Monkey, Frog and the Scooter

I really enjoyed creating Monkey and Frog riding on a Vespa Scooter with a side car, when I was finished I thought it would make a cute children’s book.  Perhaps, in the future The Adventures of Monkey and Frog will become a book project, I think it could evolve into a fun kids bedtime story.

In the meantime, it’s available on t-shirts, coffee mugs, mouse pads, scooter stickers, aprons, postcards, greetings cards and many more fun gift items.  Just click on the links and browse the store for all the items available, I think you’ll be surprised.


Here’s a greeting card with Monkey and Frog and their wild ride on the scooter, a great matching greeting card to go along with the t-shirt above or a gift you choose in the store.  Oh, did I ever mention, all our products are easily customized with text?  Yup, you just go to the product detail page in our store and click on the “Customize It” button to open up full feature options for personalizing your cards and gifts … it’s neat and it’s easy.

Let me know about my idea of a kid’s book about Monkey, Frog and Scooters.  I’d  like to know everyone’s ideas.

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Scooter Legend Since 1946

Scooter Legend Since 1946,  Red Stylized Vespa Scooter on Black Men’t T-shirt,  Commemorating the year Vespa style scooters were invented and first offered for sale in Italy.  No one at the time suspected this scooter design would become a fixture of pop culture since the 1960s.  This Stylized design is available in five colors including red, blue, yellow, purple and gold.
A great sticker for your scooter, helmet or even your laptop.  Scooter Legend Since 1946, a stylized red Vespa Scooter with white outline on a black background.  Scooter sticker is available in many sizes.  This Scooter Design is also available on dozens of gift items for those who love getting a classic vintage scooter gift.

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Sushi Scooter Hats and T-shirts


Fun and exotic Thailand Sushi Scooter Delivery Service hat and t-shirt, bright red and white with silver accents.  Fantastic Sumo driving a Vespa style scooter to deliver delicious Thai Foods to your home.  Trucker hat is available in many colors, you can also add custom text to personalize your design.



Check out this Scooter Shirt in our Zazzle Store, shirts are offered in many Makes, Styles, Colors. We also offer many different Vespsa Scooter Style designs available on shirts, hats, aprons, magnets, mouse pads, buttons, postcards, greeting cards and of course stickers.

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Chill Shop – Classic Vespa Scooter – Last Seen in Bangkok 2003

Vespa Scooter , Bangkok

I was going through some photo cd’s of a trip to Thailand I took in 2003.  I was so surprised to find a group of photos I took on a visit to JJ Market in Bangkok (JJ Market is the farong name, english name). By habit we always cruise through the parking lot when we go to JJ to see any unique classic scooters. Well, on this day we were rewarded  and happy to see Chill Shop!  I’m guessing it is about a 1963 Vespa 150, it had new paint, was re-chromed, re-upholstered seat, it’s a sweet scooter.  In fact, it was the best scooter at JJ that fine day in 2003.  I have often wondered what happened to this scooter, on each trip to Thailand I have kept my eyes peeled for another sighting.  If any of you all out there in Internet land have a sighting be sure to let us know.




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Vespa IS Celebrating 70th Birthday – Music Food and Scooters at Bristol Rally

Get ready to sing Happy Birthday to your Vespa Scooter and mark your calendar for July 15 to 17, it’s Vespa’s 70th birthday.  For any newbies out there in scooter land, the first Vespa was produced in 1946, shortly after the end of WWII in war torn Italy.  Well, enough for the history lesson, let get down to brass tacks and this scooter party.  The city of Bristol, England is hosting a big bash with a scooter rally, music, food and a dealers village.  So I’m sure this will be a great place to swap scootering stories and gaze at custom and classic scooters.   For more details … 



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Actor Tom Hanks Seen Scooting Around LA on a Vespa

Hollywood actor Tom Hanks, aka Forrest Gump has recently been spotted  motoring around on a snazzy  root beer brown Vespa GT scooter.  This story  about Tom Hanks reminds me of the old days, the sixties, when leading men such as Cary Grant and John Wayne and pinup girl Angie Dickinson would ride around movie lots on Vespa Scooters.  For more details on this story.



