This story comes to us from newly minted ScooterFile Contributor Howard Rains. If you’d like to share an article on ScooterFile, please contact us.
This is only the second Amerivespa I have attended, so comparison and contrast to other Amerivespa rallies isn’t really fair due to the limited data set, so I will focus, instead, on just descriptions and my impressions of my experiences at this well-executed event. I was present Thursday, Friday and the first half of Saturday, but family obligations caused me to miss the banquet and Sunday ride.
The kick off for this year’s Amerivespa was a long ride (100+ miles) through the woods, farms and hills of southern Indiana. We met at NOMAD Skate Shop in south Indianapolis and made for the hills. The Indianapolis Scooter Club members did an excellent job of leading and directing all the rides starting with the first one.
I have been on a lot of scooter rides in a lot of different areas, but this ride was one of the best I’ve been on. The scenery was varied and beautiful. We rode past farms, through little towns, down small country lanes, through heavily wooded roads, along rivers and streams, next to a waterfall and over a dam. Once we got to the hills, the ride became more technical and the fun factor increased exponentially.
Our first stop was at Shelbyville Vespa. They were excellent hosts and served us a wonderful, homemade lunch. Many more riders joined the group while we were stopped. After eating, there was a raffle and many prizes were given away. When it was time to ride the second leg of the ride, we were given a police escort out of town by Shelbyville’s finest. This made for a safer, more organize start to the second leg.
Our second stop was at Apple Works, in Trafalgar, IN. It was a beautiful stop with plenty of parking, plenty of shade, lots of seating and some great snacks.
The ride back into Indy was fun, but a little anticlimactic after all hills and curves we had experienced in the first two legs. The group made its way to the rally hotel. I found registration and the getting of shirts and rally bags to be efficient and easy. The ride to the 7th level of the parking garage was quite an experience.
After snagging my rally bag we were off to Speedway, IN for the Meet & Greet at Lino’s Italian Café. For those not interested in Italian, there was a food truck and a couple of other nearby eateries. I grew up watching the Indianapolis 500 every year and the nostalgia I experienced this close to the motor speedway was quite intoxicating. It was also a pleasure to walk up and down the street and look at all of the beautiful scooters.
The day started with three different poker runs. There was a longer, faster ride, a slower, shorter 50cc friendly ride, and a “vintage style” ride for those wanting to enjoy some 2-stroke smoke. My Stella and I chose the latter.
We all met up at Dreyer Honda for our respective poker runs. They, too, were excellent hosts and provided coffee and donuts to the hungry, scooting masses. Once again, Indy Scooter Club did an excellent job of organizing each group and safely leading us out on our rides. We stopped at several rally sponsors and got our poker stamps and enjoyed their hospitality. My group had one stop where we got rained on briefly, but we already stopped and simply waited a few extra minutes. We had an enjoyable route that took us along Fall Creek Road to the Geist Reservoir, where we had lunch on the shore. I was also honored to have lunch with someone from Modern Buddy, with whom I have corresponded for years, but never “met.” (Thank, BuddyRaton.)
Unlike the Thursday ride, I was looking forward to the end of this ride. Though not because it wasn’t fun. It was. However, this was the day that we were to ride our lap on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I was seriously stoked.
Scooter folk came out of the proverbial woodwork to have their chance at riding around the famous Brickyard. I arrived about 90 minutes prior to the time we were to start our lap and saw hundreds of scooters lined up in the staging area. There were scoots of every shape, size, year and displacement. It was quite the site. Everyone was walking up and down the lines of scooters taking it all in, while at the same time listening to the roar of racing cars going around the track. It was a visual and auditory extravaganza. Scooters continued to pour into the staging area.
Our time finally came. I took my place in the long procession of scooters and grinned from ear to ear as we made our way to the track. The ride itself, is simple and bland: 2.5 miles on a wide, smooth piece of asphalt with gentle corners. The actuality of it was amazing though: to ride on the same track where legends of motor sport raced, won, lost, crashed and some died — all the while being watched by hundreds of thousands of spectators. We were limited to 45-50 mph, but in my head, I was going 180mph in my Cosworth Indy car. What a rush!
After the lap, we made our way to Fountain Square in southeast Indianapolis. Amerivespa had gotten a block sealed off for our Friday evening bash. Fountain Square is an artsy, funky neighborhood (they even have a Duck Pin Bowling alley) and was a fantastic venue for an event like Amerivespa. Vendors were lined up on one side of the street and scooters were on the other, as well as in every empty spot for blocks around. Food and beverages were plentiful and the music was loud and fun. Winners of the Poker Runs were announced and more prizes were awarded. If you’re ever in Indianapolis, go to Fountain Square.
Due to mechanical issues, I was unable to attend the Indy Pride Parade, but the organizers had the Amerivespa scooters be the grand finale. I’m sure it was quite a sight. Everyone I talked to, had a great time, except for the the heat.
I got my Stella running well enough to limp back to Speedway for more scooter partying. The vendors came out again. I had a good conversation with Josh, from Scoot! Magazine about the current state of scooters and scooter news.
There were some great bikes entered in the Concourse d’Elegance. Cameras were everywhere. There were the ever present slow drags and Indy’s unique take on the gymkhana. A few scattered showers cruised by and cooled things off a bit but all in all, the weather was great.
This was a well run rally. The rides were excellent. The sponsors, both local and otherwise, were plentiful and generous. Indianapolis is known for rainy summers and, in spite of this, the weather cooperated for 90%+ of the rally. The city of Indianapolis is a beautiful city in which to hold events like this and I hope it isn’t too long before they host another one. The Thursday ride and the IMS lap made my year and made the expense of going to Indianapolis from Tucson, well worth it.