I first fell in love with Vespas during a trip to Italy in 2008 and made a promise to myself that I would buy one for my 50th Birthday. A red one. I turned 50 in March and so in February I started to hunt around for the right Vespa. I knew nothing about scooters and didn’t really need to. As long as it was a red Vespa, that’s all that mattered.

My friend Daz called to say he’d found the perfect bike for me and because I didn’t have my licence, took it for a test ride. With me on the back. I fell in love with the Vespa and obviously it was written all over my face when I went back to the shop following that first test ride.

My partner Richard and I went back to the shop a couple of weeks later so he could take it for a test ride. After the ride, the sales guy asked “how did the ride go?” to which Richard replied with resignation ‘It’s red.’ The sales guy smiled, knowing the deal was in the bag … Any negotiations on price were bound to fail from that moment on. I haggled for a couple of weeks (playing hard to get) but the sales guys had seen the look in my eyes. And so I bought the bike at the original asking price. Richard rode it out of the shop with me on the back, smiling like a teenager.

I christened my Vespa Fabio (after Fabio Lanzoni of course).

I got my L plates the following week and spent many fabulous afternoons and weekend riding around the streets of Newcastle and further afield.

Smiling the whole time