Well, I might as well make this official.
2014 will see another major rider tour.
I'm calling this year's edition the 2014 Blogger to Blogger Tour - Tuscan Loop, or just Tuscan Loop for short. As with last year's tour, I plan to group all the Tuscan Loop posts in one series on the Touring on a Vespa page
This year will also star three intrepid riders. Myself and... well I don't want to spoil all the suspense at once.
I got the confirmation this morning from Roberto at Multirent Toscana Srl that my bike is reserved. I'm really looking forward to it. It's a 250cc Piaggio MP3. OK so technically I won't be touring on a Vespa. But I will definitely be touring in the company of Vespas. Close enough.
Here's a photo of the bike I reserved.
CanAm Spyder, or one of those Harley Davidson trikes. Nothing could be further from the truth, though it is possible to lock the suspension at very low speed so that you can crawl along like a trike in heavy traffic.
As soon as you accelerate, the suspension is released and the MP3 leans in the turns just like a motorcycle. Actually, better than a motorcycle. The chief benefit of the design is greatly increased stability on difficult surfaces where traditional powered two-wheelers can struggle. A great example is streetcar tracks and other similar situations that constitute "edge traps" for two-wheeled vehicles. For those of you who don't ride, think of approaching a sidewalk driveway ramp on a bicycle at too shallow an angle. The wheels can't manage the edge when the angle is too shallow and the risk of taking a tumble looms. The MP3 is virtually impervious to edge traps. There are YouTube videos of people riding MP3s down flights of stairs at a 45 degree angle. Crazy stuff.
Who better to introduce you to the wonders of the MP3 than the legendary Jay Leno.
The MP3 also has an amazing amount of underseat storage. I came very close to buying a 400cc MP3 instead of my Vespa GTS.
What stopped me? I wasn't thrilled with the look of the beast. That front end dominates the bike visually. I wasn't sure I wanted to trade off amazing styling for amazing handling. That, and the reported weakness in the steering bearing that could be very expensive to repair. In the end I chose the Vespa GTS and am thrilled with my choice.
We'll see if I change my mind after a day spent in the saddle of an MP3. If I decide to recant, you'll read about it here.
Stay tuned, the Tuscan Loop will have much more in store, including some great tips on inter-continental moto touring.
Colorado ride, 2011 - In early summer of 2011, my friend Drew offered to take my scooter to Denver so we could ride around while his son was visiting a friend in Colorado Spring...
3 hours ago