How you get from place to place during a trip can be a major theme of your travels—even the main focus. Some people take hiking trips, others go cycling, and some look to motorcycles to get around. Today we’ll chat with American Steve Mueller, who took his love for vintage Vespa motorcycles and turned it into a business, showing tourists the ins and outs of Ho Chi Minh City, and eventually other areas of Vietnam and Southeast Asia, on the back of vintage Vespa motorbikes.
After a quick hello, as Scott is in Vietnam and Trevor is in Bangkok, the two discuss some of their own experience riding motorbikes around Asia, including Scott, who says: “I’ve been lucky enough to ride on the back of motorbikes and have my own motorcycle pretty much my entire life. There’s no better way to get around in my opinion than atop a steel hog. It’s cliche, but feeling the wind in your face, taking in the smells, hearing the sounds, feeling the temperature, and absorbing all of those things as you make your way from A to B is really rich and fulfilling. I’ve driven all sorts of motorcycles, on all sorts of surfaces, in many different situations, but have somehow never driven a Vespa. I’m intrigued and way overdue for a ride!”
Trevor replies, “I’ve never driven a vespa either. I’ve only driven off-road motorbikes all around Cambodia. And then smaller motorbikes around Phnom Penh and all over Bali. I did drive a bit around Nha Trang but its nothing like HCMC, which is crazy. I’ve recently started exploring Bangkok by motorbike a bit more.”
Scott: I know of a few companies around the region, Nepal and Cambodia come to mind, that use Vespas to take tourists around it looks like a lot of fun and seems to be growing in popularity which is great. While they are larger bikes, the tours I used to run in Nepal saw guests sit on the back of a Royal Enfield motorcycle and spend the day exploring the Kathmandu Valley. The experience added a lot of value and fun to the day and trip. I imagine exploring by Vespa is similar.
Trevor: I actually interviewed our guest today, Steve Mueller, for a podcast years ago. We recorded it at Cafe Zoom on the sidewalk of X and Y road. The reason it never ran was because the noise from the motorbikes drowned us out so often. But I never got out on the roads with Steve,
Scott then Introduces today’s guest: Steve Mueller: “I was lucky enough to first meet our guest, Steve Mueller about six years ago, while hosting some guests on a trip in Ho Chi Minh City. I knew of his legendary Cafe Zoom in Ho Chi Minh City, which has the best street corner to watch thousands of motorcycles zip by from, and was impressed with his business acumen and sense of fun. He’s been in Vietnam a seriously long time, has his hands in a number of interesting projects, and joins us today in HCMC where I am with him. Welcome to the show Steve.”
Q: When and how did you first end up in Vietnam?
Q: How did you end up getting into Vespas?
Q: What makes Vespas special?
Q: At what point did you decide to take your love of Vespas to the next level and turn it into a tour business?
Q: What does touring by Vespa bring to a trip that no other method of transportation can?
Q: How do people travel on your tours? Drive themselves?
Q: Tell us a bit about some of your trips in Vietnam?
Q: We heard you’ve expanding to Cambodia – tell us about that?
Q: I assume touring by Vespa isn’t for everyone? What things should people keep in mind to figure out if this style of travel is for them or not?
Q: What’s involved in learning to drive a Vespa or other small motorcycle? Should you undertake this before coming to SE Asia?
Q: Is motorbiking other countries in the region feasible for casual riders?
Q: Whether people travel with you or someone else, what sorts of things should people look for when booking a motorcycle holiday?
About our guest:
To learn more about Scott & Trevor:
- Follow Scott on Twitter: @scottcoates73
- Trevor’s Blog
- Scott’s Blog
- Groovy Map Seoul
- National Geographic Cambodia
- National Geographic Thailand
- Follow Talk Travel Asia on Twitter
- Follow us on Facebook
- Follow us on Instagram
- Follow us on Vine
- Theme Music by Jamie Ruben