Fast, fun and oh-so Roman
JUSTIN LEWIS IS DIRECTOR AND CO-WRITER FOR THE INDIAN INK THEATRE COMPANY
You ride a mint condition, mint green Vespa?
I wanted a way to move quickly around Auckland. My Vespa is a 2005 model 200cc Granturissmo. It is heaps of fun to ride, reliable, has room to store stuff and it beats almost everything in the 50m sprint away from the lights. In Auckland it makes so much sense: free parking, cheap gas, and a big smile on my face as I zip through the traffic. I also have a Ford Mondeo wagon for the kids, dog and surfboards. I love driving that too, especially on the twisty road out to Piha.
An Alfa 4C for its incredible style and a totally engaging driving experience.
Who taught you to ride?
My first experience was at age 12 on a camp. Within 10 seconds I had stuck the bike into a fence. I got my own motorbike, a Yamaha 50, at 15 and a friend immediately crashed it for me. I promptly went to a riding school and maybe that’s why I’ve avoided any major crashes.
How different is it riding a scooter from driving?
Unless I can see the whites of a driver’s eyes I assume that people in cars haven’t seen me and I ride accordingly. In all my favourite places — Italy, Indonesia, India — people ride motorbikes with vigour and frequent use of the horn. If you hear me beeping I’m not necessarily swearing at you, I’m probably channelling my inner Roman and letting you know I’m there.
Most memorable road trip?
On our first US tour we drove through the Appalachians to a picturesque town called Roanoke. Our car was a Chevy Suburban, one of those gargantuan SUVs that the Secret Service uses in the movies. It was a great road and the Suburban was a whole lot of fun to drive — endless power, heaps of room and a smooth ride. Perfect for touring on big American roads.
What do you always have on your scooter?
Sunglasses for sunstrike and that neo-Roman look.
Do you have a favourite scooter scene from a film?
I’m sure there are some glamorous Romans on scooters in La Dolce Vita.
What’s a great day trip out of Auckland?
Big Bay, Awhitu Peninsula.
Do you judge people by what they drive?
I judge that people who drive Italian cars have exceptional taste and know a great mechanic.
Would you rather drive and ride in Auckland or take public transport?
Got to take the scooter. My vision for Auckland transport looks like hundreds of motorbikes lined up at the lights instead of cars.
Who else is allowed to ride your Vespa?
No one else does but I love taking my wife on the pillion; especially if she is glammed up and we’re heading into town for a show. I can pretend I’m in a Fellini movie.
Funniest thing that has happened when you’re riding your scooter?
Riding in Indonesia you see people carrying all sorts of things on their motorbikes. I think the best was a table and chairs.
If you could change a road rule?
Make it compulsory for motorists to smile and wave at everybody on two wheels — they’re making space for the cars.
■Indian Ink’s Kiss the Fish tours six centres, and Krishnan’s Dairy visits two centres in June and July. Details at indianink.co.nz