The Scooter Cannonball Run is a coast to coast endurance event for scooters. It is a time/distance/regularity rally where points are awarded based on miles completed and the ability to maintain the standard pace. This year it will begin in Savannah, GA and end eight days later in San Diego, CA covering 2633 miles. There are over 50 entrants riding all types of scooters. From a 1946 Salibury to a modern 3 wheel Piaggo MP3. I have decided join the fun this year. We will leave Savannah on April 22 and head west. I will be riding to raise money for KIDS and LEMUR'S charities. Please help us by purchasing some miles for one of these charities. Don't worry, I will be covering close to 6,000 miles out to California and back to Florida, so there are plenty of miles to go around. ALL monies go directly to the charity.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Jess, a long time participant, "owner" of the Modern Vespa website and one of the organizers of the Scooter Cannonball Run explains the facts of life to us newbies. They do enforce safety standards like you must wear a helmet, armored jacket, boots, etc. in order to participate but the condition of your scooter is up to you.

"Continuing my reign of terror o'er this year's Freshman riders, I would like to use today's sermon to address the fact that Cannonball destroys bikes. It chews them up and spits them out as misshapen bits of disfigured metal. If you're not comfortable with that fact, you should drop out now.

The destruction happens in two discrete modes: Crashing and abnormal wear. Let's talk about crashing first.

To start with, you will crash. At least, the chances of crashing during Cannonball are significantly elevated from your normal, everyday riding. You will encounter conditions that you would normally avoid, only you'll have little choice but to go on anyway. You'll be tired, possibly hungover. Your bike will be weighed down with tools and gear and gas and spare tires. Your tires will be suboptimal (we'll get to that later) and you'll be riding through unfamiliar territory every single moment of the event. All the things that raise the statistical likelihood of you crashing will be present on this ride, and you will crash. Your shiny bike that you love so much won't be shiny anymore, it will be banged up, scraped up, and possibly twisted into an unrecognizable mass of smoking metal and plastic. If you're not comfortable with that fact, you should drop out now.

As with most crashes, you will probably suffer. You will land on your knee, most likely. And possibly your shoulder as well. At best, you will merely ache. At worst, you will be seriously injured. This is a dangerous undertaking, and people have been seriously injured on Cannonball in every single run. If you're not comfortable with that fact, you should drop out now.

Still here? Okay. Let's talk about abnormal wear.

Cannonball isn't like your normal ride. It is day after day after day of extended, long-range riding. Whatever you think you know about wear rates of the various parts of your bike is wrong. If you don't believe me, just show up unprepared and your bike will demonstrate this fact to you and you will be fucked. The extended full-hot conditions for hours on end will cause failures that will make your eyes bug out.

- Rear tires will see their mileage cut in half because of the number of miles ridden in a fully hot state, shedding rubber at unprecedented rates. The tire that gets 4,000 miles under normal riding conditions will last for 2,000 miles, and will be completely bald at the end. You can watch the tread disappear over the span of a single day. Bring a spare, not as a replacement for a flat but to replace the tire you used up while riding. Know how to change your wheels yourself. If you're not comfortable doing so, you should drop out now.

- Belts will start snapping after Day 5. This is a well-established fact of Cannonball. Larger bikes (above 400) are largely immune to this, but the smaller bikes are virtually guaranteed to start breaking belts around 2000 miles in. Carry an extra belt with you, and know how to change it by the side of the road. Ideally, you'll change it before that, but YOU need to know how to change it. If you're uncomfortable with that, you should drop out now.

- Your exhaust will break. No, I'm serious. You, on the GTS. Your stock exhaust is shit. You will blow an exhaust gasket on Day 3. If you put the Moto Amore muffler bearing in place of the exhaust gasket, you will snap your exhaust header, and then you'll be fucked. If you continue to ride with a blown exhaust gasket, you'll burn up an exhaust valve inside your engine, and then you'll really be fucked. If you're not comfortable with the possibility that you might destroy your scooter's engine, you should drop out now.

- Your aftermarket exhaust is shit as well. Your LV pipe will either snap your exhaust header (see previous point) or it will burn up all the packing inside over the course of the event, and then it will consume the baffle, which will rattle around for days. If you're lucky, it won't block the exhaust flow. Your Gianelli exhaust won't last either. Almost anything you put on your GTS will be consumed by the extended and considerable heat put out by the GTS engine. If you're not comfortable with this fact, you should drop out now.

There are innumerable other ways your bike could fail, but the above are the big hitters. The point is that you have to be prepared for these or you will be left behind. We're on a schedule, and the group is not going to wait for you to get your bike fixed at Vespa Podunk. The only time you have to fix your bike is in the evenings in the hotel parking lot. If you're not comfortable with this, you should drop out now. If you can't afford to lose your scooter, you should drop out now. If you are in any way uncomfortable with the fact that your scooter is an offering to the Gods of Cannonball and will likely be thrown into a volcano, you should drop out now.

If, on the other hand, you can detach yourself from your scooter and realize that it is, in fact, a consumable on this trip, then you might be starting to see the light. If you're lucky, you might have something vaguely resembling your scooter when you get to the other side.

Still here? Good. Let's roll."

And for those that don't believe here are some pictures from the former Scooter Cannonball Runs

WHAT....nobody told me it would be like this!!!!!!!

Remember, "Anyone can ride a Harley across America, but it takes a real rider to do it on a Scooter!"