A Vespa fan visiting Asia

Created by Dietrich Limper at 11:05 on May 9, 2023

Leopold "Poldi" Hamberger has been travelling the globe for several years now. He has been a friend of the CEOs of SIP Scootershop, Ralf and Alex, since his youth and is a passionate Vespa and Lambretta rider. So it's only natural that he acts as a "brand ambassador" for SIP Scootershop on his travels and visits dealers, clubs and manufacturers all over the world. In the meantime, many genuine friendships have developed from this. In spring 2023, he was on the road in Taiwan, Japan and Thailand, from where he brought us exciting stories and photos that also revolve around the scooter scene in the respective countries. The best thing is to let Poldi tell us himself what he experienced there:

Station 1: Tainan, Taiwan

Host: Yuyee Chang aka Alu, Boss of Zelioni Scooter Parts

Background: Zelioni is a manufacturer of accessories for Modern Vespa. Alu has been to Landsberg several times, riding the SIP tours and being a truly entertaining character.

"After a 15-hour flight and a short train ride in the speeding train 'Taiwan High Speed Rail', I was picked up by Alu and it went straight to tasting sweets for which Tainan, located in the south of Taiwan, is famous. Afterwards, we went criss-cross through the city, from one sight to the next. And always a stop to pick up food. We went out to eat up to six times in one day and sweets were always included, until I said at some point that I couldn't stomach so much sweet stuff. Even after we dined at Tainan's top sushi chef, a famous ice cream parlour was visited afterwards. The sushi was excellent, but I didn't eat the ice cream. It's amazing that people almost only eat at street kitchens. There is a specialist for every culinary variant who has a small stand somewhere. For example, one stall had soup with pig's brains as a starter and roasted pig for the main course."

"I also got to see the Zelioni warehouse and offices, of course. Alu has several factories as partners where the parts are made. The designs and drawings come from Alu himself. He acquired the technical know-how as a rider in mountain bike races. Then the parts go out all over the world and for Europe SIP has the exclusive distribution. Attached is his very exclusive and impressive collection of vehicles and accessories. Alu is a real enthusiast, his helmet collection alone speaks for itself. He treats himself to two offices: one to work in and the other to feel comfortable. The man does everything himself and has no employees. He gets up at six and sends out all the mailings himself, which he calls 'his personal workout'."

"Eventually some friends came over, including many a Vespa rider, and we took a tour of the city. Tasting Chinese beer along the way, which was served in style in a soup bowl. On the last evening, we had a barbecue together and, after three nights, a heartfelt farewell on the platform. I'm already looking forward to when Alu will visit us in Landsberg in the summer. For me, however, it was first on to Taipei in the north of the island."

Alu, Poldi and other friends (from left)
Alus helmet collection
Christopher Yang

Station 2: Taipei, Taiwan

Host: Christopher Yang, President of Vespa Club Taiwan

Background: Christopher is one of SIP Scootershop's very early customers and contacts in the Asian region.

"I wanted to spend three days in the capital and Christopher didn't know anything about my visit, because the contact had failed in advance. So I just drove to his shop and the surprise was all the bigger. Christopher deals in scooters, accessories and spare parts. Right around the corner is the nightlife district and we started the evening with an oyster omelette. We talked petrol for a couple of hours and tried other local specialities at various street kitchens. Everything tasted excellent. Unfortunately my flight left for Japan the very next day, so it was a short but very warm visit to the Vespa Club of Taiwan."


Station 3: Kumamoto, Kyūshū, Japan

Host: Croydon Gaskell, Chairman Vespa Club Kumamoto

Background: A native New Zealander, Gaskell has lived in Japan for decades, is married to a Japanese woman and works as a teacher.

"In the meantime, I no longer travelled alone, but with my buddy Stefan, who, however, has nothing to do with Vespas. No matter - Kumamoto is on the southern island of Kyūshū and surrounded by mountains. I had already met Croydon from the local Vespa Club six years ago in Tokyo. The club is relatively small and only has around eight active members, but they are very busy. Unfortunately, we were only able to meet Croydon, because the fear of Corona is still omnipresent in Japan. It's a pity, but it can't be helped."

"Croyden had put together a tight programme for us and the first highlight was 'Sand Onsen'. This involves being wrapped in a kimono and buried alive up to your chin in hot volcanic sand. After ten minutes it gets nice and warm and you are allowed to resurrect. A memorable experience, but very cool as a sauna substitute. As a reward, we went out for a very good meal afterwards. Afterwards we went to the Kamikaze Museum, where I wasn't actually allowed to take photos. So I brought some very exclusive material with me. You can imagine that the exhibits in the museum are extremely interesting. The green tea plantations we went through afterwards were much less martial and in the evening we were invited privately to Croydon for dinner. His wife had cooked superbly."

"The next day was spent visiting the famous Kumamoto Castle. A historic castle that has not only burnt down once. No less impressive was the active volcano Aso, where caution was advised. We spared ourselves a helicopter ride, but instead went to the classic 'onsen' in hot springs. Also lots of steam, but not as dangerous as the volcano. A highlight of the evening was the cosplay department in a large department stores', with products that truly cannot be described. Stefan was particularly interested in the '18 and over' section. That was our visit to the Vespa Club Kumamoto, which was unfortunately somewhat limited due to the pandemic. I thanked Croydon and family so much, said goodbye to Stefan and flew on alone to Bangkok in Thailand."

Croydon (left) and Poldi at Kumamoto Castle
Lome (left) and Poldi
Must have for every screwdriver

Station 4: Bangkok, Thailand

Host: Lome, Boss of AuuVespa

Background: Already known as a great and generous host to various SIP visitors. AuuVespa is FaroBasso's number one point of contact in Thailand and the surrounding South East Asian countries.

"This was my fourth time at the AuuVespa dealer and restorer, so we've known each other for a long time. Lome has a location with AuuVespa that is really exceptional. In Chinatown, right on the waterfront, with a wonderful view. By Asian standards, he has a large shop where he sells accessories and parts, but above all restores classic Vespas (Wideframe, mostly FaroBasso models). He has prominent customers and does first-class work, which I was allowed to watch for a while. After work, we enjoyed the gorgeous scenery, frozen beer and food from Lome's mother, who cooked for us. Gradually, more friends trickled in, one of whom was a photographer and took more than 500 photos. Kig Kog, on the other hand, is one of the best and most well-known screwdrivers in Bangkok and a man called "Benzvespa" was introduced to me as the operator of a fabulous workshop. Much beer was drunk and soon we were a merry band of Vespa friends."

"Late at night I was loaded into a sidecar that was a few sizes too small for me and we jetted through Chinatown at night. Vespas and scooters of all origins are part of the street scene here, along with the obligatory tuk tuks, and our ride was a blast."

"In conclusion, all I can say is that the Vespa connects people around the globe and it is easy to make friends and maintain friendships. I thank all the hosts for their kindness and generosity. This was definitely not my last trip as brand ambassador for SIP Scootershop."

Photo gallery: SIP Scootershop brand ambassadors in Asia

Poldi: SIP Scootershop Markenbotschafter in Asien
Dietrich Limper
Dietrich Limper

Dietrich Limper works as an editor for SIP Scootershop and also writes for local and national publications. When he's not geocaching, he enjoys the amazing antics of Bayer Leverkusen.