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50cc Scooter Conquers Tallest Bridge In Texas!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Rainbow Bridge, completed in 1938. (Photo: Aren Cambre)

(Location: Rainbow Bridge, Texas. Wind condition: S/E, 10mph)

Today, with help from our good friend Ed “The Scare Bear” riding escort in his Scarabeo 250, I was able to successfully climb the tallest bridge in the Texas Highway System, the 177-ft-tall Rainbow Bridge, which spans between Pt. Arthur and Bridge City. As I approached the bridge, the maximum indicated speed was near 50mph; however, shortly before reaching the peak, the little 50cc Aprilia had slowed down to a crawl, about 25mph.

Veterans Memorial Bridge, completed in 1990. (Photo: Aren Cambre)

The Aprilia SR50 performed much better climbing the 143-ft-tall Veterans Memorial Bridge going the opposite direction, racing to the peak at about 52mph (with a slightly favorable tailwind).

During each of the descents, I had to throttle back, being careful not to exceed 60mph for fear of an engine blow-out. Everything went flawlessly. Thank you Ed for watching my back and helping me conquer my fear. Definitely need a bigger scooter next time!–Lorenzo

The Aprilia SR50 DiTech that did it!

The Rainbow Bridge awaiting your crossing soon

The Rainbow Bridge (eastern elevation)

The Rainbow Bridge (foreground) has a higher vertical clearance than the Veterans Memorial Bridge (background), 177-ft vs. 143-ft. (Source: Wikipedia)

Update (5/2008): The mighty SR50 now resting quietly awaiting an engine rebuild.

*Update (11/14/09):  Well, I have moved up from the Aprilia to a Piaggio MP3 500 since last August; and yesterday, another happy-scootin’ Houstonian also crossed over both bridges.  Maybe you are up to the challenge??–Lorenzo

Brian at the foot of the Rainbow Bridge by Esther's

**Update (12/5/09):  Finally, there’s a video!  It is hoped that by watching this video, you will have some ideas of what it is like to conquer the Tallest Bridge in Texas.  The view comes from the handlebar-mounted camera on my Piaggio MP3 500.

***Update (New Year’s Day, 2010):  Paul & Angela of DeRidder crossed over the Rainbow Bridge in tandem!

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Tuesday, February 12, 2008 4:31 am

    That’s quite a feat! 🙂 If you don’t mind answering, even in a vague sense, what do you weigh? I’m trying to figure out of a 50cc will be enough to get me to work and back or not. (Short commute, little to far from walk, a few short hills, and I’m a decent sized guy of about 250lbs)

  2. Tuesday, February 12, 2008 7:26 pm

    Hi, Mike

    Thanks for the comment. I believe you will find more commuting enjoyment with a 150cc, like the Vespa LX; or a 250cc, such as the Aprilia SportCity, or a Piaggio MP3. The key to a good commuter scooter is its reliability record and its ability to stay ahead, or at least keep up with the traffic. Realistically, it all comes down to your budget and how much you are willing to spend. Ideally, there is a perfect scooter for every price points. Set aside some money that you’re comfortable with, and I will help you with finding a suitable scooter.

    By the way, I weigh about 170-lb and I really think a 50cc scooter is just perfect for the city streets; hills are tough and highway is illegal. Look in our Resource Guide or click HERE for more help in making that all-important decision.

    Please come by our weekend club ride if you’re in our neck of the woods.

    Scoot Happy!!–Lorenzo

  3. Thursday, April 24, 2008 9:08 pm

    Hey thats crazy. I did it on my Home built scooter i made from a gelly engine and “Various other parts” and i went up it at like 31 mph? sure i had to get a shitload of speed but yeah i tryed it! wont do it agine but i tryed it!

  4. Sunday, November 16, 2008 1:31 pm

    I made a wrong turn and had to go over the Rainbow Bridge in Bridge City Texas. That was the WORST driving experience I’ve ever had. I had several nightmares that night regarding that bridge. Lucky for me my husband showed me another way to leave Port Arthur without having to go over Miss Rainbow otherwise I would have driven all the way to Houston to get back to Mississippi because I was not going back over it. That bridge demands ultimate respect: so I now call her Queen Rainbow.

    • yvette permalink
      Tuesday, March 8, 2016 9:41 pm

      Yeah same thing here! I had my first panic attack in my life while driving that bridge and it wasnt pretty….what the hell is wrong with you all going on this bridge in frickin scooters!

  5. Sunday, November 16, 2008 2:30 pm

    I agree, Fran. Rainbow Bridge deserves all the respect we can give it whenever we cross over it. Many have died building the bridge and their ghosts are, I hope, resting in peace.

    Lorenzo

  6. Rob permalink
    Thursday, January 1, 2009 10:37 pm

    I was just wondering where you can get the smaller number plate holders from? I have a sr50 2004 lc and want to purchase one like you have. Cheers.

  7. Friday, January 2, 2009 12:17 am

    Hey, Rob

    The smaller frame came stock with my scooter. But there are many online such as this one. Good luck!

    Lorenzo

  8. Wednesday, September 22, 2010 2:09 pm

    Yes, I would like to know where you can get the smaller number plate holders also?

  9. Wednesday, September 22, 2010 9:19 pm

    Check with your local Aprilia dealership. They might be able to order one for you. 🙂

    _Lorenzo

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