Speedy, local electro-commuting

This electric scooter is a fun and practical means of transport for anyone looking for eco-friendly, short-range transport. My 40-minute, 2.5 mile walk to work is now a 15 minute ride. I now get to work without showing up soaked in sweat, like I did riding my bike. And I love avoiding the Seattle public transit system.

The ESR 750 EX has a purported range of 8 miles (12 miles in “econo mode”). With all the hills I have to climb in Seattle, I mostly use it in “turbo mode,” which truncates the range, but it’s actually a more fun ride that way. Set aside the fact it’s taken me up every long, steep hill I’ve attempted. This thing is a blast to drive. It gives one the sensation of flying.

I looked at plenty of scooters out there. You can get an electric scooter for less, $300-$600 maybe, but not one that will take on Seattle-size hills. For longer range, an electric bike or gas powered scooter may be the way to go. But as I only have to go 2.5 miles to work, I was more interested in something that could also be safely brought into my building, where I don’t have to worry about parking and a ‘free,’ full recharge takes three to four hours. The Go-Ped also breaks down and stows away easily.

You can also buy all sorts of add-ons, including a seat, which I did not get. I prefer to stand and, to me, the seat looks a little goofy. Sure you can spend thousands on fancier models, if that seems worth it to you, but at around $800, this Go-Ped is a good middle ground. Another scooter in this range, the Rad2Go Great White, was a close second in my mind, but it’s nearly 100lbs. The Go-Ped is about 60lbs., which seems more practical if I ever have to carry it.

I was concerned that car drivers and pedestrians would view me as an annoyance (I mostly ride on the street, following the same rules as a bike), but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I’m trying not to be an obnoxious driver myself and most people seem to regard it with curiosity and amusement, sometimes outright envy.

I should add one thing: these are not ‘all-weather vehicles’. The electrical throttle on the handlebar for regulating your speed, is particularly vulnerable to damage from water were you to ride in the rain (I’m considering wrapping it in plastic and trying it anyway). Still, it may be more of a spring-summer option if you live in a wet climate. Regardless, the manual advises against riding in inclement weather, citing concerns of visibility and skidding.

-- Bez Palmer 07/24/07

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