TOPSHAM, Maine — Motorcycle rallies are not hard to find in Maine.
But scooter rallies?
There are none, said Jessica Sherlock of Topsham. So she and Keith Biedrzycki, a fellow avid scooterist from Topsham, decided to organize one.
Sherlock said Biedrzycki’s father, nicknamed “Ski,” also of Topsham, often joked with his son about organizing a scooter rally.
But when Biedrzycki mentioned it to Sherlock recently, “she took it by the bars,” and made it happen.
This weekend’s first-ever Maine scooter rally features Ski’s Shrimp Run on Saturday: Scooters of all size and make, and their owners, are welcome to meet in the Sea Dog parking lot, 1 Main St., Topsham, at 10 a.m. They will leave at noon for a 16-mile tour along Route 24 to Richmond.
The rally point is The Old Goat pub, where the Richmond Days festival will be under way.
Sherlock said a blue two-tone scooter will be on loan to the Richmond Police Department for the day.
Richmond Police Chief Scott MacMaster said the scooter will be used in the department’s patrols in recognition of the rally, and will be featured in the Richmond Days parade, which starts at 10 a.m. Saturday.
MacMaster said the scooters will park in front of The Old Goat at 33 Main St., and there will be a designated area for the best-in-show scooters.
This is the first year of what will be an annual, free event, Sherlock said.
Planning for it began in January.
Biedrzycki and his brother have been working on and riding scooters for about 20 years, he said, and both his brothers will be riding Saturday.
He and Sherlock said they had expected they could get about 20 people to ride, including friends and family and some additional scooterists they don’t yet know.
Sherlock said this week the two have heard from about 100 people and received 75 confirmations on Facebook. Others they expect will not confirm and will just show up.
They got word the Halifax Scooter Council from Nova Scotia is Maine-bound and will take two ferry barges to get here via scooter.
Other scooters are coming from Boston, Vermont, New Jersey and all over New England.
There is no registration fee and all scooters are welcome to meet up at the Sea Dog parking lot and join in the rally, but no motorcycles will be included.
Not part of any scooter club, and there are clubs nearby, Sherlock said this organizing duo is not discriminating; any scooter can join. Clubs will often organize rallies around a certain brand of scooter, such as Vespa or Lambretta.
“We welcome all makes and models, we don’t care,” Sherlock said. “There’s nothing snobby about our rally.”
According to Biedrzycki, scooters range in top speeds from 30 to 35 mph to 50 to 60 mph.
He’s often “scooted” solo because there haven’t been many other scooters to ride with, but in the last five years he believes that has changed, as commuters look for more fuel-efficient modes of transportation amid soaring fuel costs.
Sherlock said she believes scooters, which were popular in the 1960s, are making a comeback.
Her scooter goes about 45 mph, though on many roads she won’t get above 35. They are not speed-demon machines, she said.
“It’s about the pleasure of riding rather than getting there quickly.”
She thinks they are a very attractive vehicles in their style and shape.
When she sees one, “I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s gorgeous.’” They are different than motorcycles in that all the mechanical parts are completely enclosed and unlike a motorcycle, you can wear a dress or three-piece suit on one without having to worry about smudges of grease if you rub up against the chain.
She doesn’t take her Honda Metropolitan on roads where she can’t do the speed limit.
In Maine, “people are usually really, really polite,” and her scooter triggers more curiosity than frustration.
Every time she stops for gas or ice cream, she gets questions about how fast the scooter goes and what the gas mileage is (more than 100 miles to the gallon).
They are surprised to learn she bought it for only $1,000, too.
“People respond very well to them, just because they are so adorable,” she said.
The scooterists, many who are coming from out of state, will be camping this weekend at Thomas Point Beach in Brunswick.
Sponsors of the event include The Old Goat in Richmond, Tri-Sports in Topsham, Mainely Scooters in Boothbay Harbor and Cumberland Motorcycle, Biedrzycki said.