Why would anyone in United States or Canada invest $ 9,000.00 plus into a new Vespa 300 series scooter? Why not get an old Honda CB 350 for far less money or one of those Chinese made scooters for a fraction of the cost?
This is a question I have asked myself since I dove into that lifestyle years ago. Is it the love of Italian engineering or the desire to be different? There is something to be said about the face of a car driver as he/she watches you pass them on a scooter doing 120 Km/hour on the freeway. Additionally there is something to be said about how a Vespa rider makes friends everywhere we go because people naturally gravitate towards the cool Italian motorbike and generally always greet the rider. I cannot count the times that a stranger asked about the Vespa and then proceeded to unlock all the mysteries of the town or village I was visiting. I would received the low-down on all the best sites to see and places to eat. Why you ask? Well the only thing that I can think about is that it is different, uncommon, not usual or just intriguing.
Well what ever the reason is it started to have an affect on my driving lifestyle. I began to feel that it is normal for people to gravitate towards my ride and start up a conversation about the Vespa. I since sold that Vespa but now ride a BMW 700 GS with my wife. These are matching bikes and when we ride together the same thing happens. People come up to us and immediately start talking about the bikes and how cute a couple we are.
Then came my Fiat Abarth convertible with a huge Scorpion on the hood and an exhaust growl that just continued that trend. Simply driving into a parking lot would turn heads and almost always someone would stop by to ask about what is under the hood and what is the 0-60 time. Again this just reinforced the fact that no matter where I would go, someone would come up to me and start a conversation.
Then came the CRV
This all started to change this fall when I purchased a 2003 Honda CRV to be driven during the winter months and to be used for camping in the summer. It was black and had… well what ever a CRV has. Oh yes, I could attach a canoe on top. But that’s it. Boring!
I could ride into any town and sneak in and out without a single person raising their head. I suppose if I was a criminal this would have its advantages but I’m not. After four straight years (that started with a Vespa) of having people notice, admire and also share common interests with the vehicle I ride, I found that I was becoming more and more disappointed with the CRV. So what was I suppose to do? Well I guess I could have traded it in for a really funky Land Rover at a huge hit to my wallet or perhaps a Porsche SUV.
That would defeat the purpose of a winter beater and camping vehicle. How could I even imagine throwing a canoe on top of a ninety-thousand dollar SUV and perhaps scratch the paint. Nope this was not option for me.
So one day I was browsing Amazon and e-bay and found vinyl car stickers. Everything from racing stripes to flowers and such. But would a racing stripe on a Honda CRV change anything? I think not. But I did find something that did in fact change the CRV into a topic of conversation.
Have a look and then I will tell you my final story about what happened on the first day.
Well after I had these installed yesterday morning I had to get some winter tires removed from my wheels and put on new wheels. When I pulled into the parking lot I was surprised that I parked next to another Zombie Response Team Vehicle. I immediately took a picture and sent it to a friend who replied “Must be the Clean-Up Crew”.
On my second stop a young man perhaps in his thirties came up to me and asked “Is this for real?” I smiled as I got into the CRV and responded “I’m sorry sir but I am not at liberty to discuss this”.