Article by: Mike Jacobs
I’m not a scooter rider. I don’t have anything against them, but I’ve just never ridden them. My dad rode motorcycles, so I learned to ride on motorcycles, and we don’t live in Europe or Asia, so we never had scooters in our garage.
My opinion of them was basically that there were some old Italian ones on the road that looked kind of cool. For the most part though, I didn’t even notice them. But after completing a 20-hour endurance rally where I watched grown men and women dress up in costumes, desecrate their scooters with flamboyant customization's, take photos and post them to the internet doing ludicrous stunts at kitschy locations all over Ontario’s Southwest, the diminutive scooter is firmly etched into my brain forevermore.
The Mad Bastard Scooter Rally is a one day endurance race that awards points to participants for a chance to win the title of maddest bastard of them all. You can ride as a team, and many do, but when it comes to scoring it’s every man, woman and child for themselves. Your final completion time, the CCs of your bike, the number of photo stops you make, the originality of your costume, and a final double endurance round that includes riding a mechanical bull all figure into the ride.
And one of the criteria for points is the displacement of your ride, so I’d have lost 50 points right away for this massive beast. We even somehow managed to ride three up at one point, proving theKymco MyRoad 700i, my scooter for the day, capabilities when it has lots thrown at it. Kymco markets the scooter as perfect for the gentleman about town, and I have to say, I could see this scooter easily conveying businessmen to work, if we were a bit more European minded in Toronto.
My cohorts of Barb and Dave Wynd were riding their vintage Honda Passport scooters, but I was lucky enough to have the big MyRoad for the day – although the scooter is really nimble and doesn’t feel anywhere near “big”. My cohorts of Barb and Dave Wynd were riding their vintage Honda Passport scooters, but I was lucky enough to have the big MyRoad for the day – although the scooter is really nimble and doesn’t feel anywhere near “big”.Technically I wasn’t really competing, as the videographer was riding with me so this full-size scooter was perfectly matched for the task of sitting back and enjoying the suffering of all those around me.
Except it soon became clear that all these other riders weren’t suffering; they were enjoying it!
It’s difficult to capture all that happened over the course of one day – it feels like we packed in a week of touring into one day for all the things we saw and did, and all the emotions that we went through.
Starting a ride before dawn, and riding as the sun came up on backroads outside of Guelph was pretty magical. There were very few cars on the road, and we heard the crickets stop and the birds start chirping. It wasn’t long before we were in sync and following Barb’s expert guidance as she followed the route prepared by the organizers.
And what a route it was – the organizers take it so seriously that I ended up having one of best tours of my 7 years of being a “touring” rider. I can’t believe how much good riding there is in the Southwest – but it’s definitely off the beaten path.We stopped in little towns, getting photos, meeting up with the other riders. We passed a guy on a first generation Honda scooter trying to make it up a pretty small incline – eventually he just got out and pushed.
By lunch I was completely spent, and we all had that thousand yard look in our eyes. But we saddled up, and soldiered on. A few riders dropped out, and the support truck took their rides back to HQ.But things were really just getting started. Riding through Dundas and onto Hamilton mountain, the mood changed, and after a few little splashes of rain, the exhaustion turned to a kind of transcendental delirium somewhere around Turkey Point.
We watched the sun go down as we descended a long bridge into a valley, crossing over a river shimmering with the wild oranges and purples of the end of this day. But we were hours from the end of the ride, and this was really when things changed – for me at least.
To think that this could happen on a scooter opened my eyes – these machines are definitely not limited to getting groceries in the downtown core – I’d be just as comfortable touring on one of these machines as I would on a full bagger. Needless to say, three hours later, after searching in the dark for clues for one of the various points challenges, and a final coffee at Tim Horton’s before winding through Guelph’s backroads to our hotel to flop, face first, onto the mattress, I was done – complete.
If you think that your touring experience needs a little spice added to it, the Mad Bastard might just be the solution you’re looking for. It was for me.