Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mods vs. Rockers event snorts and roars

Two Royal Enfield motorcycles humbly joined the pack of BSAs, Nortons, Triumphs and at least one Velocette at the Mods vs. Rockers event Saturday in Fort Lauderdale. Not humble at all were the snorting packs of Vespas and even a vintage Allstate (a Vespa model once sold by Sears Roebuck).

In fact, for unmitigated noise level, I think the vintage scooters won easily. The newer scooters along on the ride were whisper silent, of course.

As bikers meetings go, this one certainly attracted a wide range of machines. The event, under weather that ranged from British style drizzle to Fort Lauderdale sunshine, was sponsored by Yacht Productions, Inc. and

It started from Varsity Cycle at U.S. 1 and Northeast 26th Street. One vintage motorcycle made it all the way to the other side of U.S. 1 before breaking down.
I counted 59 machines at the lunch stop at the Dania Beach Grill. Organizers said there were a 100 entries. The day concluded with a showing of the Mods vs. Rockers movie Quadrophenia at Cinema Paradiso, following a judged bike show held on the street in front of the cinema.

The scooters did not hold the big bikes back on the side streets and byways of Fort Lauderdale. The Rockers did make a better show of period dress, I thought.

Michael Woulfe of Boca Raton sported the most appropriate leather jacket. None of the scooterists I saw copied the Swinging London clothing style you see on "real" Mods in the movie. Styles ran closer to the flip flops and t-shirts scooter riders don in our beachside community.

One fellow bravely wore a "kilt."

"What is the protocol for riding a motorcycle wearing a skirt?" I asked.

"The last guy who called this a skirt got killed," he replied.

John Largey of Boca Raton charged up and down on his 1967 Vespa Grand Tourismo, herding riders and directing traffic like a one-man squad of MPs. He dashed to the aid of any scooterists who coasted off to the side, powerless.

Largey's machine has a four-speed manual transmission and a racing crank, and he has done the Tail of the Dragon on a scooter. The most remarkable thing about him is his right ankle, tattooed with a perfectly rendered Vespa and skeleton rider.

His Vespa did break down, luckily in the parking lot of Competition Cycle in Dania Beach, one of the stops on the ride. The easy proximity of parts did him no good, however, and the Vespa went onto a trailer.

Scooterist Andrew Osburn rode all the way down from Winter Haven to take in the event. He rode down inside his new Toyota Prius. His 1980 P125 "rat" Vespa (it's painted flat black) couldn't come because the Prius wasn't scheduled to have a trailer hitch installed until Monday. He still had fun.

Jody Finver of Coconut Grove probably had the cutest (it was plaid) back pack of any scooter passenger, and at one point adopted a seating position with landing gear up that struck me as remarkable.

The other fellow on a Royal Enfield was Charlie Corso, of Fort Lauderdale, on his 2008 Electra. He said he "loves it" and I was interested to hear that because Corso has had many motorcycles. He knew exactly what he could expect from a Royal Enfield — lots of smiles at less than Interstate speed — and gets it, he said.

The original Mods and Rockers famously rioted at British beachside resorts in the early '60s. There was no hint of that Saturday, although one woman on a Kawasaki teasingly wore a black t-shirt emblazoned with "F-(the actual word) your scooter."

"Where else could I wear it?" she laughed. Her belt buckle revealed that she is also a scooter enthusiast.

Who isn't?

Organizers listed major sponsors of the event as Majic 102.7. Dockwalk Magazine, Rick Case Honda, VESPA Varsity Cycle Shop of Fort Lauderdale, Webcast 1, Jim Raycroft Photography, YachtingToday.TV, Wes Scott Cycles Inc., Westrec Marinas, StormLine Marine Supply, Brickell Chiropractic, Advanced Marine Services, Competition Cycle, Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club(VJMC) and Pond Hoppers, Inc. Profits went to Stray Aid and Rescue, a no- kill, not for profit volunteer animal rescue organization with a mission to stop pet overpopulation.


  1. I had been looking forward to a report on this David, and you didn't disappoint! Thanks.

  2. This looks like it was a lot of fun!

  3. Anonymous10/26/2009

    You guys sure know how to throw a party!
    What a fantastic FUN day..


  4. Hey that's me!! Thanks for taking the cool shot of me and backpack on our Aprilia. Such a fun day. We went for a ride to Coolie's Landing and when we came back the whole thing had wrapped up. Who won? Jody (and Simon)

  5. Jody, you can see the results on the web site:


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