Part 1: Stockport to Vespa World Days – Bali by Vespa PX | FEATURE
We love adventures and adventurers at SLUK. We’ve all had our own mini scooter trips in the past but for 99% of Scooterists, nothing comes close to the magnitude of this mammoth journey. Crossing continents in search of a new life.
39-year-old Stockport lad, Andrew Drummond has given up his carpentry business, sold his house and set of on a voyage of discovery. Some would say he’s ill kitted out, ill-prepared and attempting to do the ten-month voyage of discovery on an unsuitable machine. They may be right but you can’t argue with the fact that this lad is giving it his best shot. In true Mancunian fashion, Andrew is raising two fingers to any doubters and doing it his way. That involves mostly wild camping along the way and living on a budget of around £250 per week.
Andrew left Stockport on October the 5th, the day after his house sale was finalised. The first leg of his trip included riding through France and Spain before heading to Portugal, where we met up with him last week. Andrew admits he’s not the best scooter mechanic, he’s learnt everything he knows about fixing a Vespa from the old Scooter Technique videos and he’s willing to bodge the rest. A carpenter by trade, he’s more at home with a hammer and chisel than he is with a socket set and circlip pliers. Even so, he’s already overcome and a few mechanical issues. Most people would set off on a trip like this with a freshly built engine, not Andrew. The scooter was running so that was good enough for him. His old used and abused Pinasco 177 top-end seized in France 1200 miles ago and he’s running on one used piston ring at the minute, although he’s planning to have the engine overhauled when he gets to Italy in February. He’s also had a blowout and a few other minor hiccups along the way.
Andrew has owned the scooter for a few years. It’s a Vespa PX 125 with Pinasco 177 top end, JL exhaust and Pinasco tubeless rims. It’s even running the old standard PX suspension. Other than that, it’s standard. Those shock absorbers are having to cope with lots of weight. Not only has the scooter got all the camping gear, clothing, toiletries, extra fuel and the usual stripped-down touring necessities strapped to it but it also has Andrew’s ‘patented’ lockable metal panniers – complete with metal workbench (and mini vice) plus a full three-drawer tool chest and as many spares as he can carry.
What a let down
Whilst I was with him, Andrew’s rear tyre had gone flat (it had a screw in it) and he had to take most of the luggage off to get to his mini compressor. He also has to take quite a bit of luggage off every time he needs to lift the seat to refuel the scooter. That alone will probably become a huge chore during the course of his trip. Andrew is pretty chilled out though so seems to be taking everything in his stride.
On the road preparation
The first three months of his trip have been a holiday really, seeing friends in France, taking his time through Spain and golfing in Portugal. It’s also been used to check he’s got what he needs and to make sure the scooter rides well under load. He’s also got a list together of the stuff he’s short of, or that can be improved on. For instance, he started off in an open-faced helmet but a few weeks of non-stop rain and cold saw him swapping to a more practical flip front lid.
Andrew will be flying home for a few days just before Christmas to see friends and visit his mum. He’ll also stock up on spares and get some better riding kit (his Henri Lloyd coat – a freebie from his day’s shopfitting in London, is better suited to the ski slopes than on the road). When he flies back he’s hoping to stop off for a week’s snowboarding before starting his trip for real in the New year.
The World Is Yours
Andrew isn’t really involved with the scooter scene as such, he just loves his Vespa. This trip is something he wants to do for himself. Spurred on by Ian Brown’s (and his late father’s) prophetic words “The World Is Yours” he’s setting out to explore it in his own way, on two wheels.
Vespa World Days was something Andrew found out about by chance and thought, “Well I may as well go there then…”
We’ll be following Andrew’s journey with monthly updates from early in the New Year. He’ll be writing exclusive blogs for us. We’ll be paying him for his work but 80% of anything we give him will be going directly to his family’s chosen asbestos charity, in honour of his dad. Andrew’s mum will be choosing which charity it goes to.
Words, photos and video: Iggy
Can you help?
It will help if Andrew has friendly places to sofa surf occasionally, places to stop and repair things, shops or homes where he can have parts sent to along the way. The scootering world is great and our readership covers the globe so we may well be putting appeals out for help.
Sponsor the trip
He’s also going to be needing spares/kit/oil and various consumables. If you’re a business or individual who would like to be part of this journey (he has plenty of space for company stickers on his panniers and scooter) this is the perfect place for product testing.
Any help or sponsorship would be greatly appreciated. You can get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass your details on to him.
Andrew near Lisbon November 2019, packing all but the kitchen sink…
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