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Africa lengthways - alone on a Vespa

2014-05-09 13:45

SUPER SCOOTER TRIP: Michael Strauss from Johannesburg is driving to Italy on his Vespa. Image: YouTube

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa  - Michael Strauss, a financial adviser, is taking on an adventure, a journey from Johannesburg up the length of Africa to Italy on the saddle of his faithful Vespa.

He left his home in Johanesburg on May 1 2014 and headed towards Vryburg in North West Province flanked by fellow Vespa riders from Gauteng.

JOZI TO ITALY

Strauss said: “The whole idea is to not have any set structure for this trip. I want to be free and just see where the trip takes me. It needs to be almost spontaneous.”

VIDEO: Michael Strauss scoots to Italy

The determined Vespa rider has no set route but has a “general idea” of the direction in which he wants to travel and has earmarked certain countries he wants to see along the way.

According to Strauss, the inspiration for this journey came from his love for his Vespa. He bought it thinking he would use it as a second run around vehicle but alas he fell in love the minute he gripped the handlebars – and he’s been riding it everywhere ever since.

"Many people have attempted trans-Africa trips on various types of vehicles so I thought ‘why not do it on a Vespa?’” says Strauss.

HOME TO MAMMA MIA


His goal is to take his Vespa all the way back to its homeland – and to the Vespa Museum in Pontadera.

Vespa SA’s managing director Andy Reid said: “It’s highly possible for Strauss to achieve his goal on a Vespa. The standard of Italian design and craftsmanship ensures these scooters have life spans that extend well into the hundreds of thousands of kilometres.”

Since he has no support car or sponsors Strauss made sure he learned the mechanical workings of his two-wheeler. He spent the last few weeks before his departure with Vespa’s technical adviser Louw du Toit. Minor modifications were made such as extra luggage storage.

Gauteng Vespa riders cheered him on and escorted him up to Engedi conference centre in Kromdraai, about 50km north of Johannesburg.

Strauss says the decision not to make the trip a sponsored one was to ensure his experience remained entirely his own – influenced by nobody.

Reid said: “The mechanical efficiency of the Vespa design ensures highly economical fuel consumption and can save the average commuter R2000 a month in fuel costs over an average sedan covering the same distance.”

Strauss and his Vespa, which he's nicknamed Victoria, expect to take eight months to reach the Vespa Museum.

• Follow Strauss and Victoria’s journey on the Solo Scooterist blog that has been set up to track the adventure.

And if you have dreams of a  long, long, long ride perhaps you'd like to try a short one first, courtesy of your locla Vespa dealer. You'll find one on the Vespa SA website or call 08610 Vespa.
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