Gotta Scoot

A foray into the world of the 2-wheeled amateur

28 April 2007 Saturday Night Fever!

Well, it had to happen. Like most red-blooded twenty-somethings, I relish a good Saturday night out in the city. So it was that last night I took the TGB out for spin and painted the town red… scooter style!

I must admit that I was nervous about the decision to finally hurtle onto the motorway that joins Sydney’s outer-west with the inner-west and city centre. After all, it had been raining, the sun had set and I had many misgivings about sharing the road with cars and trucks that pelt along at a cool hundred kilometres an hour. But I was eager to finally make it into the heart of the city that is internationally renowned for its stunning harbour, famous landmarks like the opera house and harbour bridge and generally known for its seductive charm that draws in droves of British backpackers, Japanese ‘maxi’ tour buses, stylish European filmmakers, and… well… the humble scooterist, yours faithfully.

One of the unmistakable bonuses for anyone on two wheels in Sydney is undoubtedly the free parking lots that one finds peppered throughout the heart of the city – yes, FREE! I wonder if NYC, LA, Paris, London or your city is as generous? Sydney has now become the place where one very rarely brings a car. A simple three hour stay in the private car parks can relieve the unsuspecting out-of-towner of $30. Even the parking metres – if you’re lucky enough to find a random spot on the street – cost an absolute bomb and are usually limited to a two hour stay. If one plans a day or night out in Sydney, one takes the busses or trains. Of course, STA’s track record (no pun intended) for running on time (or sometimes at all) is questionable at the best of times.

So you can imagine my joy, dear reader, when I finally pulled to a patch of road right in the city centre above which a green sign displayed the message ‘motorcycles only.’ No metres, no hourly limits, just a good place to pull the scoot up and walk a couple of minutes to the steps of Sydney Town Hall where I met my friends for dinner.

After a good 4 hours (no, I wasn’t paying attention to the time – but I did spare a thought for the poor driver with parking metre paranoia) – 4 hours of dining on jap chae, biembiembap, the ubiquitous kimchi that one finds without any effort in any of Sydney’s fine Korean restaurants… not to mention the coffee, cake and ice cream on which we gorged ourselves afterwards… after 4 hours of enjoying Sydney’s finest cuisine and company, I took my friends to the parking lot to meet the TGB and have a go for themselves.

Thomas – who hadn’t ridden before – said at the end of the little introduction, ‘Michael – I think you just sold three scooters.’ He and his partner Valerie are off to Rome in a month and I suspect there they’ll know the joys of the Vespa (I’ll let you know the details of their blog if/when they get one started). I just had to ask the ladies to pose in front of the scoot!

Other than that folks, if you’ve not been to Sydney before and are wondering if it’s a good city for a scoot, then the answer is a resounding and unanimous YES.


April 30, 2007 - Posted by | Inner-City


  1. You realize now, when you pose two pretty ladies in front of your scooter, the scooter disappears! Hey, what a great evening out. I envy the fact that you have one of the most beautiful cities in the world as the backdrop of your life. And…as your personal scooter playground.

    Have fun,

    Comment by Bill Sommers | May 1, 2007

  2. Michael, when I was in Rome about a year and half ago I was absolutely shocked to find that I could count all the Vespas I saw in my week there on my fingers. Roman scooteristas go for the Honda SH150 and Kymco People (big wheels work better on paving stones). The Italian government has been buying up people’s beaters (2 wheels or 4) for 1000 euro apiece in order to meet EU air quality standards. The old Fiat 500s are also pretty much extinct, replaced by Kia Picantos and Hyundai Atos(es?).

    If one is going to ride in Rome, keep one thing in mind: if you hesitate, you will be trampled by the herd. Know where you are going…

    Comment by Orin | May 1, 2007

  3. I wonder if NYC, LA, Paris, London or your city is as generous?

    Uh, no… Seattle rolls over backwards for bicyclists, even though most of them arrogantly flout traffic and parking laws. There are exactly 16 motorcycle parking spaces in the downtown area, and the city sees $35 parking tickets as a significant source of revenue. I’ve been cited a few times, but I’ve always had time to go see the magistrate and get the fine reduced or waived.

    Comment by Orin | May 4, 2007

  4. […] blog gotta scoot tells of the situation in Sydney, Australia, a city Michael says “has now become the place […]

    Pingback by My kind of town « Scootin’ old skool: my Vespa PX 150 | May 4, 2007

  5. Wow! Thanks for the quote Orin! Sorry to hear that Seattle (which is, I hear, nonetheless a beautiful city with a lot of culture) is so hostile towards bikes/scooters, which are really a lot more compact than the average family car (not to mention MUCH less polluting in any inner-city environment!).

    You gotta wonder how long the whole culture of bigger, better, faster more can last eh?


    Comment by Michael | May 5, 2007

  6. Michael, the smart ForTwo goes on sale in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2008. I took a $99 hit on my credit card to get a place in line for one. At that point, you may see a blog called, say,…


    Comment by Orin | May 12, 2007

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