>Owning a geared Vespa is like a secret handshake. A club without rules where every owner is a member. Wherever you are, Vespa owners always want to talk about their scooters – waiting at the lights, in the pub, in A&E. Doesn’t matter. The copy of Scootering you read on the train might get you an upgrade to first class if the guard owns a GS, as happened to my mate.
This bloke dribbled to a halt right in front of us as we were waiting to cross a street off Berlin’s Kurfürstendamm. In my Tarzan German I asked him if he wanted any help, though it turned out he just needed to switch his fuel tap to reserve. He’d just picked up the scoot – a spotless and immaculate Rally – from the restorers, and was clearly as pleased as Punch with it.
This example is also a Rally. I think it is, anyway. It’s a licence-built Spanish MotoVespa with a Rally body but has the trapezoid headset found on early Sprints. MotoVespa scooters are something of a mystery to me. They often seem to have been built with whatever was in the parts bin at the time.
The scoot was parked photogenically outside a cafe in downtown San Sebastian. The owner was inside sipping a coffee, and when he saw me sneaking around with my camera immediately rushed out and moved his bags so I’d get a better shot. His face lit up when I showed him a photo of ‘Bella‘, my beloved Sprint Veloce. His Rally (if that is indeed what it is ) was thirty years old, and he’d owned it from new. Then he plonked his old plastic helmet on my head and told me to have a ride while he finished el desayuno. So I did, and I didn’t stop grinning until teatime.