Vespa lovers taking it to extremes

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Every year, Indonesians from teens and grandads to mechanics and students gather in East Java to celebrate their love of the iconic Italian Vespa scooter. For some, it’s an extreme kind of love, where the vehicles are customized to resemble metallic monster bikes straight out of a Hollywood dystopia.

Hundreds of enthusiasts travel to the festival in Kediri to show off their creations, which range from restored vintage Vespas to Mad Max-style tanks fitted with fake machine guns, a dozen extra tires or eerie stuffed toys as hood ornaments. To enter competitions at the festival, every customized vehicle must have a Vespa engine, and most contestants try to retain the brand’s iconic curved front. Other embellishments are up to the owners and their budgets. While many can only afford scrap metal or reused material found at a junkyard, others splash out. 

Peded, a 43-year-old grandfather who has been modifying Vespas since the 1990s, said he likes his scooter to tell a story. 

“I love decorating Vespas to the extreme, but I don’t like using trash,” said Peded, whose Vespa sports massive buffalo horns from the Toraja tribal land on Sulawesi island. 

The three-day festival, now in its third year, is one of several held across the country. Highlights include a contest to pick the best-looking entry and dirt-track races for the speedier bikes.  Reuters

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