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Jess Parsons

Jess Parsons

Posted May 6, 2011

Published in Green

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Scooting Past Forty - Leave Your Car at Home

Read More: adult, bicycle, bus, commuter, convenience, environment, example, exercise, fun, Jude Law, kick scooter, kids, micro scooter, public transport, Robbie Williams, scooter, train, transport

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That's forty years, not kilometres or miles.  I know a bicycle can easily do forty, but I've fallen in love with my grown up sized kick scooter.

Scooter.jpg

It's cool, fast, and super green to scoot!  Robbie Williams and Jude Law have one, and so could you.

"The Micro Scooter has been lauded as the way for smart commuters to get about."

How I discovered scooting

My son got his scooter when somebody abandoned one on our property.  He loves it - it's solid and he really gets going on it, especially at a local skate park.  It has an adjustable handle, so both DH and I can also ride it.

It is much more fun to be out with riding kids when I get to ride too, and DS got tired of me borrowing his!  And another mother I know got herself an adult scooter to ride with her young daughter too.

So I went shopping.

Adult scooters

There is a wonderful range of adult and commuter scooters at micro scooters.   They are quite an investment, and I didn't know whether I would use it enough to justify this amount of money.

Instead I found a new scooter for about half the price on New Zealand's TradeMe which would easily support an adult weight and had good recommendations.

It's a very smooth ride and I'm very happy with my purchase.  When it wears out, I might get a micro scooter, since I do enjoy it so much that getting one that I can get replacement parts for will be worth while.

Why scoot?
 

Exercise
A neighbour who is a runner said "That's cheating!" when she saw me on my scooter with DS.  But long distance scooting is a whole body weight bearing workout.

Fun
Really, truly, it is fun to zoom along.  And it means you can join in with your kids - and we all know how much they love that.

Practical Alternative Transport

I like walking, too.  But if I walk three kilometres to the local library and back, that's my whole childfree morning gone.  I love that I can scoot the same 3k in about 20 minutes and avoid using the car and get exercise at the same time. 

I just scooted to the local supermarket about 1k away for a few essential things - in less than half an hour I got some exercise and shopped without kids.  

Convenience

  • A scooter is light and small and mine folds up.  So I can take it in the car and still have room for other things.  When I scoot somewhere, I can then carry it in my hand (no chains or special racks) or put it in a shopping trolley.  And I can push both my scooter and my three year old's scooter if I have to.
  • A scooter is the perfect public transport companion - scoot near or far to the bus stop or train station and carry it on with you.
  • You can ride a scooter on the footpath (I always give way to everybody else because it's the sensible thing to do)
  • When hills are too steep (and almost any hill is), or when it's too busy ahead to be safe, or any danger appears ahead, one step and you're off the scooter and walking.  And back on again just as easily.
  • You can use pedestrian crossings just as easily with this hop off maneuver.  And you should, because it's not a good idea to race oncoming traffic across the road on a scooter when a bump could leave you in the road.


Why not a bike like other grownups?

  1. I'm way out of practice.  The last time I was on a bike, I fell and broke a bone in my foot.  I honestly don't know if I'm bothered by that, but I've never gotten myself back into the habit.
  2. Good bikes are lots more expensive and take more room.
  3. Adults usually have to ride on the road with the traffic, and in Auckland, this scares me!


Tips

  • Use a strong, comfortable backpack so you can carry things when scooting.
  • A scooter with bigger wheels (>120mm) and a low platform is ideal.  The big wheels go faster and more smoothly, and the lower the platform, the less you are reaching down to push.
  • A folding scooter is worthwhile.  The shoulder strap on mine would be great if I were using it to get me between buses.  The kickstand is nice to have to keep your scooter looking nice..
  • Take all the time you need to get used to riding your scooter.  Confidence will come with practice, including learning to use your brake.  When I first rode my scooter, I immediately thought it was too fast, but I've adjusted.

Warnings

  • Wear a helmet if you are riding in risky terrain.  At the moment I am risking riding without a helmet because my routes are suburban and I'm a super conservative rider.
  • Always be alert for dangers ahead!  Assume that your scooter will not ride safely over that curb, fallen branch, or gaping crack in the sidewalk, and slow down enough to hop off or steer around.  Only go faster when you know your route is smooth and well maintained.

Out and about

A lot of people watch me as I go by.  Whereas these may be all the rage in Japan, in suburban Auckland I'm on my own.  Expressions range from curious to frankly admiring, and quite a number are moved to say something positive. 

If my example inspires just one other grownup to give it a try, that's just one more benefit!

Learning from my kids

I'm a big fan of learning from my kids.  And I'm thrilled at past forty to be acquiring this new skill for my brain and body.

But I scoot as cautiously as a little old lady, because I hope someday to be one.

 


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