Sunday January 22 Meeting
5:00 pm, Russell’s BBQ, Elmwood Park, IL
Roughly 10 members and several nonmembers present.
Original Agenda (Bold) and Chapter Leader (Bryan Bedell)’s notes in Black. Notes/discussion from meeting in blue.
Photos courtesy Benjamin Lee
Part I: (Briefly) How we got here, and where we’re going
Very brief background of VCOA
The Vespa was introduced in 1946. Europeans embraced it immediately and formed clubs and social networks around it. The factory got involved in high-profile motorsports and touring. (Sei Giorno, etc)
Long history of scooter clubs in US since 1950s, regional and national clubs, beats, hippies, rural scooterists Vespa abandoned the US in 1985, mostly b/c of emissions, but also very cyclical market. VCOA Founded 1992 by two dealer/enthusiasts Randolph Garner in Texas and Philip McCaleb in Chicago
Vespa returned to USA in 1999, and replaced the FIV with the Vespa World Club a few years later. We’re the official US chapter of the Vespa World Club. There’s a generations-old hierarchy of VWC-National-regional-local clubs and individuals, essentially a network of scooterists around the world, and we’re part of that.
Brief history of VCOA-Chicago
I’ve been riding Vespas since 1995, in and out of other local clubs… started 2strokebuzz zine. Joined VCOA and worked on American Scooterist in early 2000s. Copies of 2strokebuzz and American Scooterist are passed around. Went to occasional Amerivespas. Josh Rogers (used to publish Scoot! Quarterly) became VCOA president several years ago. (is currently on the VWC board, which is a big deal). I started talking to Josh about local chapter in Feb 2019 (4th anniversary next month), VCOA was just starting to develop the chapter program… then I kinda sat on it for a year, aside from making shop rags for SH 2019. We had some stuff planned for Spring 2020 then Covid hit. I started doing the newsletter and hosted a couple rides in September 2020.
Did a few rides and meetups in 2021
Really got going in 2022 with nearly-monthly events and more interest, a few really good group rides, Amazing big group went to AV, best club attendance. Big group to Starved Rock in October. Bryan thanks Jason.
Bryan muses: Should we be “Vespa Club of Chicago”?
VCOA-Chicago current status
about 70 current paid VCOA members, 210 on facebook, 120 on newsletter. Very spread out geographically, makes it hard (more Chicago-area chapters?)
Some of these 70 members are old friends, some i’ve never met or heard from.
I ended up dictator because Josh asked me to help start the chapter, I’m happy to make way for democracy and others, which brings us to the Charter
(The most current draft of our proposed charter can be found here.)
hard copies of proposed charter and VCOA Constitution distributed
Talk about VCOA structure and new constitution (two years in progress, was just finalized the night before meeting.
I would rather charter was very simple statement of purpose, more than a constitution. Don’t wanna get too hung up on rules/structure but we do have a few obligations to VCOA. So read through that, questions welcome but I want to share this online and get everyone’s input there, too, it’ll be an ongoing conversation.
Questions about budget (there is none, should we have local dues eventually?) Bryan agrees to track investments in merch, profits from merch sales, and other expenses and assets to present at next meeting. Group agrees that election process in charter needs revision, generally agreed to change it to annual election when necessary.
Bryan points out that a lot of the VCOA charter was based on the VCB charter, that seemed to be frequently amended as petty squabbles surfaced, Member makes really great suggestion to ‘have fun’ with charter and add fun/weird/inside-joke amendments frequently. Enthusiastic Response. Bryan will figure out a mechanism for this.
Part II: A few quick bullet points
Relationships with other clubs/events/shops
Scooterworks and Motoworks
Ben/Darren/Chicago Vintage Scooterists Darren not present, we all talk shit about him, Ben talks about his plans and new calendar
Jason/Windy City Scooter Society (Jason reports that SCSS is mostly-defunct)
Other regional Vespa Clubs and Revenge SC and such
Scoot Jockeys suggested… Chi chapter is defunct, suggestion is made to coordinate group rides/trans to their events
Slaughterhouse (volunteers, what is our role, sponsorship ideas, insurance/nonprofit? etc) Pointed out that VCOA Nonprofit status is not the nonprofit status that would help out Slaughterhouse much.
other clubs around the country/world… Bryan is going to japan, asks members present to sign legshield banner for VC of Japan. Encourages all to look up Vespa Clubs and make contact when travelling, and to meet up with visiting scooterists in chicago, big part of VC camaraderie!
Trading banners/cogs, making contacts/protocol for visitors to Chicago (a few new swag suggestions thrown around)
Amerivespa 2023 (Flagstaff AZ)
June 1 – June 5 Talk about what it is, why we should go.
Who’s going, transportation ideas Jason volunteers to look into truck!
Suggestion of Chicago Amerivespa comes up, we talk about how it’s really hard to do a good one in a city, but maybe someday
Carole returns ‘traveling vest’, we pass it on to Jen V., must be sure to get it to Flagstaff
Other Rallies and transportation
April 21 – April 23 Midwest Classic 2023 (Cincinnati, vintage-only)
June 22 – June 25 Lambretta Jamboree 2023 (St. Louis)
Sun June 25 Vespa Parade Day 2023 Ben is organizing
September 1 – September 3 Slaughterhouse 29 (Chicago)
St. Louis, Detroit, Indianapolis, Quad Cities Des Moines? Lake Geneva/Scoot Jockeys!
Other Rallies and transportation
Kinda shaky transition but let’s make the best of it, get your info on there and poke around more features to come (directory, shop/resources) Let me know if you don’t have a login and I’ll work with Mark Radlinski
Newsletter, Facebook, better ways? What works? Member 365 instead of Mailchimp? (Mailchimp spam/signup issues)
Members seem happy with current communication, no change to newsletter software
Get the world out (Bryan hands out new postcards to hand out to scooterists and potential scooterists)
-future collateral projects–newsletter or zine? (show 2strokebuzz and American Scooterist?)
VCOA event insurance
(automatic for our events, available for bigger events)
Part III: Upcoming events, both specific and vague
Dates/Plans for next meetup: Anniversary/Feb
Dates/Plans for spring and summer events
regular meetup, even if small? better to shuffle times/days or have it set in stone?
Didn’t talk about this as much as hoped, will clarify in future and seek more feedback
HELLO TOKYO/Mitsua/Hmart?/Chinatown? (shopping/eating)
GARAGE NIGHTS-tech assistance, shared resources (Dream of public space we could use)
SH noob group ride practice (phil?) maybe look at MSF courses and working towards licenses?
Great America (meet Milwaukee?)
restaurants/bars (several members don’t drink) dances/parties/events
smaller camping trip if SH isn’t camping? A few suggestions, various members will look into ideas.
Part IV: How VCOA-Chicago can give you immortality, success, love, and power. Act now!
Leaving out Chapter Leader’s specific notes because it gets kind of emo and specific, but the gist was that the core tenet of the club is that all are welcome and we want everyone to have fun and grow and have a good experience, avoid vintage/modern drama, empower people to do exciting and productive things, etc. members encouraged to find a role in the club, be themselves, let the club know how we can help them reach their goals. Hopefully it was constructive and useful and not condescending/weird, ha.
adjourn to Hala Kahiki, continue conversations.