Last sunday was the Great London Rideout, 2008 – the largest classic scooter event in London. It’s an annual run from Regent’s Park to Southend, and each year something like 500 Italian Shopping Bikes take part, as well as a few autos and even a couple of classic bikes – this year there was an Enfield and a Moto Guzzi.
In the early days of the rideout, there would always be a solitary police car parked at the start (which back in 2000 was the Serpentine in Hyde Park), presumably to stop anyone flinging deck chairs at passing rockers. These days, the police stop the traffic so we can jump red lights at some parts of the route and stay together as a pack. The sight and sound of all these scooters moving in a vast peloton down Regent Street is something to see. Car drivers don’t seem to mind much, and pedestrians love it – waving from the pavements and hanging out of windows.
I rode my 1981 P125X, “DINO” as The Beloved Sprint “Bella” had failed her MOT. There are scooters of all ages and conditions – from the no-expense-spared restorations costing perhaps ten grand, to unrestored examples like this Lambretta Series 2, complete with its original paint and day-glo dealer sticker.
Last year, I rode “Bella” all the way to Southend with my mate on his PX. It was the first time we’d done it. This year we dropped out at Leytonstone for a bacon sarnie at home.