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COVER STORY

Small wheels, but a growing following

A sampling of scooter clubs, plus resources for would-be riders. (Note: Rain cancels most group rides.)

November 10, 2005|Scott Sandell

Clubs

Hard Pack Scooter Club

The vibe: Established in 1992, this group of hard-edged "scooter boys" likes high-performance Vespas and Lambrettas.

Events: Rides the first Sunday of every month at noon, beginning at Taco Surf, 16281 Pacific Coast Highway, Sunset Beach. The club also holds the annual Orange Crush on Memorial Day weekend.

Info: www.hardpacksc.com

Motorcreeps

The vibe: Despite the menacing name, co-founder Jon Halperin says it's a friendly group that likes to ride new and old Vespas and Lambrettas.

Events: Monthly rides, dates vary. A typical ride starts in Long Beach, goes to Laguna Beach.

Info: autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/motorcreeps

Reflections Scooter Society

The vibe: These Mods play the role to the hilt, whether it's dressing up themselves and their scooters or shopping for retro furniture.

Events: Rides every Friday, meeting at 8 p.m. at the Bourgeois Pig, 5931 Franklin Ave., Hollywood.

Info: www.reflectionssociety.com

South Bay Scooter Club

The vibe: "We're like the Switzerland of scooter clubs," says Mario Artavia, who helped found this incarnation of the club in 2000. (The original was in the '80s.) "We've ridden with everyone."

Events: A ride the first Saturday of every month, starting at 1 p.m. outside Claim Jumper, 24301 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance. Monthly night rides held on Thursdays. And in late August-early September, the club holds its annual Swerve 'n' Curve ride in Palos Verdes.

Info: southbayscooterclub.com

Vespatics

The vibe: "We're so into Vespas, we're spastic about them," says Brian Kinney, who co-founded the club three years ago as a joke. That said, the riders embrace anyone -- with or without a Vespa -- who wants to ride.

Events: The club rides at 8 p.m. every Wednesday, departing from the Cat and Fiddle Pub, 6530 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Destinations include Santa Monica hotspots, bowling alleys, movie theaters "or someone's house." Occasional rides on Sundays too.

Info: www.vespastics.com

Westside Scooter Club

The vibe: These scooterists are mostly from the mod/ska scene of the '80s and '90s, says Marvyn Mack, a music executive who founded the club in 1999.

Events: After a few years of dormancy, the club reunited last weekend. Rides are planned for every second Sunday of the month, meeting at the Cock and Bull Pub, 2947 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica.

Info: www.westsidescootclub.com

The Unforgiven

The vibe: A tightknit "family" because "we want to make sure people stay," founder Brian Miller says. "But anyone is welcome to ride along."

Events: The club holds the annual Hedonism rally, which will have its 10th edition April 21-23, 2006.

Info: unforgivensc.net

Safety information

Motorcyclist Safety Program

In addition to basic motorcycle rider courses, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation offer referrals to a half-day scooter school program that began last year.

Price: Basic rider program, $198 for ages 21 and older; $150 for ages 15 1/2 to 21. Scooter school, about $100 depending on location.

Info: (877) 743-3411, www.ca-msp.org

Department of Motor Vehicles

Though the rules are complex, California law treats most scooters basically the same as motorcycles, requiring riders to get an M1 license and to wear helmets. The California Motorcycle Handbook has more information: www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/dl655/dl665mcycle.pdf

More resources

Online

Scooterbbs.com has discussion boards, event listings and a section devoted to combating the sale of illegal scooters.

Scoot.net has chat, event listings and even a stolen scooter registry.

Scoot! Quarterly

This scooter lifestyle magazine puts its circulation at 39,000 and growing: scootquarterly.com

Scooter World

The magazine (circulation 15,000) aims to be a Consumer Reports of scooters: scooterworldmag.com

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-- Scott Sandell

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