On the Vespa to the North Cape

Created by Dietrich Limper at 11:03 on March 21, 2022

Text and photos: José Antonio Fernández "JAF" López de Ochoa and Javi Zabalza.

For a Vespa 300GTS, a winter trip to the North Cape, on studded tires and at -25°C, may be normal and even easy, but for a Vespa PX200 from the 90s it is a big challenge.

Javi Zabalza with his PX200 and who knows how many km, and JAF Fernández with a 2012 300GTS with 325,000 km, climbed last February to the famous "ball" of the North Cape. It was almost 10,000 km on a round trip of which more than 4,000 km were shot on icy roads. All the inconveniences and breakdowns, always in the middle of nowhere and at extreme temperatures even below -30ºC: falls, punctures, clutches, shock absorbers, cables, ignitions, spark plugs, light bulbs, bearings, exhaust, batteries, etc., could not with the determination, energy and passion that these two vespists demonstrated during the 25-day journey to the northernmost geographical point of the European continent, located more than 500 km above the arctic circle.

They left on February 11 from Pamplona (Spain) to Kiel (Germany) where they took a ferry to Göteborg (Sweden). They took the scooters to Germany in a van, thus avoiding the 2,000 km of highway that serve only to wear out tires on highways and ultimately lose time they did not have.

From day one the PX had problems: first the fuel line came off and emptied the fuel tank on the ferry itself. And already during the first stage, the ignition got wet with the incessant rain and had to be changed in the middle of the road. That day they arrived at night in Nyköping (400 km).

The next day the stage would take them to Sundsvall (450km). The PX again had problems with the spark plug that had to be changed at a gas station. On the other hand, the spikes of the PX, more suitable for use on bicycle tires, were worn out by the asphalt routes of the previous stages and no longer gripped enough. They had to be changed upon arrival at the hotel.

On the other hand, the GTS began to have problems starting (engine failure), and several times a day the control unit had to be reset. This "problem" was a common denominator throughout the trip.

From Sundsvall to Umea (275km) black ice suddenly appeared and caused both Vespists to fall. Later the PX had another crash due to ice and snow accumulation on a section of the road, but fortunately without serious consequences. Already in Umea we looked for a place to buy more and better-quality spikes (Best Grip) so that the grip on the ice was greater.

From Umea to Pitea (225km) already with more studs in our tyres, we started the stage but after a few km the PX punctured its rear wheel because the new studs were too big for its tyre. Javi, once again, demonstrated his good work as a mechanic and his permanent good humor, repairing the puncture in the middle of the road, and removing part of the spikes placed on the tread.

The GTS already in the afternoon, suffered a fall again, although without consequences, due to the great accumulation of snow at the entrance of a small town.

The low sun and icy roads - the way to the North Cape.

Falls, snowdrifts, ice and cold

Javi Zabalza

JAF Fernández

The picture gallery from the trip to the North Cape

Mit der Vespa zum Nordkap
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.