Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Vespa Effect

You have to ride a Vespa GTS to learn this.

A Vespa on an expressway doubtless causes some drivers I pass to check their dashboard.

What!?!? Did I just get passed by a scooter???  Did I stall? Run out of gas? Am I in neutral?

Scooters on an expressway are still very much a novelty here.  Some drivers probably wonder how I can pedal my 'moped' so damn fast.

But that's only part of the Vespa Effect.  That aspect of the Vespa Effect can only be imagined.

You don't get to appreciate the other entertaining aspect of the Vespa Effect until you share the road with a motorcycle.  Correction, a sportbike.

Harleys and other cruisers are pretty cool.  Dual-sportsters with the whole Paris-Dakar look, are also very cool.  They find the time to wave.

Guys on sportbikes however behave quite differently and the Vespa Effect behaviour is obvious, characteristic, and too often predictable.

Consider this guy (If you want to skip right to the point and save yourself three minutes of my commute, go to the 3'15" mark).

In no time, this happens (again, to skip to the point, go to the 0'35" mark).


I wonder if I ruined his commute?

Mine was just fine, thanks very much.

Down the expressway a ways, I figured I had time and shifted to the slow route.  Here's what that looked like right to the office, at which point my GoPro remote died.  Otherwise I would have filmed all the way to my underground parking spot.

PS: GoPro video beats iPhone video on YouTube every time. By a country mile. For those blessed with a short memory, see the previous post.

PPS: There's a view of our shot tower in its context beginning at the 2'32" mark in the third video.


RichardM said...

You just like messing with people, then again, you are a lawyer...

David Masse said...

Richard, it's possible that I enjoy being a devil's advocate.

At the dinner table I used to tell the kids somewhat tall tales to see if they would just accept what their dad was dishing, or push back with some critical thinking. Needless to say, I raised some independent thinkers.

But I am generally even-tempered (but with a thin skin for those bent on doing harm), and when I mess with people, it's usually with devilish good humour in mind.

Canajun said...

I decided some time ago that guys on sportsbikes are just different. I think it's because if they lift a hand off the bars to wave they'll do a face plant on the tank.

David Masse said...

Dave, I have observed that another behaviour that inhibits waving is the left hand on the hip / thigh thing.

I've seen it wherever I've seen guys riding sportbikes, from here at home, to the US, to Europe.

Can't do that at some speeds on a Vespa GTS because the 'GTS wobble' will set in.

I wonder, is it a meme? Is it compensation for poor ergonomics? Or is it readiness to return the wave that seldom comes their way?

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

I think that left hand on hip is a signal that "I'm bored with you and should really be traveling at know that I can...."

David Masse said...

Doug, I read that somewhat the same way: "I'm doodling along at 70, can't be bothered to focus... ooooh... wait a second..." [hand to the grip, screams out of sight]

Anonymous said...

Hi David , good to check-in with you,
Hope your well mate ...great video by the way!
Reminded me of a time last year ....fancy fast BMW open top with girl by his side ...straight road 6 sets of lights all quite close together. He was really on the pose (ay look at me!!) shame he could not lose me or out run me on my moped looking GTS.
God it's funny!
I love it .
Am I mean ?
With the road limitations his £40,000 BMW was never gonna show me up matter how hard he tried .
In the end I had to stop all this embarrassment and over take him;)
Lorry drivers that are restricted to 56mph are often surprised by a vespa passing them with ease.

David Masse said...

Ken, hope you're enjoying summer. Vespas rock!

David Masse said...

He he he was cleaning out spam and spotted my fat-fingered typo. Made me realize that with the 'L' and 'K' so close to each other, the typo makes a whole other name :)

Sorry Len ;)

Michael B. said...

Hi Dave, I think that this low mounting of the camera makes a cool sporty effect, by it shows mainly acres of pavement and little else. Please, mount the camera higher, like the front rack or a mirror stalk. If you could post some videos of riding north of the city in the hills, it would be super. BTW, how does your back like longish rides on the GTS? I think the GTS is one of the most comfortable and ergonomic scooters (I tried many), but after a couple of hours of riding (even with breaks) my back can feel it. If someone would invent a back rest for the driver... Cheers, Michael B.

David Masse said...

Michael, I wanted to experiment with mounting the GoPro on the Vespa's crashbar. I used a RAM clamp. The problem with the RAM clamp is that the mirror stem diameter is too small and the clamp slips.

I have RAM balls on both mirror stems and on the rear rack on each side of the bike. I'm thinking of moving the left rear RAM mount to the right mirror stem. Then again, all l really need to do is take my iPhone mount off and put the GoPro on. So many choices.

My problem with video is that I so far haven't had the patience or the time to do some editing. To make a really great riding video I'd have to write a script, and then devote some serious time to collecting all the footage, using a variety of mounting options, using tripods for ride-bys, etc. etc. The problem is I can't imagine having the time to indulge in that luxury at this point.

As for filming a ride in the Laurentians north of the city, you know, I've been riding for four years and haven't ventured that way once. That could be a plan. The ideal time would be the fall when the foliage goes wild.

Finally, as for the ergonomics of the GTS, I find it really comfortable. I have only ridden three other scoots, and it has them beat by a country mile. When I did my 7 day tour last year I spent whole days in the saddle. With the GTS you can change up your riding position a fair bit. When my bum would go a little numb, I'd lift off the saddle and reposition, and that helped a lot. The one thing I didn't suffer with was back pain. I had all my camping gear on the passenger seat and that provided a back rest. I seem to remember seeing a touring bag somewhere that fits on the passenger seat and that provides a backrest. You could probably get Google to fish it out of the internet.

Thanks for stopping by. Great questions.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.