May Day Rally – Top Dead Center Scooter Club

Written by: Joe Barthlow
Photos Credits:
Oakshire line-up” by Joe Barthlow, “Pete’s driveway” by Julie Goodrich, “Gymkhana” by Jeffrey Christensen

Spring traditionally kicks off scooter rally season in the Northwest. Since 1998 the first weekend of May has meant May Day Scooter Rally hosted by Eugene’s all-vintage club, Top Dead Center. Every year leading up to May Day three things come to mind: will anyone show up, will the rally sponsors come through and will we have a dry weekend. I am glad to report success on all fronts! 

Friday night’s meet & greet, hosted at Oakshire Brewery saw over 40 scrooterists from Oregon, Washington, California and Canada. Here scooter riders escaped the lingering Spring wetness for some local brew and wood-fired pizza.

After a brisk night ride through the University of Oregon campus the night concluded at Luckey’s Tavern, a 100 year-old Irish pub.  Luckey’s was host to a night of ‘60s rare soul and vintage reggae spun by The Up Beat and their guests.

Saturday morning brought sunny skies, warm temperatures and a local news crew to the meet-up breakfast at Sonny’s in Springfield. After breakfast and some TV interviews the ride left with over 50 scooterists. The TDC traditional 100-mile jaunt through forest, farms and vineyards included a stop at the legendary Dexter Lake Club and a gymkhana competition at a nice county park nearby. The ride concluded, with only a couple mishaps, at Nice Guy Pete’s house for an amazing BBQ of smoked pork, beef brisket, stuffer burgers, Tofurky dogs and plenty of Oakshire Amber beer. The feast was followed by the traditional May Day raffle, which I believe just about everyone came away with something cool.

While the day showcased everyone’s scooters and riding skills, the evening was about everyone’s singing skills with karaoke at The Spare Room on the west side. Cheap cocktails loosened up crowd to belt out their best.

Returning to a three-day format, rally goers gathered once more for breakfast at The Flying Squirrel for grub and awards. TDC recognized Seattle’s Randy Hicks with the award for Best Lambretta with his ‘63 LI and local Michele Walter for Best Vespa for her ‘70 Vespa 90 small-frame. Michele also received a back-patch as a new member in TDC. TDC also recognized Julie Goodrich for her help with sponsorship. Finally, May Day Scoot concluded with a 100+ mile ride giving riders a chance to earn a special 200-mile patch for the weekend.

Big thanks go out to Corazzo, Cascadia Cycle Paint, Wheel Works, Oakshire Brewing, Atomic Ranch, Piston-Ported, Tofurky, NGK, Speedo King, Excalibur Comics, Aggro Streetwear, Vespa Motorsport, Field Notes, ModScoot, Flying Squirrel Tavern, Jump The Gun, Oak Street Vintage, Lambretta Club USA, Motorcycle Superstore, Meguiar’s for the support of May Day ‘12!

Join TDC for Bend Over Aug. 25-26 and Mods v Rockers Spet 29. Details at

Scooters: ‘I couldn’t even tell you how much gas is a gallon’

By Crystal Price KVAL News Published: May 23, 2012 at 1:07 PM PDT Last Updated: May 23, 2012 at 11:50 PM PDT

EUGENE, Ore. – More than 40 scooterists from the Northwest rolled into Eugene this month to show off their vintage bikes.

"The smell of all the bikes together is very nostalgic," said Michele Walter.

The first scooters were made in Italy after World War II.

Although models changed from year to year, one thing remained constant: fuel economy. Scooterists buy less gas than car drivers to go the same distance.

"To tell you the truth I couldn’t even tell you how much gas is a gallon," said Joe Barthlow of Eugene. "I just roll up and buy a gallon and a half and that gets me for a week and a half or so."

A 2012 Honda Accord gets 23 miles to a gallon, but a scooter gets 50 to 80 miles to a gallon.

Scooterists also put out less for insurance and maintenance, although they do a lot of the work themselves.

The Top Dead Center Scooter Club in Eugene works together to keep their vintage scooters going.

"One of the things that forces us to do our own work is that there’s not local shops supplying parts and service," Barthlow said.

In addition to saving on fuel and maintenance costs, scooterists said they can also get around much faster.

"There’s also the satisfaction of riding a geared scooter," Barthlow said. "All of our scooters all have three or four gears."

It’s a way of life they say brings back feelings of youth, innocence – and freedom.

"It’s not really about the destination," said Julie Goodrich, a scooterist form Portland.  "It’s just the whole experience."

For more information on the Top Dead Center Scooter Club, go to their website at