She’s off to the shop again.

Everything has been running perfectly since we finally got the coolant hose debacle sorted out. I’ve taken a few long rides and many not-so-long ones, and was getting really excited about the changing weather and the fun of riding while bundled up. Then on Monday I was riding home from teaching in Clayton when the scoot just suddenly died after I slowed for a stop sign.

Tried to restart, nothing. Not even a sad noise.

I walked her over to the shoulder and did all the basic checks: kill switch, fluid levels, visible electric and line connections. Everything seemed to be in order. The ignition turned the headlight on, but the starter did nothing. Brakes and signals worked. It being Monday, the dealer was closed, so I had no immediate resource for answers or ideas.

I walked home, a little over half a mile away, and packed up my spare spark plug to check and my chain and cover in case I couldn’t get it going. By the time I made it back, about forty minutes later, the starter made some angry noises but did start on the first try. I hopped on and rode a block to the next stoplight where, on braking, the engine promptly died again and refused to restart.

This time I rolled her up onto the sidewalk and got to work. I’ve never checked or changed a spark plug before, but the research I’d done while walking to and fro that day indicated that a spark might be the issue. Supposedly it’s an easy fix.


I got the rubber boot off the spark plug with a little patient effort, but that stupid wrench and I are now enemies for life. How does the wrench that comes with the bike not fit into the itty bitty space in the engine compartment where it can grab the spark plug? I maneuvered the thing every which way and dropped it a half dozen times and could not, for the life of me, get the thing seated around the spark plug so it would catch when I cranked it.

The wind was picking up as I worked, and ominous-looking clouds rolled overhead. I gave up and decided that instead of leaving it on the sidewalk or the side of a road with very little shoulder, I’d just walk it home.

That was one of the longer half-miles I have ever trudged, pushing a bike that weighs 200 lbs more than I do up a slight incline the entire way. I took a lot of breaks. I cursed and gritted my teeth and cursed again, but I made it.

Yesterday I got on the phone to my favorite friend at Moto Europa and explained the situation. He theorized it could have something to do with the battery and the recently changing weather, and reminded me we didn’t know how old the battery even was on this bike. So I took the battery off and hooked it up to the tender – sure enough, the charge reading was under 50%. A few hours later with it reading 100%, I put it back on the bike. The same thing happened as before – it made a bunch of sad noises but the engine did turn over. I left it up on the stand and running while I geared up, and it was making kind of clunky sounds like it was really struggling, Before I could get my helmet fastened, it died.

So I just bid farewell to Lucrezia again, as the guys from Moto Europa loaded her onto the trailer and took her in for a checkup. It could be something as simple as a dead cell in the battery, or that stupid spark I couldn’t reach. Whatever the cause, I’m really hoping this is nothing expensive and doesn’t require more obscure parts shipped from Italy to fix. I have a ride next weekend that’s kind of important, and I’d like to have her back and trust that she’ll make the journey without any issues. GT200s are supposed to be one of the best and most reliable of the large-frame modern Vespas, which is one of the main reasons I was comfortable buying a 10-year old bike instead of a much newer scooter from a different company. But this makes me nervous…