisted of plenty of goodies culminating in the grand prize of a 1965 Allstate acquired, stripped, and restored by East Coast Classic participants with discounted parts generously supplied by rally sponsors.
Sunday morning and following a brief stop for a stomach full of carbohydrates at “Uncle Bill’s Pancake House” and it was time to wave goodbye to the rally and start out for home. Route 9 provided a straight shot home over the next few hours avoiding the Verrazano and plumping for one last roller-coaster of rides, Route 1-9 into Jersey City. This last six hour ride thankfully provided one last memorable moment that summed up the weekend: Pat bringing his Fireball Stella to a screeching halt, grabbing wildly for his helmet and throwing it off his head onto a neighboring lawn somewhere in mid-Jersey. Why? A hornet had decided to take the inside of his helmet along for a ride. Nice one pat. Good to know you are cool under pressure.
Three days and eighteen hours or so of total riding down and I’m left with happy memories and blisters from keeping the throttle pegged. One last thing? I went to jump on my trusty Jet 200 this morning for work. The bike that had made it effortlessly there and back again without a hitch. Pulled in the clutch, put it in first to pull away and the gear cable snapped. How’s that for being seen home safe by the scooter gods?
For a whole load more pictures from the weekend, check out the official NYC Scootering Flickr set for more.