Monday, July 27, 2009

SOB: Hamster-Phenia IV scooter rally Bellingham

This year we are in the midst of a very enjoyable stretch of weather. I was preparing my scoot for the Hamster IV scooter rally this past weekend. Bellingham is a mere 1 hour drive south of Vancouver, BC but I wanted to transfer the GPS and Video cam Ram-Mounts over to my Kymco X500Ri. It is much simpler to mount these things on my SV650 as the handlebars are bare. On the scoot everything is covered up by plastic panels and while the handlebars rotate, the windscreen is fixed with causes problems with my camera mount. Luckily I ordered an extension bracket from and managed to get everything working.


At this late stage in life, I never wanted to become an SOB until now. At a recent meeting of the Scooters of Bellingham, they changed their rules to allow associate members who do not reside in Bellingham, so after payment of my dues I am now an official SOB.

I left Vancouver just after 7am on Saturday morning. I was allowing 1-1/2 hrs travel time plus a half hour buffer. As Vancouver is very close to the Cdn/US border crossing the border crossing line-up delays are broadcast very frequently and are included with the traffic reports. Even at 6am there was a 30 minute delay. On the 7 o'clock news the line up had built up to 90 minutes. As a frequent border crosser, I am Nexus registered so I have documentation to skip across the border with virtually no delay. When I approached the border I would estimate that the line was at least 90 minutes, but I only encountered a short delay of perhaps 2 minutes with no one in front or behind me.

My scooter is highway capable and I continued on the direct path down I-5 at the speed limit of 70 mph and took the Sunset Exit and made my way to Old Bellingham on Holly street. One of the first persons I encountered was ORIN of Scootin' Old School . Yes, I have know Orin for a few years and it is always nice to see a familiar face. He has scaled back on his fleet and rode his trusty GTS, I say trusty except for the fact that it devours rear tires.


On one of his recent BLOG entries, Orin mentioned that he is seldom in any scootering pictures, so I decided that I would help him out and take a few extra


From this angle you will notice the support vehicle in the background. One nice thing about attending rallies is that they are prepared in the event of breakdowns. You know that help is there in case you need it.

The meet and greet started at 9am. It is a time where riders start arriving and there are breakfast places nearby to have a bite before we leave on our group ride. Also, others are making preparations to have enough liquid refreshments - enough ice to last the day.


Soon it is 10:30am and time to suit up and get your motors running. Here is Orin in full riding gear just waiting to take off


Our ride takes us North West to Gooseberry point on first nations land where there is a ferry to take you over to Lumni Island. We stop for a rest break and wait for another scooter which had some mechanical problems a mile or so back


We eventually return to Fairhaven, Bellingham for a short lunch break and a chance to get out of the hot sun. A time for us to get some nourishment and relax before the afternoon ride.


Scooters were parked everywhere



Our afternoon ride took us south of Bellingham around Lake Sammish, down several backroads with little traffic, up Hwy 9 and we came to this little store called Scooter Stuff. And it is a store that caters to Harley stuff, not for scooters


We took over the whole parking area and left little room for those huge Harleys. Actually, while we were there a couple of groups of Harleys arrived, saw that there was not much room for them, and they rode off


While we did not do an accurate count, someone said that we had at least 50 scoots parked there. We started with 76 earlier in the day

Here's another shot of ORIN take more pictures for his blog or flicker slide show


Eventually we all made our way over to Jeff & Mary's back yard for dinner and raffle prizes. This year they catered the food and there was lots of it. In fact the left overs could have fed another army.


I'm not usually very lucky but I generally purchase an "arms length" of raffle tickets for a chance at some of the prizes. This year I was very lucky to have won this


It was a very nice bottle of Scotch with a matching stainless steel vest container which was custom engraved. The prizes were in sealed bags separated by category. Local, Adult and General with some "bags" identified by size only.

Local is for coupons which had to be redeemed at local businesses. Not really convenient if you came from Oregon, Seattle or Vancouver. General was mostly clothing wrapped by size. Then there was "Adult". Of course, with my Jack Riepe mind I was conjuring up images of what would be inside this package. Perhaps it was something embarrasing, but no, in this case Adult meant for someone over the age of majority.

