Feral Vespa Scooters – Ubud, Bali

We heard the first one before we saw it and it sounded kind of somewhere in between a chain saw and a garden whipper-snipper – my first reaction was it was that either it was some kind of joke, or maybe an Indonesian version of the Mad Max movies was being shot nearby…

Feral Vespa scooter in Ubud - customizing Bali-style

Feral Vespa scooter in Ubud – customizing Bali-style

We were in Ubud for our annual Xmas sojourn in Bali, completely unaware that the football field in the center of town was the venue for “A Celebration of Indonesian Scooter Culture”.

Hosted by Bali’s Dewata Scooter Club, more than 2000 Vespas ultimately turned up for the event, but it was the feral scooters and their riders that caught the eye.

Vespa "bikers" in Ubud

Vespa “bikers” in Ubud

Anybody who has spent any time in Indonesia will be well aware of the people’s ability to make the most of what they have.

On my travels through the archipelago I have seen many examples of mechanical contraptions crafted from a variety of parts salvaged from the scrap yard, but the feral Vespa’s are in a class of their own.

Indonesian creativity - Vespa style

The basic theme for the ferals seemed to be create the weirdest form of two & three (or more…) wheeled transport possible, load it with as many “scooterististas” that can squeeze aboard and then ride it from as far away as possible to attend the rally in Ubud.


Have Vespa will travel...

Have Vespa will travel…

Feral Vespa Scooters and their Scooteristas

An Indonesian feral scooteristista appears to be a cross between a hippie, a bikie and a rastafarian.

Indonesian scooteristista - a cross between a hippie, a bikie and a rastafarian

Indonesian scooteristista – a cross between a hippie, a bikie and a rastafarian

Age does not seem to be a barrier as the oldest scooterist I spoke to was 71 year old Rusno who together his mate, 65 year old Kohir, Rusno had ridden their feral Vespas from Balikpapan in Kalimantan!

A distance as the crow flies of 800km, but involving some rough roads in Borneo & crossing the Java Sea by ferry – truly a journey not for the feint at heart…

Long-distance Vespa Scooterista

Long-distance Vespa Scooterista

Wandering round the football field and talking to the scooterististas was an interesting experience, because despite the wild look of the ferals, they all responded to my request to take photographs politely & positively and seemed to relish the attention.


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