When you are putting yourself out there to face the elements head, on you want to be sure and dress smart. This is a basic guide to all of the essential items* to keep your person safe and protected from the elements and in general.
The List, in order of importance and necessity:
–Helmet: By far the most important accessories when riding your Vespa. These are the two helmets that came with my Vespa, but I prefer the LS2 CRUISER(white) since it offers more protection. It covers the back of the head and upper neck area better than the red helmet and also provides protection for your eyes with the visor. I am not sure what helmet I would buy for myself if these weren’t included in the deal, but I know that having the face visor is really important and useful when driving outside the city. As I am still trying to gain my confidence on Israel roads, I prefer the heavy duty helmet that offers better protection in case of an accident. I see one helmet as being very practical for city driving while the other is better for faster, highway driving. The red one is a VCAN V531 Cruiser and I have yet to wear this out. Be sure to get your helmet properly fit for your head and always wear it when riding your Vespa! It can save your life.
–Leather Jacket: Depending on the season and where you are driving effects the importance of having a good jacket to protect you. As it is winter here in Israel currently, I can usually get by with the leather jacket above and all is fine. I tend to only drive in fair to excellent weather, so something as thin as this jacket does the job. (It is all about the layering underneath that counts!) The jacket you wear needs to be able to keep you protected from the elements and as protection itself in case of accident. I have used this jacket both in the city and on the highway without any problems. I also like that it protects me while I still look cool. All of these items are all very personal choices, so it really depends on what you prefer. Although if you are riding outside of city limits or centers, be aware that the wind you will encounter on the road doesn’t mess around. It is quite a force on its own and having a quality jacket that will prevent air leakage will be a worthwhile investment. You also want to look for something that you can button at your wrists, so that air isn’t allowed to enter there. During the spring and summer months you need to remember that there is nothing protecting your body from the outside elements. If you are worried about the direct sun or bugs/rocks, make sure to find a jacket that offers the protection you desire.
–Substantial, Colourful Scarf: This is just practicable right now because I want to keep as much body heat while riding as I can. The heavier the scarf the more warmth it will provide during your windy rides in the cold. I have also been using my scarfs as a way to gain attention from other drivers since a lot of my clothing tends to be darker colours. You always want to be visible to other drivers and by wearing a brightly coloured scarf, you increase your odds of having them notice you. My Vespa is bright red, so I don’t have to worry too much about people not noticing it… but I want to be on the safe side.
–Leather Gloves: No matter the weather it is likely that you will benefit from having a good pair of gloves to keep your hands warm and protected when driving. I have drove without them in both the city and outside on highways and I don’t really recommend it. If you are just popping out to pick up something from around the corner, you may not need to use them. But most of the time it is just a more comfortable drive with some sort of gloves on. Of course in the winter, you will find yourself unable to move your hands after a ride without gloves for some time. Make sure to wear them!
–Leather Boots: You want to make sure and choose appropriate shoes for any rides you go out on. I mainly stick with my various boots since I don’t own many sneakers (-which aren’t a problem on scooters as they are on motorcycles because of the laces). Even in warmer weather, you need to consider where you are going and if shoes that have open spaces would be the best pair to wear. You can always stick it in the seat case and change shoes when you arrive at your destination. I prefer these boots because they protect most of my leg (-more so when I only wear leggings with certain outfits) while still being able to make a nice fashion statement.
–GOOD Glasses, for Sun Protection and/or Seeing- if needed. I have only been using the sunglasses I have around the house for my drives and they been able to do the job fairly well. I have noticed that when driving towards the sun, I have had problems seeing. I am thinking about buying some better scooter glasses in the future because I know that this will be a distraction for me. Depending upon which helmet you choose to buy, your use of protection glasses will vary. I do suggest always wearing some type of glasses though when driving and more so if you don’t have an eye visor on your helmet.
–Messenger Bag: While carrying a bag isn’t really a necessity, I always go out with this on my shoulder. I simply adore this bag (-mostly because I scored it at a thrift store at the states for under a total 10 USD)! It is very practical also for everything I need to carry with me (-that I don’t put in the seat case), while still being small enough to not worry about during the drive. If you choose to carry a bag, please do so with caution as most bags will not stay balanced and force your attention to it rather than on the road. You want to try and keep a smaller bag that is able to stay well balanced behind you on the seat and that you can forget about when driving. I do not recommend trying to carry a big load- in any bag- while driving your Vespa as this could very easily cause you to drive unfocused. While your Vespa does have a hook for a bag between your legs, don’t try to carry a heavy load that could fall over while you are driving. Also, as a way of being more Green, a good idea is to store a few reusable bags inside your seat case so that when you do go shopping, you can just pull those out and use them instead of using the stores plastic bags.
There is my handy-dandy list of the necessities you need to have and wear on your Vespa outings. And if I haven’t said it enough:
make sure that you keep your person safe and well protected when driving!
(*I choose to use leather products for my protective wear, but there are suitable non-Leather choices also. Just make sure that the product you choose to use will protect you if something unexpected happens to you while riding your Vespa.)