Seven Deadly Scoots, One Big Ride
Another year means another New York Scooter Club Blockparty. This year, rally number seven stands for “Seven Deadly Scoots.” While one sin, “Greed,” may mean that the current economy has reduced the normal three-day event down to one, it (and a little rain) didn’t deter local scooterists from having a great time.
This year I joined for a few hours to sample some of the day’s highlights before heading home exhausted but ecstatic. First up was a brief meet-up for Manhattan based scooterists, or those from out of town looking for a group ride to Brooklyn, at the club’s usual weekly hang-out, “The Brass Monkey” in the Meat Packing District.
From “The Monkey” we headed out across town and over the Manhattan Bridge and into downtown Brooklyn to meet up with an even larger group at Vespa Brooklyn, a great, family-run dealership in the Fort Greene neighborhood.
As always, the friendly folks at Vespa Brooklyn made sure that the coffee and donuts kept flowing to feed and water scooterists before heading out for the day’s events. This year, two simultaneous rides were organized to ensure the same amount of fun of years past could be squeezed into one day: those looking for a leisurely trip to the beach joined ride leader Chris for a jaunt down to Coney Island. I opted to take up the opportunity to get out of town and shake up my daily commute by joining the ride led by Alan and Becca “Boo” up to Piermont, New York.
About thirty scoots joined us for the Piermont ride, and to ensure that we could make it there in time for lunch and still make it back to join up with the other group later in the day, Alan and Becca opted for plenty of highway. Following a crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge back into Manhattan, we swung around Downtown along the FDR and up the West-Side Highway along the length of the borough to the George Washington bridge. Not a ride for the faint-of-heart, but a great opportunity to open up my Lambretta after several months of putt-putting around a few local city blocks. Other than a Stella, I was also proud to be riding the only other two-stroke bike willing to take up the task.
Once over the George Washington Bridge in Jersey it was time to switch gears as we took a ride through a Blockparty staple, the Henry Hudson Drive snaking through the Palisades Interstate Park. It’s a great opportunity to hug the Hudson River for a few miles and feels like a million miles away from the Rat Race of Manhattan. This section of the ride also provided an opportunity to roll into local popular picnic spot, Tallman Mountain State Park. A great reminder that a scooter can get you to some terrific places just outside of the city limits.
A few miles later and we rolled back into the state of New York and into the town of Piermont for a well-earned stretch and a chance to grab some lunch.
A half-hour, and one quickly-devoured sandwich later, and it was time to hop back in the saddle and head back to the city by way of the Tappan Zee Bridge and Route 9 back down toward Manhattan before eventually rolling into Brooklyn one more time, this time at Scooter Bottega in Red Hook. A little saddle sore, but I loved the opportunity to get out and ride and get off the potholed streets of New York City.
Talking of pot holes, one of the first sights to greet me at Scooter Bottega was a familiar face, the NYCScootering.com project Vespa PX 150 from a couple of years back that, now under new ownership, was in the shop with a very nasty looking bent front fork. Apparently the bike had hit a pothole at speed, and the owner had been thrown from the bike. Thankfully, Bottega owner Robbie Rhodes assured me that the rider was fine and that the bike would be back on the streets in no time courtesy of a new front fork.
As usual, the gathering at Scooter Bottega was a chance to catch up with friends old and new. This year music was provided by local scooterist Hans on the decks, while Maya took care of the raffle tickets. Papa Fern and the kitchen crew kept the hot dogs and burgers coming and Robbie and the Bottega crew made sure everyone had a cold one in hand.
Exhausted after the Piermont ride, I stuck around just long enough to participate in the annual slow race, before heading home to rest up.
Those with more fortitude than I had two great events ahead of them, Brendan’s annual nighttime ride through Times Square, and libations at the Crown Victoria Bar in Williamsburg, a recently opened bar owned by a local scooterist.
Once again, a huge thank you goes to the Blockparty committee at the club for putting on the calendar event for every New York City scooterist. For more photos from the event, and to check out snaps from Blockpartys past, check out the NYCScootering.com Flickr Stream.