Victoria’s scooter commuters
From Collingwood to Gippsland, commuters are embracing the freedom of the scooter.
It’s 8.30am on a bright autumn morning in Collingwood. Underneath a grungy railway bridge by a cafe, a line of 30 scooters – Italian Piaggio Vespas, to be precise – is taking shape.
Arriving in ones and twos their owners, a motley band including butchers, admin officers, nurses, baristas and barristers, exchange friendly greetings and order breakfast.
Then it’s time. Time to talk scooters.
There’s “Bertie”, a 1951 thin-handle-barred beauty owned by Ed Kiernan, a 55-year-old airline pilot from Kew. IT start-up customer success manager Beth Massey, 39, has brought her cute, 1963 VBB that she painted herself in eye-catching pink and white.
And Luke, a 37-year-old civil construction engineer who prefers to keep his surname to himself, has turned up with his new pride and joy: a battered-looking former munitions factory bike built in 1964 and unrideable until he lovingly restored it, just a few months ago.
“I haven’t painted it because it’s got history,” he says, running his fingers lovingly over the machine’s chipped and pockmarked light-blue-grey body. “Life’s busy enough and it goes too fast. When [I’m] on one of these things, I’m not interested in going fast. I want to just ride along the road and have a bit of a giggle to myself.”
Like most here, Luke has been bitten by the Vespa Bug. “I bought one and then I bought another one and now I want to buy one like that [pointing to a nearby bike]. What am I doing?!” he says, half pleading.
Despite what this may sound like, this is not Scooters Anonymous. Instead, it’s a monthly get-together organised by the Vespa Club of Melbourne, a 540-strong group of riders, restorers and enthusiasts. Club president Julie Pond owns eight of the bikes with her husband Greg, who is club secretary.