In love with Vespa, bikers make fun ride to Miri

|     James Kon     |

KITTED out mostly in cool red blazers, a group of over 20 Vespa owners gathered on a sunny morning yesterday at the McDonald’s Drive-Thru at Jerudong Park Playground for the Cruise With Vespa 2018 ride organised by Grand Motors Sdn Bhd – the exclusive distributor of Vespa scooters in Brunei Darussalam.

The fun ride was held in collaboration with McDonald’s Brunei to celebrate Vespa’s first year anniversary in the country and to foster closer ties between the Vespa owners and Grand Motors.

The Vespa riders journeyed from Bandar Seri Begawan to Tutong, and then to Kuala Belait, crossing the Malaysian border to reach Miri, Sarawak, before turning back to Bandar.

Standing out from this scooting crowd was Nor Aini binti Haji Awang, the only woman rider in the convoy.

An avid Vespa rider, Nor was riding on her Primavera for the event, with her husband, her seven-month-old baby and sister tagging along in another vehicle, acting as a support team.

The Vespa riders in a group photo. – BAHYIAH BAKIR

“I have not been riding since I got pregnant, and today is my first ride since. It was a very good restart for me thanks to the support from my husband and sister as well as Grand Motors,” she said.

Recalling her passion for riding, she added, “Growing up in a family of riders, we were exposed to riding and motorcycles. My parents rode motorcycles while I was growing up, so did my sister. I also met my husband through riding. When I am riding, I feel at peace and free, and I have full control.”

Adding the Vespa to her collection of bikes, she said, “Vespa to me is charming and cool. It’s nice to add the scooter to my family of Harleys and sport bikes.”

As for her advice for women who are thinking of riding, she says, “Just do it, follow what your hearts’ desire. But do it by learning properly and getting a licence. Don’t let other people’s wrong perception of female riders stop you from riding, enjoy it.” Meanwhile, Haji Soslan bin Haji Nanning, who bought his Vespa three months ago, said that this is the first time he was joining the Grand Motors event.

“I hope such events can be organised more frequently to get Vespa owners together on a more consistent basis,” he said.

“To gather more participants for the events, I hope that Vintage Vespa owners will be included in the future.”

Haji Soslan said that he was first exposed to Vespa scooters when he was a child, after his uncle gave him a ride on a Vespa.

“Since then all I ever wanted was to get a Vespa,” he enthused. “I feel that the Vespa is a very convenient and great bike to get around in Brunei. I use my Vespa to get to work every day.”

To its devotees, the Italian icon is much more than just a vehicle for commuting; it is desired as much for its charm, style and high-quality feel, and is synonymous with the bold and confident disposition of Italy.

The much-loved bike has not only withstood the test of time with its rich heritage, but has continued to win an increasing loyal following even in this modern day and age.