How do I join the VCOA Chicago Chapter?
Simply join the VCOA! If you’re in the Chicago area (Illinois’ McHenry, Lake, Cook, DuPage, and Will Counties) you’ll get a VCOA Chicago patch with your membership kit, and shortly after your welcome email, you’ll get an email from the Chicago chapter leader with local info.
Do I specifically need a Vespa motorscooter to join VCOA-Chicago?
While the focus of the international Vespa World Club network is the Vespa motorscooter, VCOA-Chicago welcomes ALL scooters and scooterists to our club and our events. There’s plenty of room for everyone. We celebrate the diversity of our people and machines.
(Note that some events we publicize or co-sponosor have their own rules, but we’ll be clear about any such exceptions in our listings.)
Vespa’s in the name of our club, so we’re gonna lean towards that brand, but there are plenty of other good scooters out there, and if your scooter makes you happy, then let’s ride!
Do i need to be a VCOA member to attend VCOA-Chicago events?
All VCOA-Chicago events to date have been open to the public. We’d love to meet you, and hope that you’ll see value in joining the club. If we do eventually plan a members-only event, we’ll make it clear in the listing.
Do your events cost money?
We generally keep our monthly rides/events free. You may need some cash to pay for a meal, or to pay a cover charge/entrance fee at a destination. We’ll try to be clear about that in the event listings. Some events that we co-sponsor or participate in, such as weekend rallies, might have a registration fee that covers a patch, goodie bag, and food/drink/entertainment… the event description or event webpage will have more details.
How many people can I expect at a VCOA-Chicago event?
Our monthly rides and meetups vary, depending on factors like weather, location, ride distance, and promotion. Sometimes it’s just a few people hanging out in a garage, sometimes it’s 25 or more of us riding around the city or suburbs. Rallies and events we organize with other groups are even bigger. We try to plan diverse events that appeal to everyone in the club, if you don’t see events that appeal to you, please reach out and suggest ideas!
What’s a scooter rally?
A rally is a bigger event, usually a full weekend. It generally involves multiple group rides, evening events at bars or restaurants, often competitions (concours d’elegance, gymkhana, slow-race, etc, with associated awards), maybe a cookout, often live music or DJs or karaoke. They vary in size from a couple dozen people to a couple hundred. Amerivespa, the national VCOA rally, is the biggest in the U.S. and moves to a different city each year, it’s often 250+ scooters. It’s a great ‘first rally’ because it’s open to all and better-organized and more comfortable (accommodations-wise) than most other rallies. Most cities do an annual rally, Slaughterhouse (labor day weekend) is the big one in Chicago, so don’t miss that. Lots of Chicago scooterists travel (usually via trailer) to annual rallies in other midwest towns like Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cincinnati, etc. Some rallies are weekend campouts. There’s a lot of variety, some are just a few friends getting away for a weekend, some are camping, some are vintage-only or for specific marques, some are pretty laid back and some are pretty intense. We try to let you know about rallies in the region you might like, if you’re on the fence about it (or need help with logistics) just ask questions (email us, or ask on our facebook group).
The idea of making new friends through scootering is appealing, but I’m a little nervous. Will I fit in?
Scootering is like any social activity, you’ve just gotta dive in and see if you like it. (That’s a big part of why we welcome non-members to our events).
We’ll be honest, like anything, scootering can seem a bit clique-y at first. It has a long history worldwide, and its own subculture. There’s jargon, music, lore, technical knowledge, even fashion associated with scooters. On top of that, you’ve gotta keep in mind that a lot of us have been friends for decades, and our inertia is to gravitate towards our old friends. Some scooterists (and some rallies/events) focus only on a specific brand or type of scooter.
But none of that should get in the way of your fun. VCOA-Chicago welcomes EVERYBODY, we’ve got teens, retirees, jocks, gearheads, geeks, veterans, mods, punks, burnouts, party animals, and wallflowers. Any spectrum you can name, we’ve got the full range of it. It’s our goal to make scootering more diverse and welcoming.
BE YOURSELF and don’t feel like you need to jump through hoops to “fit in.” You’ll be fine. You’ll find others with common interests. GET INVOLVED. Don’t sit in a corner and wonder why no one’s talking to you. Introduce yourself. Ask questions, offer help, buy someone a drink, fill up someone’s tank (it’s cheap, even with today’s gas prices). If you’re not feeling welcome, please (politely) speak up and offer suggestions. Just like you, we all have social anxiety and sometimes we do our thing, and take the path of least resistance, but hopefully we’re all open-minded enough to accept new ideas and meet new people and make everyone feel welcome.