Considering the macho look, power, trend or mileage, every auto enthusiast wants to own a motorcycle today. This liking further categorizes into sports superbikes, utility bikes, and cruiser bikes.
And then there was and is “Scooter” which is fading away from auto arena. The phase of scooter started way back in 1950-1960s when Vespa, Lambretta and other European brand entered into India – either directly (imported) or through technology tie-ups with Indian companies.
Whereas there are numerous groups in India for vintage bikes but there are very few clubs or groups exclusively for vintage and classic scooters. One of the prominent one of India and the biggest in Northern India is “Capital Scootering Club” aka CSC.
CSC was started by two scooter enthusiasts from Delhi, Amit Singh Bedi and Shubham Sharma, more than 2 years back and now they have strong 1500 + members on Facebook page. The member base is spread across India and some of them are also from other part of the globe who contributes to technical expertise and information exchange. CSC conducts rides in Delhi NCT, helps members in restoration, technical advice, and also spare parts assistance.
- How did your passion for vintage scooters and bikes start?
ASB: I and my elder brother used to enjoy as pillion to our father on his Bajaj Chetak during our school days. Staying in apartment of ex-servicemen with scooters & bikes of that era around you left unforgettable memories. I still remember admiring Vijay Super and Yezdi in our apartment block. Those memories and passion for history and dose of auto enthusiasm made my passion for vintage scooters and bikes. And finally I bought 1 Lambretta in scrap condition in 2010 and restored it and brought the beauty back on road.
SS: My earliest memory of a scooter was to see a photo-portrait of my maternal grandfather with my grandmother. He was a true scooter enthusiast himself. Living with him during my college period, I came to know of interesting stories and legends about his scootering and the trips he made. Eventually, I rescued his Bajaj Cub which was sold in Delhi and got emotionally connected to it. It came in a dilapidated condition and thus began its restoration, and the journey of my scootering.
- Which scooters and bikes do you own?
ASB: Lambretta Li150,Lambretta GP 150 (also known as Vijay Super in India), RajdootRajhans (also known as Runabout), Vespa 150 Italian version, Vespa PL 170, Priya, Yezdi, Jawa, Rajdoot GTS (famously known as Bobby
SS: Vespa T5, Lambretta DL150 (branded as Vijai Deluxe in India), Vespa 150 Super, MSL Priya, Bajaj Cub Electronic, Bajaj Classic SL. I ain’t a bike person, I am a scooter purist.
- How did Capital Scootering Club start?
ASB: Its very interesting story. Shubhamand I happened to meet at a shop in Naiwala, Karol Baghto buy parts for our respective vintage scooters. We talked over scooters and came to know of a shared emotional connect for the dying scootering culture. And thus numbers were exchanged with a promise to meet again and do something to revive long forgotten scooters in the present auto-scenario.
We met over coffee and realized the absence of a systematic club structure in the city and thus decided to form our own to connect with likeminded people who wanted to bring back scooters in mainstream transportation, or at least for Sunday morning rides for the sake of nostalgia. Thankfully, we were not alone and received commendable support from people who are regular members of our club now.
- Do you have any membership restrictions?
ASB: No, anyone can like our Facebook page and become our member. For rides also, we don’t charge any amount. We look for equally enthusiast members and not necessary they should own Vintage scooter. We have so many examples where new members came on bikes or new scooters and after couple of rides, their interest for vintage scooter developed multifold and other members helped them to own vintage beauty. At the same time, we never compromise on decorum of our club rides – that means no rash driving or stunts or any nuisance. That is a strict NO.
SS: Each new member is added to Whatsapp group where he is informed of all the latest events and happenings. This helps him stay in touch with the group. Again, nothing is charged ever. The only condition to ride in our club is to understand the sentiment of scootering, the basics of it. The least requirement is to own a fancy vintage scooter which eventually every new member does after attending a few rallies. Our members come from different walks of life and professions – students to corporate employees, scooter mechanics to commercial pilots, and retired government officers to doctors. We have them all!
- How often do you ride? To which places?
A ride, short or long, is conducted once every quarter of a year. We prefer going to heritage sites in Delhi NCR. It could be old markets like a known spot like Chandni Chowk or a forgotten site like War Memorial. We keep the end point for our breakfast meeting. Even we ensure the restaurant we choose must have some history or theme, for example presence since 1950-60s, Bollywood, Wild west etc.
- What is the agenda for the day of the Ride?
We assemble at centrally located place, start with introduction and mingling, de-briefing of rules and regulations of the ride. Generally we keep ride of 30-35 Kms (start to destination point) and after visit of heritage place we head towards our breakfast point which is always the star attraction. You know, Delhities are big foodies. There we chit-chat, share the latest updates on each new possession or restoration of scooter; people seek technical or part assistance from each other. Also help each other in sourcing of another scooter or spare parts. Now it has become an extended family and its FUN !!!
7. How is scootering different from biking?
ASB: The look of each vintage scooter has a character in itself. Where we had Lambretta which was very macho & show stopper and at the other place, we had Vespa which was curvy, stylish and elegant. And then there were other European beauties having their own class. Scooters were always considered more of a family vehicle as compare to bikes.
SS: Scootering has a long history of successful races, long trips, and achievements on challenging terrains which is not often acknowledged. Now imagine driving a 500cc motorcycle with 19 inch tires on snowy and rocky roads of Ladakh. Sounds spine chilling, right? Now imagine driving on the same road with a 150cc and 10 inch tire scooter. This is insane! It needs great guts and patience. And scooterists have endured always more and yet came out successful.
- What are your future plans for the club?
The prime agenda for the club is to resurrect scooters, revoke memories of scootering in the good old days. We wish to make it even grand with more number of members, trips to the far cities and historical sites, and eventually bring back the essence of scooter-fraternity lost somewhere in the UK of 60s-70s.We are bringing back the Mods, you see, and that too in India.
Contact Numbers: 9810368175 (Amit) and 7503134621 (Shubham)