Sqooterheads are now on Facebook!

Posted: August 14, 2011 in Club News

The San Diego Sqooterheads Scooter Club now has its own Facebook Group, making it easier for members to stay in touch, learn about upcoming rides and post, view and comment on photos and pictures from our awesome rides. This web site will remain for historical purposes, but most of the action will be taking place over on the club’s Facebook Group page. And where is that, you ask?  Just click on the little scooter guy to the left, or on this link: http://www.facebook.com/groups/sqoot/

By Sqooterhead Steve

This is my 1984 Vespa PK 125S Automatica. It’s a rare Vespa model never imported by Piaggio into the United States but sold only in Europe. It is notable for being the first Vespa scooter ever to have an automatic transmission. Since I do not know how to drive a manual-shift Vespa very well, and yet I wanted an older classic Vespa, I researched and discovered that this model existed. Fellow Sqooterhead Tony alerted me to a Craigslist post back in January for a guy in San Diego selling this scooter. Soon after I was the proud owner. After some fixing up and a thorough carb cleaning, yesterday I rode the scooter for the very first time. It was a blast.

I wanted to know the story behind this unique Vespa, so I posted pictures of it on a few scooter bulletin boards online. Someone recognized it as being brought over to the U.S. in the late 80’s by a Gabriel Sanchez, former owner of Monarch Scooters in Pasadena.

A quick Google search revealed that Gabriel is currently serving out a long sentence related to charity fraud charges in the Lompoc Federal Penitentiary. When he began his sentence over 10 years ago, his wife had just given birth to their first child, a daughter. His release date is set for the end of 2016.

I never knew Gabriel personally so I won’t pass judgement on his sentence, but I did manage to contact him through the federal prisoner mail system. I sent him a letter, with pictures, explaining I had purchased a scooter he used to own and my desire to know more about its history. A couple weeks later, back in February, he sent me one of the most amazing letters I have ever received … about not just the unique Vespa I now owned, but also about the love of scootering in general. I asked if I could share his letter here, and he said sure.

Here is Gabriel’s letter to me:

I continue to communicate with Gabriel, now via email, and share with him updates as I get the Vespa looking nicer and nicer. I am also trying to talk my fellow Sqooterheads into making a special scooter ride this summer up to Lompoc to visit a certain Federal inmate currently staying there. By the way, I’ve named my Vespa PK ‘Ramone’. If you read the above letter carefully, you’ll see why.

Mods VS Rockers Weekend!

Posted: January 27, 2011 in Club News, Upcoming Rides

Hey Sqooterheads, this weekend is one not be missed in the annals of San Diego scooterdom. It’s the 10th annual Mods VS Rockers Weekend! Our friends at the San Diego Scooter Squadron have a handy list of all the action. Click the links below for all the details.:

  • Friday, January 28, 6:00 PM: Quadrophenia Showing at The Shakedown Bar in Point Loma, San Diego, CA, 92110. Featuring Mods VS Rockers music, art show and Quadrophenia showing.

  • Saturday, January 29, 6:00 PM: Mods VS Rockers Meet and Greet at RIVIERA CLUB in La Mesa, CA, 91941. Hey! Hey! Everyone is welcome to the Mods and Rockers meet and greet, come on out and enjoy an evening of music and fun. Meet and greet is at the Riviera Supper Club, 7777 University Ave. in La Mesa.

  • Sunday, January 30, 9:30 AM: Mods VS Rockers Ride. Plans have been set and routes formulated for the Mods VS Rockers 10. The modern scooters (like our Buddies and Steve K.’s Chinese scoot) will meet at Einstein Bros. Bagels, 10460 Friars Rd. across from the Kaiser hospital near the intersection of Mission Gorge Road and Friars Road. Other styles of scooters and motorcycles will take different routes, but all will converge at the end for vintage scooter and motorcycle displays, food and fun.
    At least a couple Sqooterheads are going. Hope we all can make at least some of these fun events.
  • Ride Report: Buddies & Minis

    Posted: January 27, 2011 in Ride Reports

    Tony, Greg & the Buddies pull up at Mini of San Diego in Kearny Mesa.


    DATE: Sunday, January 16, 2011

    ROUTE: Hillcrest to Kearny Mesa and back again.

    MILES: 15.8

    RIDERS: 3 – Greg, Tony & Steve S.

    Three Sqooterheads headed north from the normal meeting spot of the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market to take three of the coolest scooters ever made (our Genuine Buddies) to see some of the coolest cars ever made (Mini Coopers) at a Sunday BBQ put on by Mini of San Diego in Kearny Mesa.

    While there, we met a fellow avid scooterist named Waid, also know as Scooter Daddy, who told us about his amazing collection of vintage scooters. He even has his own web site about them:  http://www.scooterdaddy.com

    Along the route, Steve spotted a snazzy red-and-crream Harley-Davidson that called out to his red-and-cream Buddy, El Toro. Before long, both machines were nose to nose checking each other out:

    And here’s the route we took: 

    From left, San Diego Sqooterheads Steve S. and Greg V. with their machines at the Hillcrest Farmer's Market just before heading south to Bonita for today's ride.

