You’d expect the members of a group that calls itself the Bangalore Classic Scooter Club to be older, gray-haired, bordering on their 50s perhaps. It therefore comes as a surprise that the founder-members of this group, four in all, are in their 20s and 30s. In fact, as Arun P, one of the founder-members and all of 23 tells me, most of their members are below the age of 35.
If that’s the first of the clichés shattered (vintage scooters would appeal to those who belong to somewhat vintage years) then the next is yet another widely believed one. You’d expect young men to be zooming around on their bikes, not on the Lambrettas and Vespas once used by their dads and passionately restoring these to their former glory. Mention this to them and you would be surprised. They may use bikes from time to time but like the obsession with vintage cars, the passion for classic scooters is an unexplained one, says Arun, a mechanical engineer turned MBA aspirant, who says tinkering with automobiles was his childhood dream.
“For most of us the passion originates from a time when we were 16 or 17 years and it was time to move from a bicycle to a motorised vehicle,” says Siddharth Naidu, IT professional and another founder-member. Naidu used his dad’s Lambretta for six years before it was sold off. He finally bought one of his own in 2008 from an old gentleman and met fellow enthusiast and collector Arun, who knew the right mechanics for the required repair job. They met up with two other classic scooter enthusiasts Gokul Yumm and Yatish G V in Cubbon Park for a ride in April 2009 and decided to start the Bangalore classic scooter club.
So what could be categorised as a classic scooter? Lambretta, Vespa and Vijay Super are the names that fall about in conversation. “To us any scooter that has hand operated gears and follows the classic design would be one,” says Naidu. “Preferably something manufactured before ’85-’90,” adds Arun, who owns several classic scooters apart from a vintage Morris Minor.
The members conduct a rally on the last Sunday of almost every month and as Naidu adds, the number of participants has been increasing steadily with each one. The rally in February this year saw almost 30 classic scooters. And while you ideally need to have a vintage scooter to be a participant, Arun adds that they have never really stopped anyone from joining in or from simply gawking at the line-up of scooters, in steel gray, blue, white and some in cheerful candy colours.
The rallies and word of mouth efforts have increased the club’s members who help each other out, whether it is in finding out about the right mechanics or helping someone to procure a classic scooter. Naidu laments that the popularity of old scooters has led to some people quoting exorbitant rates and trying to make a quick buck. Which is the reason the club is helpful as members can exchange news on repair jobs, availability of spare parts and finding a scooter of the right vintage. And with a motto that says Save Our Scooters (SOS), could you expect any less? ⊕