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Am I crazy for wanting to ride a Vespa through Tuscany rather than a car?

Am I crazy for wanting to ride a Vespa through Tuscany rather than a car?

Old Sep 30th, 2010, 12:18 PM
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Am I crazy for wanting to ride a Vespa through Tuscany rather than a car?

Okay, so I may have become a little excited over this whole Vespa idea and wanted to hear your thoughts. I have now envisioned myself on a sexy Vespa riding through the Tuscan countryside, RATHER than rent a car. Is that totally irresponsible of me and impractical? I intend to practice a lot before I leave the States. I wouldn't want Italy to be the first time I am on a Vespa. Nothing seems better to me than my hair blowing in the wind with the beauty of Tuscany around me. Should I be brought back to reality?

I originially thought I wanted a bike tour, but I am thinking this is even better......
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 12:23 PM
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It depends on what part of Tuscany and whether it's raining/cold. The white roads of Tuscany might not be so sexy since they are gravel and stir up dust.

Depending on what you choose to rent, you might need some type of motorcycle license.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 12:28 PM
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You are a true romantic, but it is not worth the risk in my book.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 12:30 PM
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Well, why not? Just hope your hair is blowing in the wind from under a helmet.

Lots of banged up folks on return flights from Bermuda, good to practice first.

I'm older and can say these things.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 12:31 PM
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I wouldn't either, some of the Italian drivers were driving really fast and on curves too.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 12:44 PM
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Kybourbon - I am laughing out loud at your images of gravel and dust getting on my clothes. Not so sexy you are right!

Bob, Cat, and Sue - helmet definitely and check out my insurance policies!

Has anyone rode on a Vespa through the countryside? Perhaps I can make a promise to myself to get on the rural, country roads.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 01:24 PM
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The white roads are the rural country roads.

>>>>White roads - Narrow, dirt roads going through the countryside. Shown on the TCI road maps as white lines. The Italians call these strade bianche (plural of strada bianca), which translates to white roads. The strade bianche are actually white - they are made of a light colored gravel. White roads are often good for hiking because they usually have little traffic.
Be careful on white roads. Some are in good shape, but some are barely drivable. Look carefully at the map. White roads are shown in white, outlined in black. If the black line is a dotted line, this means the road is not in good shape. These dirt roads can be very dusty in summer and muddy in winter.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 01:35 PM
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Not crazy, but you may not have considered some of the practicalities.

While riding a scooter is easier than riding a motorcycle since you haven't got to worry about shifting gears or working the clutch, they still require more skill to drive than a car. In fact, their small tires make them less stable than a motorcycle.

You have to be far more aware of road surfaces -- bumps and ridges you wouldn't notice in a car can bring you down. Think about your endurance, too. A few hours on a bike or scooter can be tiring.

Then think about how you'll need to watch the weather.

And carry your luggage.

But if you really want to do it of course you can. My advice would be to take a motorcycle safety course and get your license, and then get plenty of practice -- including an overnight trip of two or three days. Good luck!
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 01:36 PM
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YES! (You are crazy).

But seriously - it can be fun, if not a bit dangerous - but I would imagine doing it for a day or two, but not the whole trip. I did it for the first time 11 years ago, ditched the bike on the side of the road and broke my - spent 3 days in the hospital in Siena and many more miserable months rehabbing, etc.

I was sworn off of 2 wheeled powered vehicles by my wife for over 10 years, but last spring took a Vespa wine tour. Which was fun - but - a bit crazy. To think they give a tour here that involves Vespas and wine tasting... well - only in Italy as they say.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 02:33 PM
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JillDavis, I believe you're only talking about a day (or two) exploring the area where you're staying. No luggage, which would be impossible anyway.

I'd go for it, but I do have experience riding a larger motorcycle. I don't agree a Vespa is less stable than a motorcycle, particularly at the speed you would likely be going, but you do have to pay more attention to road conditions (surface, obstacles, traffic) than you do when driving a car. Actually, I think a lot of people driving a car pay too little attention, but that's another discussion.

