Vespa Club of Chicago is one of about 45 member clubs of the Vespa Club of America, which is in turn a member of the Vespa World Club, the official hierarchy of Vespa Clubs. Our local chapter is family, the other U.S. clubs are our extended family, and all the other national clubs and their local chapters are our cousins. We’ve been lucky to meet many of these clubs over the years, either at events or when we’ve hosted visitors in Chicago.

Let’s also shout out to the several great (non VWC-affiliated) scooter clubs in Chicago. Over the last few years, organized scootering in Chicago has grown beyond anything in our memory. We share members with these clubs, ride with them often, and co-organize events with them, including Chicago’s long-running Slaughterhouse rally

We’ve been friends for many years with other non-VWC clubs in the Midwest, for instance 30 Days Scooter Gang in St. Louis, the Pittsburgh Vintage Scooter Club, Milwaukee’s Revenge S.C., The XYLs and the Vulcan Scooter Secte from Cincinnati, the Scoot Jockeys in Lake Geneva, WI, Knuckle Draggers S.C. in the Quad Cities, and a half-dozen clubs in Minneapolis. These scooterists all overlap with VCOA and the Lambretta Club U.S.A. Here in the United States, there aren’t enough scooters on the road to get pretentious about manufacturers (cough Lambretta cough), we’ve all got to stick together!

Our Sister Clubs

In late 2023, Vespa Club of Chicago member Greg Clarke suggested forming official relationships with other Vespa Clubs around the world. We all thought that was a great idea, and added it to our long list of Great Ideas. We didn’t follow up on it until the final day of Vespa World Days in April 2024, when we met the Vespa Club of Manila at the Piaggio factory. What exactly “Sister Clubs” means will be dictated by history. But for now, let’s define it as two Vespa Clubs from different parts of the world with a special bond. If we’re making up rules, it seems like a face-to-face meeting is important. There should be a handshake! Maybe a club should only have one sister club in a given country… but maybe that’s too strict? And unfair to countries with fewer member clubs? (Italy has 600+ member clubs, the U.S.A. has 45, and it appears Luxembourg only has its national club.) I love trading patches, but in most cases, I wouldn’t think of wearing another clubs’ patch… but maybe with sister clubs, that’s acceptable? In any case, we’re going to think this over carefully, and talk to a few other clubs we’ve met in the last couple years, and see if they’re interested in a handshake and a promise to support each other while building lifelong friendships.

So, finally, here is a list of our Sister Clubs…

V.C. Manila (Philippines)

Vespa Club Manila and Vespa Club of Chicago

Date of “The Handshake:” April 21, 2024
Club Representatives: Joseph Papa (president, VCM) and Bryan Bedell (president, VCOA-Chi)
Witnesses: Chris and Sam of VCOA-Chi, Illac (and two others?) from VCOP
Location: Piaggio factory parking lot, Pontedera, Italy

After the Piaggio factory tour on the last day of Vespa World Days 2024 Chris, Sam and Bryan were packing up to head back to Florence to return the rental scooters. We’d been trading the last of our stickers with passerby, but all of us were pretty much depleted and trying to get on the road for our long trip home. Just as we were getting our helmets on, a group of scooters bearing Vespa Club Pilipinas banners rolled up. Joepaps introduced himself, and we instantly realized we had common friends both in Chicago and Manila. Bryan found his last banner, cog, and patch — hidden away in his helmet bag for just such an occasion, and with a firm handshake, Vespa Club Manila became our first official sister club. Mabuhay V.C. Manila!