Vegan on a Vespa: Going Green in Sky Blue

Besides eating a vegan diet, there’s no more fun or stylish way to be eco-friendly than on the seat of a scooter. I love the classic quasi-retro lines of the Vespa (and with a name like DiJulio, I love all things Italian), but I’ve never met a scooter I didn’t like. Have you seen the mod flowered ones that Honda makes?

We bought mine in the fall of 2008 when I switched from a gas guzzler to a Prius. I have to confess that while one of my main motivations was a greener approach to transportation, high gas prices and a car that was expensive to maintain were also motivating factors. But it was my dad who suggested in response to my lament about the latter, “Why don’t you get yourself one of those scooters like the Italian girls ride?” (My husband’s and my families had all been on a trip to Italy together and we were taken with the stylish women, dressed for work, zipping down the cobblestone streets. So, alas, a fun, sporty European ride was also a motivating factor.) My response was, “You know, I just saw a sign that a local dealership is selling them, so I think I will.” And I did; that weekend.

My mom was ready to “throttle” him for suggesting such a thing. But I’m a very safe driver; I even read the Vespa safety manual online before setting off on my maiden trek to school. Though my scooter is fully street legal, it only travels at about 39 mph (with the windscreen added)–I wanted a 50cc engine in order not to have to obtain a motorcycle license–so I try to stay off of main in-town streets where the speed limit is 45 to avoid annoying other drivers and, frankly, to stay out of the fray.

I’m also a very fair weather rider and, sadly, didn’t ride the scooter much this school year, as it seemed I always had a big load of materials to take in, an afternoon meeting that was far away, or inclimate weather–what a wet year we’ve had. In fact, when our niece was here for Thanksgiving, she wanted to go for a ride with me, but it wouldn’t start–carburetor issues, it turns out–so it has sat idle all winter. I finally had it towed to the dealership last Thursday, just getting it back yesterday, and I plan to make up for some lost time. Fortunately for me, my school, bank, shopping destinations, grocery store, gyms, recreation, restaurants and lots of friends are only a short ride away.

Here’s to going “the greenest mile.”

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  1. taleoftwovegans

    Oh, it is way too cute! I would definitely love having a little scooter to zip around on! Have fun! 🙂 -Eve

  2. YOU are too cute. Vespa means "hornet," so "zip" is the perfect word for how it buzzes about.

  3. Keri - I Eat Trees

    So cute!! I love the helmet too! What an awesome scooter. 🙂

  4. Girls totally get my helmet and why I "had" to have a matching one!

  5. amandasdomestic

    I love it and a bit jealous! 🙂 I remember seeing women in business suits and high heels flying down the streets in these, and I was impressed! Enjoy your ride!

  6. You're so funny. Thank you. They really are conducive to most kids of attire. Shorter pencil skirts, though, not so much because, in order to straddle the seat, you have to pull the skirt up inappropriately high. 🙂

    One of my favorite recollections was of a guy in Italy zipping around a corner, his dog on the running board looking very practiced and completely comfortable leaning into the curves. If only. Mine are way too big…and goofy.

  7. Betsy,

    Do you happen to know if Vespas are inherently vegan? Probably just the seat would be of worry. Thanks!

  8. Good question…, as you know, I have a Vespa and that never even crossed my mind. I am quite sure that the seats are leather, unfortunately.

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