Obviously, much depends on where you plan to go and the weather. As I recall, your trip is in August. I definitely wouldn't ride on a rainy day, but I might not ride on a hot day either. It just gets too uncomfortable under the blazing sun. I most definitely would not go on a wine-tasting tour by Vespa as fun as it sounds in theory.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 02:39 PM
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ttt
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 02:41 PM
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I don't like motorcycles, but I WANT a Vespa. Lime Green, please. With hot Italian guy. Or perhaps Gregory Peck clone.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 02:47 PM
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Ok so I am old and think wiser, but would definitely not plan on the Vespa
as transportation around Tuscany. Then again maybe I am just old and lost my sense of adventure.
I would definitely check into some good insurance with repatriation. Wishing you a fun and safe trip.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 03:25 PM
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Do it! Check this book out - http://www.petermoore.net/books/vwav/vwav.html
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 03:30 PM
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"I don't agree a Vespa is less stable than a motorcycle"

I was surprised too, but the point is made in several books about motorcycling. The issues seem to be lighter weight, higher center of gravity and smaller diameter tires.

On the OP's subject -- A book titled "Eating Up Italy" by Matthew Fort details his trip on a Vespa (actually, several Vespas) from Calabria to Turin. As the title suggests, it is mainly about food.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 04:10 PM
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“BUT IT IS NOT THAT SIMPLE” he shouted.

Getting around on a scooter is fun. I’ve been riding one now for five years, my wife also. We own a pair of Vespas, and use them daily. I might add that I had my first accident a week ago – car failed to give way, I hit the brakes, skidded on the wet road and came off. Bruising to me, abrasions to the scooter. Bummer.

You need a license. Getting my licence took three sessions each of two hours, three months practice, and then a further two sessions of two hours, then the licence test. I was a pretty nervous rider in that three months, when I covered a lot of miles. So was my wife. We took a six day trip around Tasmania before we had our full licences. It rained for five of the six days, and I think that we were slightly insane – our hands just about froze.

So some advice.
Get a licence.
Practice – a lot.
If you hire a Vespa, get something with an engine at least 125cc – anything smaller than that, like a 50cc two stroke, is too slow to be safe on roads. Scooters are certainly more “twitchy” to ride than a motor cycle, more susceptible to ruts and pot holes. I would think twice about riding a scooter on gravel roads.

I don’t want to rain on your Vespa parade, and I think it could be a lot of fun. But before you embark on the road trip, you need to be a competent rider. And just think, if the scooter turns you on, you might buy one when you are state-side.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 04:51 PM
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Another suggestion if you are scootering.

Buy yourself a pair of safety glasses – dark or clear – like tradesmen use. They need to be wrap around style, and are pretty cheap – about ten bucks from a hardware shop. Insects and dust in your eyes is a major risk.

You can’t be sure that the helmet that comes with the scooter will have a visor, and maybe you want that wind in your face experience.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 04:58 PM
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What time of year are you going and what will the weather bb like? You definiely don;t want to do this when it's cold- or when it's 90 degrees either.

Have you any experience riding a bike? Do you realize that a Vespa doesn;t go very fast- that the cars will be going a lot faster and you will spend a lot of time riding on the shoulder to get away from them?

And I assume that you will be traveling from one central hotel - or what will you do with your luggage.

We took some back roads in Tuscany and a couple of times came across an elderly woman who had been shopping and was returning home on her Vespa (with groceries in a box on the back). they rode on the shoulder - not center of the road - due to speed limitations.

Nevertheless I wouldn;t ride any sort of bike without leathers. having seen one friend have gravel picked out of an arm and a leg (through jeans and shirt/sweater when he skidded in a puddle)- it's not something I want to have done.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 05:11 PM
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I have seen a lot of scooter road rash on my son's college friends and that doesn't include gravel (which would be worse). The other problem with rental is the helmet. You do not know if a rental helmet is safe. It may look safe but if it has been dropped or in an accident then it can have an inner crack that is not visible.
Vespas also have a weight limit. If your husband is larger than he would have to rent something bigger.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 05:13 PM
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At the risk of asking a very obvious question... Have you ever ridden a Vespa, scooter or motorcycle before (at home or on vacation)?
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