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“Connected” Vespa Style Electric Scooters To Hit Streets Soon

“Connected” that’s the new buzz word of a new generation of vehicles and appliances with internet connectivity.  Well, guess what fellow scooter heads, there is a new Vespa style all electric scooter ( GenZe 2.0 made by Mahindra , and produced in Motor City, Detroit I guess )powered by lithium batteries which will be connected to a centralized control and power management center via AT&T’s network.   Supposedly, the connectivity will not allow you to download your favorites tunes, but will monitor power consumption and will provide suggestions for shifting to different power modes.  Well, whoop te doo!  I’ll just put this info into my “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” file cabinet.  For more details on this story.


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Milan Italy Banned Vespa Scooters From The Streets

Vespa Scooters were banned from the Streets of Milan Italy during the Christmas – New Year’s Holiday.  The Lombardy regional government, which Milan is a part, cited an increase of air pollution due to lack of rainfall for the unprecedented action.  For details on this story



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In Jakarta Young and Old Share a Common Bond Vespa Scooters

Vespa Scooter Meets and Scooter Shows a very popular in Jakarta, Indonesia.  It seems young and old alike enjoy getting together to show how proud they are of their classic Vespas.   University students, Scooter Club Members and retired Vespa scooter mechanics are creating a sense of community and enthusiasm in their pursuit of restoring Vespa Scooters to their original and customized conditions.  Often trading repair secrets and …

For more information and to read the full article follow this link … Young, old enthusiasts help classic scooters survive the test of time


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Is a Tuk Tuk Auto Rickshaws Just An Overgrown Scooter?

Tuk Tuk Auto Rickshaw
Tuk Tuk Bangkok, 2003

I’m expecting to get a lot of flack for posting a Tuk Tuk from Thailand in the blog. Scooter purists will say, “Hey, it’s got three wheels, it’s enclosed, its’s bigger and on and on”.  But here me out, when I first got to Thailand about 15 years ago, I thought the same.  My first impression upon riding in a Tuk Tuk … wow, loud, smokey and the driver is bat shit crazy.  Weaving in and out of traffic, sometimes feeling like its on two wheels … it this a Bond Movie?  But on closer inspection I started to notice some similarities.   In appearance the front has that pregnant scooter look, you know it like it’s been stretched about 1 foot on each side.  When I looked at the front I automatically think scooter, the handlebar controlled front wheel, twist grip throttle, it  especially looks like the earlier models of Vespa and Lamberetta.


Piaggio Vespa Apecar
Vespa Apecar

Actually, most of the founding scooter manufactures evolved into designing utility transport vehicle or auto rickshaws from the basis of their scooter designs. As a matter of fact, in 1947, Corradino D’Ascanio, an aircraft designer at Piaggio and inventor of the Vespa, came up with the idea of building a light three-wheeled commercial vehicle to power Italy’s post-war economic reconstruction. The Piaggio Ape followed suit, also known as Apecar, Ape Car or just Ape.



Daihatsu Midget
Daihatsu Midget

Japan exported three-wheelers to Thailand since 1934. Moreover, The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Japan donated about 20,000 used three-wheelers to Southeast Asia. In Japan, three-wheelers went out of use in the latter half of the 1960s.  Auto rickshaws in Southeast Asia started from the knockdown production of the Daihatsu Midget which was introduced in 1957.



An Ape C (1956–1967)
An Ape C (1956–1967)

In Italy, auto rickshaws have been commonly used since the late 1940s, providing a low-cost means of transportation in the post-World-War-II years when the country was short of economic resources. The Piaggio Ape (Tukxi), designed by Vespa creator Corradino D’Ascanio and first manufactured in 1948 by the Italian company Piaggio, though primarily designed for carrying freight has also been widely used as an auto rickshaw. It is still extremely popular throughout the country, being particularly useful in the narrow streets found in the center of many little towns in central and southern Italy. Though it no longer has a key role in transportation, Piaggio Ape is still used as a minitaxi in some areas such as the islands of Ischia and Stromboli (on Stromboli no cars are allowed). It has recently been re-launched as a trendy-ecological means of transportation, or, relying on the role the Ape played in the history of Italian design, as a promotional tool.  Most Apes are produced in India by Piaggio India, and a similar vehicle is manufactured by Bajaj Auto. In India the Ape is most commonly found in the form of an autorickshaw. A relatively small number of Apes are still made in Italy. On October 16, 2013, Piaggio announced that the production of Ape would be completely shut down in Italy and entirely moved to India.