How lucky I was to have another one of my numbers drawn again. This time a bag containing a Model of a Vespa scooter in a box, some Shampoo and combs, a club patch, tooth paste and some pens.

Old Bellingham is a neat place to explore if you have some time to spare. I posed my Scoot in front of this painted collage of an old Bellingham scene. A hearty Thank You to the SOB's for a great rally.


The following is a short video of our rides. One segment features Orin who is directly in front of the Video Cam. I must have passed him as I did not know at the time that he had tire problems


  1. What a great clear video, what camera are you using bob? looks soooo much fun, wish I still had Barbie would of joined you all ;)Linda..

  2. Bob, very nice write up and images. Your desire to be a S.O.B. started me laughing right away!

    I noticed that everyone seemed to be wearing helmets, which is something I don't see often on scooter riders. Is it mandatory where you live?

    Just anyone in the group riding large displacement scooters. I saw one in a show room that was a 650cc!

    Finally, I've had a video cam for more than a year and have not used it other than to test it out. Your nice video has inspired me to put the dang thing in use! Thanks. Looked like a really fun ride.

  3. Great name for the club and I really like the design of that crest for the club. Someone went to some work for that one.
    Really like the video too.
    Sounds like you had a great time.
    And Congrats on the spoils of winning the prizes! Don't drink it all at one time

  4. Dear Bobskoot:

    Please be advised that those of us who've known you for a while have always thought of you as that Canadian SOB. You'd be surprised at how often this comes up in conversation.

    So what is the problem with Orin's scoot and the tire situation? I'm assuming you meant the back tire. Are threse tubeless? Are they easy to fix on the road?

    Fondest regards,
    Jack "reep" Toad

  5. The adventure is the journey, may you never reach your destination.

    I noticed your quote above - so evocative and the the theme of this poem written by a Greek poet Konstantinos Kavafy:

    As you set out for Ithaka
    hope the voyage is a long one,
    full of adventure, full of discovery.
    Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
    angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
    you’ll never find things like that on your way
    as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
    as long as a rare excitement
    stirs your spirit and your body.
    Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
    wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
    unless you bring them along inside your soul,
    unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

    Hope the voyage is a long one.
    May there be many a summer morning when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time;
    may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
    to buy fine things,
    mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
    sensual perfume of every kind—
    as many sensual perfumes as you can;
    and may you visit many Egyptian cities
    to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

    Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
    Arriving there is what you are destined for.
    But do not hurry the journey at all.
    Better if it lasts for years,
    so you are old by the time you reach the island,
    wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
    not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

    Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
    Without her you would not have set out.
    She has nothing left to give you now.

    And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
    Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
    you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

  6. Linda:

    I have a blog entry from last year which explains everything. I use a Panasonic SDR-SW20 which is 480p (DVD quality) . It is perfect for motorcycle use as it used flash memory, SDHC, is waterproof and shock resistant.


    It feels great to be an SOB. BC and Washington State both have mandatory helmet laws, no matter what the size of engine. I have the SV650n and my Kymco X500Ri is 500cc. I have ridden my scoot down to Oregon last year. It is highway capable.
    It's great to have a video cam. I like the idea that I can capture video "on the fly" if I see drivers doing stupid things. Sometimes you need "evidence". Make sure you purchase Ram-Mounts. They seem very durable and can be detached easily. It is safer to use the mounted video cam, than to ride one-handed trying to snap pics, or having to stop all the time

    Jim cpa3585:

    That's what I was trying to tell you on a prev comment. Pick out some letters and work around the club name and get a catch acronym. I like to attend rallies. It gives you a chance to socialize and meet people with the same interests


    I put Orin's link in the post. He has a few entries describing his problems with his tires. It would appear that he is just unlucky and likes to drive over nails and staples. Most scooter tires are tubeless but not many stores carry the correct sizes. It is not easy to change scooter tires "on the road". Most often you must remove the exhaust system, shocks and brake calipers. You also require a motorcycle tire changer so as not to damage the rims. The diameter is too small.


    Thank you for that poem. I never had anyone send me a complete poem before. It gives me inspiration to take the path less travelled and experience life along the way.

  7. Looks like you scooter rebels scared the Harley's away! I'm sorry I missed this rally but I was in paradise that week. I'm going to get to one of these!

