Is there a cooler two-wheeled ride than a Vespa? Doubtful. Clearly, we’re just like celebrities, because the bold and the beautiful agree – as evidenced in the following gallery.
Google “Celebrity Vespa,” and you’ll find seemingly thousands of pictures of famous people aboard the classic Italian scooters. In an effort to keep our Top 10 within reasonable limits – and to keep you, Gentle Reader, from falling fast asleep – we’ve tried to focus, with few exceptions, strictly on images of celebrities actually riding their Vespas.
Presented for your amusement: The Top 10 Celebrity Vespa Riders. Who did we miss?
10 – Kelly Ripa
Morning TV pepperpot Kelly Ripa has made a career of being perky and cute. Okay, so she’s not riding it herself, preferring to be carted about by hubby Mark Consuelos, but run the aforementioned Google search and you’ll find plenty of photos of attractive women with Vespas, but few with them actually riding Vespas. And, it appears she’s wearing a DOT helmet. So we’re all good with this. And besides, nothing says “perky and cute” like a blonde on a Vespa, husband notwithstanding.
9 – Michael Schumacher
Kids, don’t try this at home! This maneuver should only be attempted by the greatest F1 driver of all time. Clearly Schu doesn’t need to see where he’s going; whether he’s in his red Ferrari or aboard his red Vespa he’s used to people getting out of his way. Note his name clearly stenciled on the front and sides of the scooter; a safety precaution, in case you’re wondering who’s about to run you down.
8 – Liev Schreiber & Naomi Watts
Hollywood (in this case, New York City) power couple Liev “Sabretooth” Schreiber and Naomi “Naomi” Watts are fond of tooling around SoHo on their Vespa. Sightings by locals are common. Here they are on a run to the store, presumably not for the morning-after pill, as Watts is clearly already showing a baby bump. Is it safe a scooter while pregnant? No it’s not; pedestrian or scooterist, being exposed in Manhattan traffic is never, ever safe.
7 – Charlton Heston
“You can take my Vespa when you pry it from under my cold, dead ass.”
6 – J-Lo
Ay-yi-yi. Okay, we may have varied from our self-imposed rule for this shot, too, but damn! – Jenny from the Block looks caliente in this photo shoot. Riding or not, she is definitely upstaging the vintage Vespa she’s straddling. We know of at least two MO staffers who are jealous of that floorboard.
5 – James Gandolfini
Tony Soprano can ride whatever the hell he wants. You got a problem with that?
4 – Mario Batali
Sticking for a moment with the theme of huge guys on tiny scooters, here’s celebrity chef Mario Batali and, presumably, his prep cook, on the hunt for fresh ingredients. We love Mario’s food, and it’s great that the boys are wearing helmets, but come on, Mario – take ten seconds to secure the chinstrap, willya? And what’s this – orange Crocs, even while scootering? The MSF does not approve, sir.
3 – TIE – Hayden Panettiere and Raquel Welch
One pin-up represents the past, the other, the future. Unfortunately for dear Hayden, 21st century stardom is far more fleeting than it was in Raquel’s day (just ask Amanda Bynes), so she’s going to have to work hard to stay at the top of Google’s search engine. Her hit show Nashville is a decent start, though, proving she’s got vocal pipes as well as acting chops. Here, neither bombshell bothers to actually ride their respective Vespa, but both look darned hot posing with them. We give Raquel the nod strictly for nostalgia’s sake (and va-va-voom factor). Who’s your fave?
2 – Hugh Jackman
What is it with X-Men and Vespas? Hugh “Wolverine” Jackman can do it all: singing, dancing. He even tries his hand at the occasional acting gig, starring in such Hollywood blockbusters as this year’s smash Movie 43 with Halle Berry and Kate Winslet. (See it? Relax, no one else did, either.) Here, the star of “Les Miserables” tries hard not to look famous while riding his Vespa, and fails. The critics may be right; perhaps he’s not a very good actor.
1 – Pete Townshend
The man who wrote Quadrophenia and introduced Mods vs. Rockers to the world rides a Vespa, and for that reason he’s at the top of our list. Okay, maybe it has also something to do with the fact he penned rock classics such as Tommy, “Baba O’Riley” and “My Generation” too. The man is a legend, and his songs are a staple of biker (and scooter) culture, so Pete Townshend comes in at Number One in our Vespa Riders book. Who’s yours?