Her Story. A series of blog posts telling the stories of 'women who ride' from all corners of the globe. We hope that by sharing these stories we can help encourage other women to build their confidence, learn from others and inspire others.
This month we have a story by Julie Pond, 61 years young, from Melbourne, Australia. Julie is an avid Vespa rider & collector, who founded the 'Vespa Club of Melbourne' back in 2011 and is now the president of 580 members.
We hope you enjoy her story!
Hi, my name is Julie. I am 61 years young, I live with my husband, our cat and a collection of Vespas in Melbourne, Australia.
I was raised on a farm and from a young age I used to jump on my Dad’s Honda 150 and ride around the property helping him out. I have been living in Melbourne since 1981 and that was my only riding experience until 14 years ago.
Travelling to Bali was the inspiration for my husband and I to get our licenses back in 2008. Since then, I have ridden many models of Vespa and some semi auto motorbikes, but those have been mainly in Asian countries.
My first Vespa was a sienna cream 2008 LX150cc but I sold that one in 2012. I currently own a white 2009 GTS300cc, a red 2001 PX200cc and a powder blue 1961 VNB2T with a 177cc kit.
In 2011, after riding around for a few years and meeting lots of other Vespa riders, we decided to form an official and registered Vespa Club, like back in 1957.
I was elected the President of the Vespa Club of Melbourne and to date this club has 580 members. I am very pleased to say that approximately 1/3 are women riders which actually makes our club different to many mostly male dominated 2 wheel groups.
As a Club we are very active, riding being our main focus, but we have monthly breakfast meet ups which are wonderful for members to interact, form new friendships, and get lots of tips. The riding gives members the opportunity to visit places they have never been before. It is very encouraging that our women riders
are enthusiastic and independent and give encouragement to other women we meet, who are curious but haven’t taken that next step to get their licence and their choice of wheels and I think being a female President sets the tone of the Club also.
Riding has become a passion. I have ridden thousands of kms around Victoria, and to NSW, SA and ACT.
After assisting with the formation of State Vespa Clubs and then forming the Vespa Club of Australia in 2018 and being elected the President of this federation, we now get to attend Vespa World Club events.
This has opened up a whole new experience of riding overseas with thousands of Vespiti who attend these events. I am one of only five female Presidents in the Vespa World Club consisting of sixty official clubs.
Along with a handful of other members, I have ridden in Ireland 2018 and Hungary 2019, and just this year Bali and Portugal attending VWC events. Networking with other world club members has been an amazing experience.
Other than riding with the Club, my husband and I have done many long trips both here and overseas including Asia - riding right around Cambodia on semi auto motorbikes, Bali many many times on Honda Vario scooters or the like and then Tuscany Italy on 125cc Vespas plus other countries where we have met up with new friends through the Vespa family.
I love riding, I love the thrill of being on the open road, I love the people we meet just by riding a Vespa, the smiles and waves we receive as we ride through towns and the awe that people express “what you’ve ridden this far on that little thing!”.
While I wear all my protective gear yes, I have also had a few falls and broken a few bones but hell that isn’t going to stop me riding.
We have some big rides coming up soon and I can’t wait.
Now which Vespa will I ride?
“More rides, more smiles” is my favourite moto and thank you for your time. I hope to see you on the road sometime, somewhere.