  8. Nice story, and I liked the hand on the Old Skool nape, a story implied but not told.
    I rather liked the spare wheel feature of the older Vespas. I used to lay my P200 on its side ona rag, swap out the flat tire with the spare wheel.My GTS used to wear out the rear tire every 3400 miles which meant I needed a tire change every ten weeks. Too rich for me.

  9. I mean every 5500 kilometers (in Canadian miles).

  10. Hi Bob,

    Nice post you old S.O.B, I have never ridden in a large group like that, the atmosphere must be great!




  11. Lance:

    I would think Hawaii would be the better choice. Another scooter rally will come around. One day our paths will cross.

    Mr Conchscooter:

    I like the idea of swapping out the tires on the old Vespas. I used to have a Lambretta GP200 SIL. It had the same type of wheel with bolts to undo the rims. You just had to make sure you didn't loosen the wrong ones and I used to carry a mounted rim as well. Too bad the new scoots don't have this feature

    In Canada I think moving over to the metric system was a conspiracy. You think your car is worn out at 100K kms but that is really only 60K miles.


    The scooter rally in Victoria is the largest. Frequently there are group rides of 150 scooters. All group rides find their way into a Petrol Station. With all that buzzing and blue 2-stroke smoke everywhere we look like a gang of rebels.

    It's very hot here too. We broke temperature records yesterday. I have a portable air conditioning unit which I connected but the house is so hot from being closed all day. It's not so bad sitting in front of the air flow. And the Air-Con unit is controlled by remote control. (Linda, eat your heart out). Can't wait for normal temps to return in a few more days

  12. As always, some good (even great) pictures, excellent dialogue and teasing me with what I missed.

  13. Bob,
    The video is excellent and I AM amazed at the shoot quality...very stable and not jumpy as I would have expected it to good job...I've seen your previous pots where you had mounted the GPS and the Camera on the question really is...does the GPS behave normal with all that bouncing around whilst riding? I'm tempted in insatlling one but not sure if its worth the your 2 cents welcomed... Thanks!
    BTW...great pics...looks like you had a ball.

  14. ps: forgot to congratulate you on becoming an S.O.B. lol

  15. Alternet (one of my pinko leftist news sources) has a description of Vancouver very different from yours. Its where I want to move to.


  16. Robert:

    No worries. There will be other rallies and events to savour


    No problems on the Garmin GPS. It is an older model that I purchased a couple of years ago when they were double the price. I purchased a new one for the car so downgraded this one for the scoot and bike (I move them around). It is not a dedicated MC one so is not waterproof. I just put a ziplock bag over it and secure with an elastic band. Seems to work OK, even on the highway. I have used this GPS on 2 trips to Kelowna on both the bike and scooter, and One trip to Oregon, also a couple of trips to Victoria/Nanaimo and the GPS seems to be going strong. I purchased Ram-Mounts for it since you get more secure "Holders". I'll have more to say on the next post

    Mr Conchscooter:

    I read that article and I must say that is is accurate. Soon we will be the greenest city north of KW. They are erecting a windmill generator on the mountain so visitors will see we are harvesting wind power, and it is also true that they are legislating that a percentage of new construction must have plugs for electric vehicles, which by the way, they have approved for street use. That bicycle lane on the Burrard Bridge is a sore point for motorists but so far it seems to be working. I suppose we are more progressive than we locals would admit to.

    I would love to be able to share our city with you and Layne. We could keep your KW home as our winter get-a-way

    Luv, bob

  17. Hey Bob...not sure where you got Breve from my name is Berge...I love your posts and the fact that u r the senior BC man on the xcene...heck I'm 2 young to

    Will try to hook up my old GPS on and see how it works...will let u no...

    I'm only afraid that jerks from the ride will make it go crazy...if u no wat I mean

  18. Baron/Berge:

    Now you've got me embarassed. sorry, some how I got it wrong. Berge it is.

    I've never had a problem with the rough roads. My Garmin just keeps on working without any problems.

    it's nice to be able to look "around the Corner" or over the "next hill", and when you want to find a gas station or restaurant

  19. conchscooter, I think Alison was trying to do the horns on my head thing but misjudged the angle. I felt nothing on the nape of the neck. I wouldn't have minded...

    Scootin' Old Skool