Scooters find a new generation

The ultimate Mod machine is back to stay. Nic Cicutti keeps the faith
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The Independent Online
They said it wouldn't last. Scooters, promoted as a fashion accessory a summer ago, were meant to be just a fad, soon to disappear off Britain's streets once a few drops of winter rain began pattering on their riders.

A year on, nothing could be further from the truth. Sales of scooters are up almost 40 per cent compared to 12 months ago.

Pride of place within the scooter revival, however, is held by a machine which actually ceased production in Italy, where it was first made, some 25 years ago - the Lambretta.

Later this month, more than 1,000 Lambretta owners from Britain will be riding to a rally being held in Milan to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their machines coming into production.

Taking part in the 1,800-mile pilgrimage will be many first-generation loyalists who bought their "Lammies" when The Who were still stuttering their way through "My Generation".

They will be joined by younger scooterists from scores of clubs now springing up around the UK, riding models built decades before they were born.

Among those taking part in the rally is Patrick Hood, 28, known to friends as Patch. A classically trained dancer, he gave up a position as principal at the Vienna Festival Ballet to open a business, Scooter Surgery, in South London, just over a year ago.

Patch remembers how he succumbed to the Lambretta: "I was about 12 or 13 years old and I used to hang around with some mates who all had scooters.

"The moment of discovery came when a friend who had a Lammie let me take it out illegally. It was race-tuned and I was pushing it up to 90mph, but to me it felt more like 300mph. The feeling was indescribable: excitement and fear mixed into one. From that moment on, I have always stuck with Lambrettas."

Patch has mixed feelings about the revival: "Obviously, from the point of view of seeing them ridden and enjoyed again, it's brilliant... My worry is that many young people may end up paying over the odds for their Lammies that will give them expensive headaches."

Such thoughts won't mar the mood of thousands of Lammie fans preparing for their trek to Milan. For them, the Sixties Northern Soul slogan still holds true: keep the faith.

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