VESPA Road Trip Champagne/Frankreich 2019 by SIP Scootershop

Created by Ralf Jodl at 11:08 on August 27, 2019

Have you ever been to Champagne? It's beautiful there. You can drink champagne until you drop and be shown how the sparkling wine is produced and stored. We'd better skip the details of the exact production process, the second fermentation in the bottle and the "shaking" at this point, because that's not really the point. It's more about the journey, which, as we all know, is the destination. Everyone is free to organise their arrival and departure to the north-eastern province of France as they wish. Despite the mixed weather forecasts, our merry group of travellers decided to make the journey by Vespa. Mind you, without a broom wagon, as is our tradition.

We set off on a Thursday morning. All spruced up and groomed, the highly motivated travelling party, consisting of SIP Scootershop employees, our friend "Alu" from Taiwan (ZELIONI) and our long-standing customer Park from Seoul (Vespa Garage), set off in the direction of Lake Constance. The first stage destination was Überlingen. Tim Große-Braukmann from Vollgas Motoroller welcomed us on an enchanting hill overlooking the tranquil lake with a first-class antipasti buffet and refreshing cold drinks. Grazie Tim, it was nice staying with you. From there we continued towards Freiburg with Thomas from Vespassione as our guide. We meandered through small villages and savoured the delicately spicy country air mixed with a hint of two-stroke odeur. Together with Nico from Schall und Rauch, we combed through the centre of Freiburg and met up with our friends from the Scooter Club de Sud Est. Grand Plaisir. The night was short, the morning unstoppable.

The southern Vosges were waiting and our tour group, which had now grown to seventeen, travelled light-footedly along the Route des Cretes to Nancy. Although, it wasn't that easy at all. Towards the end, it was cold and wet and everyone was delighted when we finally reached the warm car park in the centre of the city. We had a sumptuous dinner and spent the night like princes on a pea in the Grand Hotel De La Reine right on Place Stanislas.

From Nancy, our route took us to Verdun the next day. Even the journey there showed us countless memorials and military cemeteries. The feeling in the pits of our stomachs became duller. The horror that had taken place in this place during the ten months of the First World War between the Germans and the French was hard to comprehend and difficult to put into words. The average life expectancy of a soldier deployed in the Battle of Verdun was just 14 days at the beginning of May 1916. Our joint visit had an incredibly strong symbolism and effect on all participants. How well we are doing today.

Afterwards, we rode like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza against windmills. Never-ending straights and strong headwinds turned our progress into a neck-and-neck tour and our engines into red-hot bulwarks. We were also to survive this Tester without any breakdowns and we rolled reverently over the former Circuit de Reims-Gueux racetrack. As a reward, we were given a very informative champagne tour and tasting at the small Roger Coulon winery.

The morning greets us with tooth loss. One of our gearboxes had broken on a sightseeing tour right in front of Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral. The weakened but still alive vehicle was quickly tied to a plane tree like a calf with a rope (a substitute for a lifting platform) and expertly operated on. 2. And 3 gears and the Input Shaft irreparably broken. Sunday. A Facebook message produced suitable donor organs from the local Vespa Club de Champagne and Alex's 180SS was back on the road a short time later. Bon anniversaire! The reward was another Guidance, this time to one of the largest champagne cellars in the world. Sometimes it just has to be MUMM... We ate in the centre of Reims.

Unfortunately, we had to let our French friends go early in the morning. But not without a big thank you to Jacques for the sensational organisation and the usual kiss and greet. Because nothing works in France without kissing. If there's no kissing or kissing goodbye, something is up, someone is offended or generally unwell. None of these points applied, so there were kisses for everyone and then the motorway towards Metz. We basically pushed the rain in front of us like snowploughs. Whenever we got a few drops, we took a coffee break and gave the bad weather a bit of a head start. Then came the Piston Clamp on Luca's Quattrini M244. Cylinder and Piston were worked on with sandpaper and file until the Engine was running again and brought the rider safely to Strasbourg in the evening. It's incredible how you can get a destroyed Piston back into shape at the side of the road. Top dinner & subsequent pub crawl in beautiful Strasbourg, short night.

Cold as arse over the tarmac through the Black Forest. We had all the clothes on that the sparse laundry bags had to offer, including raincoats, but it was still as cold as a champagne fridge. Even warm thoughts didn't help. A brief revitalisation resulted in an excellent lunch in Sulz. From Memmingen, rain from buckets. Drenched and yet energised by the many unforgettable experiences we had together, all the protagonists were glad to be back home with their loved ones.

Is it brave to jet almost 1800 kilometres through France in 5 days with only a handful of spare parts (some of which were even carelessly forgotten at home) without a broom wagon, on boxes that are over 50 years old? No!

Riding a Vespa brings people together. Beyond religion, nationality, history or age. Of course it takes a bit of luck, but it was still easy to get the necessary spare parts and it's always a good feeling to meet like-minded people.

Summary: A crazy bunch that couldn't have been more colourful. Two punctures, a wrecked gearbox, a stuck piston, heaps of Vino & Champaninger, countless stories and happy children's eyes.

SIP Vespa Road Trip 2019 Hardchampagne
Ralf Jodl
Ralf Jodl

Ralf is managing director and co-founder of SIP Scootershop. He has been riding Vespa since 1990 and even today the working day starts best for him when he rides to the SIP headquarters in Landsberg on his Rally 200. Otherwise he owns a 180 SS, a 160 GS and a VM2 fenderlight Vespa.