DEFEND YOUR RIDE: Luke At Natty Boh Towers

July 16, 2012 6:20 AM

“This thing is a diamond in the rough. It’s a gem.”

The Ride
The Driver: Luke
Moped in Question: 1979 Garelli SuperSport XL
Spotted at: Natty Boh Tower, 3600 O’Donnell Street, Baltimore, MD 21224
Odometer: 2,164
Moped’s Nickname: Nelly the Garelli


Q: How did you come to buy this moped?

A: I was a senior in college. My roommate and I decided that we wanted a better way to get around the city that wouldn’t waste gas so much. It actually gets 90 miles to the gallon. You fill it up once and you’re good for a month. It’s just a one-gallon tank, so it’s pretty efficient. We were seniors. My friend found this guy online. His name was moped Rob. He was from Hershey, Pennsylvania. We just took an afternoon one day in the fall and we rode up to Hershey. This guy let us ride ’em around his neighborhood. We were like, we have to buy these.

Q: What is your moped’s main use?

A: Short errands. If I have to run to the bank or if I have to run to the grocery store to get things that can fit in a backpack, or the beer store to pick up some Natty Boh. Anything that can fit in a backpack.

Q: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done on this moped? Or maybe you treat it like it’s fragile?

A: Well, no. One time I was riding a road just below I-83. There were two roads, but they’re both going the same way and there’s a median. I ramped my moped right off the median and got like a foot of air and into the other lane and I landed in there and it was so awesome!

Q: Do you wear a helmut when you ride your moped?

A: I don’t. No. My afro is padding in itself. But I need to get a helmut, I do.

Q: Do you have any rules regarding your moped?

A: No, it’s pretty much a free-for-all. Whoever wants to ride it can ride it.

Q: Do you think anything would make you give up the moped?

A: Not really, because the only person who could ever dictate that would be my parents, or maybe a girl in my life.

Q: Also it’s only 30-miles-per-hour joy, so what’s the point?

A: Yeah, I was kind of cleaning it up before I came down here, believe it or not. I was thinking, I want to try to hang on for a while, and give it to my son or something, because it’s cool. It’s vintage. It has a sentimental feel to me.

Q: Is this your absolute dream vehicle?

A: It is. It definitely is. The thing is, people set their hopes high—oh, I need this Ferrari, or this Lamborghini, even Harleys. If you just aim a little lower and you find joy in things that aren’t, in popular culture, said to be so cool, you’ll find that things that aren’t in popular culture are much cooler.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us today?

A: At one point, we had four people riding on Nelly: myself sitting on the gas tank, then we had a girl sandwiched between me and my friend, so she wouldn’t fall off, then my friend sitting on the handlebars. The four of us rode for three miles like that. We were probably going 10 or 15 the whole time, and when he hit hills we’d have to jump off and everyone would run up the hill and then get back on. It was awesome!

Photos and interview by Jenn Ladd

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