One of my minor goals in life is to own a Vespa. Maybe not a 1950s model like this, but definitely a retro-inspired version in that light, sea-foam green shade.
My plan is to ride said Vespa around Italy the next time I visit; maybe Dr. Professor and I will return to Cinque Terre and we'd skip the train rides in favour of a scoot around the countryside.
He holding on for dear life in the back, and me, steering away in front, with a vintage scarf wrapped around my head, a la Sophia Loren or Eva Marie Saint...
There was, however, until a summer or two ago, a major flaw in this plan.
You see, I was one of those unfortunate adults who had never learned to ride a bike, let alone a motorized one.
It's a long story that, in a nutshell, amounts to the following: I was once a scardey-cat of a child who owned a tricycle, but was afraid to use it. I often left it outside to gather dust.
The wheels were eventually stolen by the nefarious folks who lived in my neighbourhood - they later returned for the frame - and being po' and all, I never got another bike.
And thus, for the sake of making good on my Vespa plans, I decided to learn how to ride a bloody bike, as a scaredy-cat adult.
After taking a few wobbly turns at biking on Governor's Island, NYC, the Professor and I went off to Amsterdam, the land of the freakishly skilled bikers, to test my mettle.
Amsterdam and its bikers. Oh, the marvellous things they can do on two wheels.
Dutchies can text and bike! Hold umbrellas and bike! And, I swear, I even saw an elderly woman with a cane hooked onto the handlebars, biking through Vondelpark. I swear!
So, what did I do? I promptly jumped onto one of those infamous Dutch fix-gear bikes (where you have to peddle in reverse to break) and I, not knowing all of this reverse-pedaling business, cycle headlong into the very tree I was trying to avoid.
Suffice to say, I can now ride a bike.
Riding a Vespa shouldn't be that hard, right?
NB image courtesy Il Diabolico Coupe on Flickr