I moved

After scooting for 2 years, I moved 3.5 miles away from work… with hills.

  • Scooter can’t handle it (I tried)
  • Driving is still for suckers
  • I bought an electric bicycle
  • I’ve used it to commute for 3 weeks.
Gazelle electric bicycle parked in garage with helmet hanging from handlebars

Pros:

  • Smoother ride, very powerful on hills.
  • More respect from cars & pedestrians
  • Faster than driving

Cons:

  • It costs about 8x as much as a scooter.
  • It’s not really possible to weave through sidewalks downtown
  • I have to hang it up at work in the bike-room, and it’s HEAVY.

I’m scooting again!

  • I got another job downtown, parking & traffic stinks.

What’s new?

  • Better tires scooter with non-inflatable rubber tires and a dog

Is that all?

  • Yes.

Is it worth it?

  • Yes.

Explain

The maintenance was awful, so to reduce it, I got semi-hollow hard rubber tires that aren’t inflatable. They were a pain to install… I had to soften them in boiling water, cover them in grease, and use special tools to pry them around… but 3 hours later, my scooter is basically invincible.

And…

They glow in the dark. This actually makes my co-workers nervous, as a scooter at our SF location recently exploded & caused an evacuation, but I’ve assured them that everything’s fine, my scooter is supposed to glow like that.

electric scooter with florescent green tires ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: // 2 months before :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Don’t scoot.

  • I tried it for a year
  • Maintenance is awful
  • Full experiment below

Electric Scooters

  • They look like toys
  • People riding them look like idiots
  • But then I rode one…

Hypothesis

I should sell my car & buy a scooter.

Conclusion

Keep your car. After scooting full-time for a year, I can confidently say that the scooter is great for daily commuting in a city (when it’s not raining), but useless for anything else.

Approach

  • Sold car to friend 1 year ago
  • Ordered scooter online (here)
  • Hacked scooter to increase speed
  • Scooter broke in half, bought another
  • Scooter was stolen, bought another
  • Scooter had flat tire, gave up (wife got new car, I inherited her old one)

Pros

  • Parking. I never had to find a parking spot downtown, I just used bike-racks.
  • Availability. In order to depend on this for a daily commute, I couldn’t rent, because they weren’t consistently there.
  • Convenience – It feels like cheating to just step outside & start scooting – no getting into car, buckling up, circling to exit a garage, etc…
  • Speed - downtown, it’s faster than driving, because you have both sidewalk & road options
  • Reduced Sweat – I live ~1 mile away from work, so I can walk or bike, but then I’m gross all day (especially in the Austin summers)
  • Smooth ride – the inflatable tires are a must-have, the hard-tire scooters are very uncomfortable.
  • Did I mention that it’s incredibly convenient to just keep it at your desk all day? next_to_desk

Cons

  • People assume it’s a rental. As I locked it to bike racks, I got the occasional “hey a**hole, those are for everybody!", and I have to explain how people can sometimes own things in America, if you work hard & save your money.
  • Cars hate you (too slow for the road)
  • Pedestrians hate you (too fast for sidewalks)
  • Cyclists hate you (like we’re somehow not worthy of the bike lane)
  • You can’t carry things easily. I would sometimes carry both my computer-bag and my gym-bag to work, and I could, but it feels ridiculous.
  • Maintenance sucks. Prepare to spend your weekends like this (flat tire): nice looking rubber floor

or this (another flat tire): nice looking rubber floor

or this (I had to boot-cycle it by replugging the battery after the Xiaomi Mi bluetooth-lock-app thing broke).: nice looking rubber floor

Opinions

The real issue with scooters is the novice, first-time riders. I’m talking about the drunk girls in flip-flops who decide to ride 2 people on 1 scooter. The guys who leave their air-pods in and floor it down the crowded sidewalk. You know, the renters. It’s those 99% of scooter-ers that give us 1% a bad name!

The only thing that ever made me feel unsafe was when cars would pass me on the road – especially if there was no bike lane. For that reason, downtown was usually safer than a random 2-lane road in a neighborhood somewhere. Every now and then, cars seem to get really angry at the idea of a scooter on the road, and rather than just treat it like a bicycle (good idea), they’ll roll down the window & yell at you, or intentionally drive really close to you, or (worst of all) give you mean looks 😱.

But, honestly… I get it. These things look ridiculous. nice looking rubber floor