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More than 100 scooter riders rally in Santa Rosa

  • The 3rd annual Scooter Rosa, a three-day scooter rally to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters, saw 110 scooters take a meandering 40 mile-plus loop course around Santa Rosa,here in Fountaingrove, starting and finishing in Railroad Square.

Scores of motor scooters lined the Railroad Square train depot Saturday, and one of them belonged to Carol Lexa.

?I had always wanted one and decided I wasn?t getting any younger,? said Lexa, a Santa Rosan who regularly commutes the back roads to her real estate job in Healdsburg. Her Vespa scooter uses less gasoline than a car, and ?it makes me smile every time I ride it.?

Lexa was one of about 110 owners of mostly Italian scooters who took part in the third annual Scooter Rosa rally and ride.

Scooter Rosa

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The three-day event, which ends today, includes two rides through the back roads of Sonoma County. It raised more than $9,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay.

Motor scooters have grown in popularity in recent years as the price of gas cleared $3, and for a time last year, $4 a gallon.

Scooter sales, especially models from Japan, are growing at a time when street motorcycles have seen a slight drop. The Motorcycle Industry Council of Irvine estimates that on-highway motorcycle sales dipped 10 percent between 2006 and 2008. During the same period scooter sales climbed 68 percent.

Sonoma County has 17,000 registered motorcycles and scooters, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles. That compares with more than 300,000 four-wheeled vehicles.

Nonetheless, the number of motorcycles and scooters increased nearly 70 percent between 2000 and 2007. In that same period, the number of cars increased just 6 percent.

?Clearly it?s a trend, not a fad,? said Roy Gattinella, who with his wife Johnna opened their Revolution Moto Vespa dealership more than five years ago.

On Saturday, rally participants drove in formation through Santa Rosa?s downtown and up into the hillside Montecito and Fountaingrove neighborhoods. The long line of scooters then headed north to Larkfield and west to Sebastopol.


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