    Click on the book above to read more about it, including reviews and ordering information.

    Today San Diego Sqooterheads Tony B., Steve S. and Greg V. headed south to the charming unincorporated San Diego County community of Bonita, just east of Chula Vista. Despite cloudy skies and chilly air, the ride was more than worth it.

    Our destination: a talk organized by local Humanist organizations, including the Humanist Fellowship of San Diego, and featuring H. Alton Jones, author of the new book, The Man on the Bench, a riveting true story about a homeless, mentally ill man who lived on a bench in the wealthy Point Loma section of San Diego for 18 years … and how he touched more lives than anyone would have thought. We were happy to respond to the polite request to bring clean sweaters or blankets to the event to be donated to local homeless people. We dropped off two sweaters, which joined numerous other sweaters and blankets brought by the other attendees.

    The route took us from Hillcrest to North Park, South Park, Golden Hill, Barrio Logan, National City, Chula Vista, Bonita, and back again:


    James Dean and his Lambretta

    Posted: November 4, 2010 in Sqooter History

    James Dean and director Elai Kazan on Dean's Lambretta scooter, on the set of East of Eden.

    Sqooterhead Steve S. recently learned that the legendary James Dean owned and rode a Lambretta scooter and hung out with scooterists! Sqooterhead Tony asked to see proof of this, so here is a picture. It appeared in a special edition of American Scooterist published by the Vespa Club of America.


    Our scooters lines up acorss the street from El Campo Santo in Old Town, San Diego, one of the oldest graveyards in the city, dating from 1849.

    by Steve S.

    I was the only Sqooterhead on the “Cemeteries of San Diego” Halloween ride on October 31, 2010 … but I wasn’t alone. While none of the other Sqooterheads could make the ride, I joined up with six other awesome scooterists, offshoots of the San Diego Scooter Squadron. My Buddy Pamplona — decorated with devil horns matching those on my helmet — happily rode along with a Buddy Blackjack, two Piaggio MP3’s, two Vespa LX 150’s and a Vespa GT 250.

    From North Park we rode through Hillcrest to Mission Hills Park. I’ve played tennis there on several occasions … but I never knew what was on the other side of a grassy knoll across the street from the tennis courts. After parking the scoots, our ride leader led the way over the knoll, and there on tghe other side were several rows of old tombstones and grave markers.  The park had once been a cemetery, and when it transitioned to a park they placed these here in honor of its former role.

    We then rode along Sunset Boulevard in Mission Hills — one of the best rides in the city, with towering palm trees and huge mansions lining each side of the road — and down the hill to Old Town and El Campo Santo (see picture above). From there, we drove through Point Loma all the way to Cabrillo Point and Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. The clear day afforded spectacular views of San Diego Bay, the San Diego skyline, and the Pacific Ocean below. I peeled away from my group for a few minutes to scoot on down to pay respects at the grave site of a beloved family member overlooking the ocean at Fort Rosecrans.

    We then rode all the way back to Mission Hills fro a yummy brunch at The Gathering and some great conversation about scootering and other topics.

    Three cemeteries, six new friends and seven scooters. A memorable Halloween indeed.

    DATE: Sunday, October 31, 2010


    • A. North Park
    • B. Mission Hills Park cemetery
    • C. El Campo Santo in Old Town
    • D. Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
    • E. ‘The Gathering’ restaurant in Mission Hills

    MILES: 23.1

    RIDERS: 7 – Steve S. and six members of the San Diego Scooter Squadron

    Watercolor painting of San Diego's Greewnwood Cemetery, from http://www.urbansketchers.com.

    Listen up Sqooterheads! A fun change is being made to our ride itinerary this coming Sunday, October 31. In honor of it being Halloween (and Day of the Dead the following day), we’ll be joining a few members of the San Diego Scooter Squadron for a spooky ride to select cemeteries and graveyards in San Diego. You’re encouraged, but not required, to come in costume (just make sure it doesn’t interfere with safe scooter riding).

    Meet up at the normal spot (Hillcrest Farmer’s Market) at 9:30 a.m. so Tony can get his giant scone, then we’ll make our way east a few blocks to the starting point in North Park. Kickstands go up at 11 a.m. for a one-to-two-hour ride, followed by optional brunch with the gang.

    (The Pacific Beach/La Jolla ride originally slated for this Sunday will be rescheduled for a future date.)

    Until Halloween …

    The newly formed San Diogo Sqooterheads scooter club was recently added to the nationwide directory of scooter clubs maintained by the popular scootering Web site, Scoot.net.  The listing appears in the “Links” section of Scoot.net at: http://scoot.net/links.html.

    Scoot.net announced the addition of Sqooterheads with this statement at the top of the Links section:

    707 links listed, newest link: San Diego Sqooterheads – San Diego’s All-Inclusive Queer Scooter Club

    Congratulations Sqooterheads on this new national exposure!