Tuk Tuk Police Vehicle
Tuk Tuk Police Vehicle

In Thailand, the auto rickshaw, is called a tuk-tuk (pronounced “took-took”) or sam-lor (meaning “three-wheeler”), it is a widely used form of urban transport in Bangkok and other Thai cities. The Thai name is onomatopoeic, mimicking the sound of a small (often two-cycle) engine. An equivalent English term would be “putt-putt.” It is particularly popular where traffic congestion is a major problem, such as in Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima. Drivers may also use their tuk-tuks to transport fresh produce around the city in absence of passengers (actually, this is such an understament, drivers of Tuk Tuk will load anything they can fit, stack, tie-down or squeeze into the vehicle, sometimes you can not see what the actual vehicle is it is piled so high).

Bangkok and other cities in Thailand have many tuk-tuks which are a more open variation on the Indian auto rickshaw. There are no meters, and fares are negotiated in advance. Bangkok fares have risen to nearly equal normal taxis due to uninformed foreigners willing to pay the asking price, but leaves passengers more exposed to environmental pollution than taxis. The solid roof is so low that the tuk-tuk is an inapt touring vehicle (if you are a “westerner, you will need to slouch in your seat to be comfortable and have head room). Today few locals take one unless they are burdened with packages or travelling in a big group for short distances.

Row of Tuk-Tuks in Maha Rat St., Bangkok, Thailand.
Tuk-Tuks in Bangkok

Many Thai tuk-tuk manufacturers now produce low-emission vehicles, while old tuk-tuks can be fitted with new engines along with LPG conversions. Newer tuk-tuks also have wet weather side curtains to keep passengers and drivers dry.

Thai auto rickshaw manufacturers are, Monika Motors Ltd., TukTuk (Thailand) Co., Ltd., TukTuk Forwerder Co., Ltd. Bangkok and MMW Tuk-Tuks Co.,Ltd. in Hua Hin. Smaller manufacturers are the Chinnaraje Co., Ltd. in Chiang Mai and Expertise Co., Ltd. in Chonburi which manufactures its models in Komaki, Japan, also.


Xe lam in Vietnam (2006) with the Lambretta mark still visible
Vietnam, Lambretta mark still visible

In Vietnam, auto rickshaws are known locally as xe lam, the vernacular pronunciation of the Lambro from the Lambretta line by Innocenti of Italy, these vehicles were very popular in the 1960s and 1970s, especially the urban centers of South Vietnam. Over time the authorities have moved to limit their use.  Xe lam with 1-wheel forward and 2-aft were designed to carry passengers whereas other variants with 2-forward and 1-aft, used mostly to transport goods are known as Xe ba gác máy. The motorized version of cycle rickshaw is the Xích lô máy is of the same design.


So, as you can see, the Auto Rickshaw, Tuk Tuk, The Ape, three-wheel transports all share an unique and historic story which evolved from scooters, whether it was the Vespa or the early models from Japan.  The history is interesting, but even more interesting is actually riding in a Tuk Tuk or Auto Rickshaw.  My first ride was in an area of Bangkok’s Khao San Road, we wanted to visit the Reclining Buddha which was in the same area.  Unable to hail a Taxi Cab we opted for a short ride in a Tuk Tuk, it was exciting and memorable to say the least.  This was the first Tuk Tuk ride of many to follow over the years and numerous trips to Asia.  I heartily recommend, especially as many countries are evolving into more modern forms of transit, Tuk Tuks may soon pass into history like the Penny Farthling.

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