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” is in the name of our club, so we’re gonna lean towards that brand, but don’t take it personally, there are plenty of other great scooters out there. If your scooter makes you happy, let’s ride!
What sort of events does VCOA organize?
Rather than having a recurring date and place for our events, we try to mix up times dates and locations, both for variety and so people with complicated schedules can attend at least some of our events. We try to organize one event a month. In the temperate months, it’s usually a group ride and/or some sort of outdoor get-together. In the winter, it’s more likely to be a ‘garage night’ (to work on bikes) or a get-together at a restaurant, bar, or coffeeshop.
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. We might do a members-only event eventually, but we’ll make that clear in the event listing.
Do your events cost money?
We generally don’t collect a fee to participate in our events.You’ll probably want to bring some money for gas, food, and drink. Sometimes there’s an admission fee or cover charge at our destination. We’ll 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… again, check the event description or event webpage for 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 how much we promote it. Sometimes it’s just a few people hanging out in a garage, sometimes it’s 25 of us riding around the city or suburbs. Weekend rallies and events we organize with other groups are even bigger (see below). We try to plan diverse events that appeal to everyone in the club, if our events don’t 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 usually involves multiple group rides, 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. Rallies vary in size from a couple dozen people to hundreds. Amerivespa, the national VCOA rally, is the biggest in the U.S. and moves to a different city each year, in 2022 Amerivespa had 400 scooterists. Most cities host an annual rally. Slaughterhouse (Labor Day weekend) is the big one (200 scooterists!) in Chicago, so don’t miss that. Lots of us travel (either ride or trailer our scooters) to rallies in other midwest towns like Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. 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 our region, 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 meeting new scootering friends 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).
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. And of course some events focus on specific types of scooters.
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. You might have some social anxiety, but rest assured we ALL do, and sometimes we do our thing, and take the path of least resistance. But we’re all here to meet new people and we want to make sure everyone feels welcome.