Saturday, April 19, 2008
Continental Scooterists, Part 2
There are loads of scooters in Paris, almost every one ridden by a Jean-Paul Belmondo or Audrey Tautou, swathed in an enormous scarf and with a Marlboro dangling from the corner of their mouths. Most these days are automatic maxi-scooters like the Piaggio X8, although you still see the odd (and odd-looking) Velosolex, and lots and lots of geared Vespas. The top one here is a restored GL (I think), the single saddles are typically French, and uncommon in the UK. In Paris you can park a scooter anywhere, seemingly. The pavements are full of them - as long as they don't obstruct pedestrians the traffic wardens don't seem to mind. What a luxury this would be in London, especially now that it's almost impossible to find a parking space on a workday. Below that is a slightly ratty PX model in use by a courier company. That enormous screen must give the rider a vastly increased sense of protection, because these delivery models are ridden at speeds that would make a police outrider wince. What a great job - getting paid to ride the streets of Paris, on a Piaggio Vespa PX125.