Vespa Road Trip "Hardbarcelona" 2017 by SIP Scootershop

Created by Ralf Jodl at 17:11 on November 3, 2017

At the beginning of October at the latest, when the leaves on the trees turn from lush green to yellow-orange, fall off listlessly and turn into annoying foliage, the common two-wheeler rider realises that it's time to mothball his beloved treasure and get it ready for hibernation. You can certainly do this, or you have action-loving mates in France who have nothing better to do than to rattle along with you and 14 other Vespa enthusiasts on the old crates from Marseille to Barcelona. Over a cappuccino in the Siperia, the daring plan was promptly finalised and an email sent to our dear friend Henry, President of the Scooter Club du Sud-Est, and a few weeks later we were already on the plane (Flight 13H05) to Marseilles. The Lufthansan number was too soft for four of our dudes with a higher degree of toughness and so they sacrificed themselves devotedly to carting our darlings from Landsberg to Marseille in a Sprinter with a trailer. Top guys, respect!

Day 1, Wednesday 04 October:

Cheerful smooching at the petrol station outside Marseille airport was the order of the day, because the French love physical contact and exchanging kisses of the same sex as a greeting, whereas a firm handshake would suffice for the aloof Germans.

Large-frame models of various colours took to the starting line. Rally, Sprint, VBA, VBB, SS, GS, T5, PX... All with a similar set-up: PX 200 Engine with 210cc Malossi Sport Cylinder, Long Stroke Crankshaft, SI 24 Carburettor & SIP Road Exhaust. Most on Disc Valve, some on reed valve, then 30cc Carburettor. A small but fine exception was a VBA on 8" with a PX 150 Engine, 177 Pinasco Magny Cours Cylinder, SI 24 Carburettor, 23T Clutch Gear Cog from DRT and a SIP Road Exhaust. Our initial misgivings promptly evaporated, as the little racing bike not only impressed with its powerful trigger, but was also relatively fast in full throttle and therefore always at the front. After parking our SIP Sprinter in the car park of Jean Claude Marino, the president of the Scooter Club Pelissanne, the first ride took us about 140km through the Camargue to the Yellow Village Les Petits Camaruais. Thanks to Jean Claude and James from Mas de LÉspiguette.

Day 2, Thursday 05 October:

Slightly overtired, due to the snoring of various fellow travellers, we headed from Grau du Roi to Montpellier. In the middle of the bustling city, a gate slid open as if by Ali Baba and shortly afterwards we found ourselves in a kind of modern paradise, the residence of our friend Jérôme Villedieu. Merci beaucoup mon Général and an even bigger thank you to his wife Karine and her family, who provided us with the best culinary delights. To be honest I didn't really want to leave this wonderful place straight away, but of course we had to keep going, as various freshly picked oysters were already waiting impatiently to be eaten by us. We were taught the art of oyster farming by the owner of the Earlhuitres-Bouzigues oyster farm and were served plenty of White Wine to accompany the slippery little fellows. I thought it was delicious.

Day 3, Friday 06 October:

On the way to Perpignan (approx. 260km) we had a little battery-debt Aperol Spritz-Brake in Pyrennees Orientales, a picturesque little town with a small harbour and plenty of strolling senior citizens. When we arrived in Perpignan, we first met Arsene for a drink, then the rest of the gang around Eddy the Boss from the Palmarium Scooter Club in Malassi's bar. The guys organised a top BBQ menu including grilled snails and all the bells and whistles in the Scoobidou restaurant especially for us. Hats off to them!

Day 4, Saturday 07 October:

Perpignan - Barcelona, along a crazy winding route, a dream for really every two-wheeler rider. Approx. 285 kilometres with a short pit stop and lunch tapas in Portbou, right on the beach, with our friends from the Palmarium Scooter Club. A rude awakening with an "aha" effect and gaining traction brought us to the Barcelona night camp in the centre of the city. A youth hostel called BCN Sport Hostel. Ten-bed bunk rooms with a cheese foot gusto and noise levels à la Bundesliga. Cheers meal! But a must for every adventure holidaymaker.

Day 5, Sunday 08 October:

Heavily tired, due to the 1A accommodation, we marched through peaceful "Viva Espana " demos across the city towards the beach and rewarded ourselves straight away with plenty of vino karacho and sangria. Changing spots, plenty of tapas and wine, because the "Plate calves" had a break and were allowed to recover from their previous experiences in a guarded car park.

Day 6, Monday 09 October:

From Barcelona back to Valras Plage, about 330 kilometres away, more precisely to the Hotel Abizzia not far from Cap d'Agde. Thanks to the guys from Riquet's Scooter Club for the magical sunset Aperitivo.

Day 7, Tuesday 10 October:

Last ride of this trip, about 200km back to the start, to the Tank at Marseille airport and a cancelled flight 19H20 that was supposed to take us home around early evening. Fully booked hotels and a night on the airport floor made the return journey unforgettable.

Thank you, thank you and thank you again to Monsier le Président, Henry Mouries and his gang from the Scooter Club du Sud-Est for this unforgettable trip. You could hardly wish for more endearing travelling companions. Thanks for everything!

Conclusion: little sleep at night, but intense, eventful hours during the day. It didn't rain, the skins stayed under the Seat, where they could stay forever for all I care. There were no major breakdowns, neither to man nor machine. This ultimately takes the wind out of the sails of any doubters, because it is perfectly feasible to cover distances of around 1600 kilometres on the old mills over a long weekend. Screws have been used here and there, of course, but that's what makes the difference and gives the whole thing that special adventure flavour. After a tour like this, your bum may be sore, but your spirit is more than uplifted. You can't buy something like this for any money in the world. It simply can't be booked through a travel agency. It only works if you stick together and carry a certain amount of madness in your marble ;)


Christian from SIP Scootershop

And here is our SIP TV video from the tour, have fun with it - and feel free to like and share:

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.