Autonomous Motion

Kickboard Scooter


Superior urban transportation

Since discovering scooters a few years ago, I seldom walk on my weekly trips into San Francisco. I park my truck and grab the scooter out of the back. It’s about 3 times as fast as walking, it’s good exercise and IT’S FUN! When I go to a popular neighborhood where it’s hard to park, I’ll park about 8 blocks away and scooter in. No sweat! When I arrive at my destination I fold it up.

I recently went to NYC and the first thing I did that evening was to set off from my hotel (at the Mayflower, on the southwest corner of Central park) to the Upper West Side, down Amsterdam and Columbus. I had fun, saw the sights and before I knew it I was up to 101st. A few days later on a deserted Sunday morning I rode from the Mayflower three miles down to the Jacob Javits Center on the Hudson, then scootered back uptown that afternoon.

These days I ride this beautifully designed high-tech-wheel scooter. The two wheels in front give you a lot more stability. It rides over cracks in the pavement where a one-wheeler would dump you. Like other scooters, you depress the rear wheel guard to brake; unlike other scooters, the deck tilts when you turn. The scooter is hinged ingeniously on the front wheel assembly, where the wheels cant in the direction of the turn. Springs on the front axle pull the scooter back to straight-forward direction after a turn. There’s only one wheel in the back because that’s all you need. The joy stick (as opposed to handle bars) takes a bit of getting used to; right hand on knob when right foot is forward on the deck, left hand-likewise.

Riding a scooter is a great way to move around in a city, but you have to be careful! People (and cars!) don’t expect a human body to be coming along that fast, so you have to be constantly monitoring and alert. Any scooterer’s (or cyclist’s) nightmare is a parked car’s door being opened just as you get there. Oh yes, when you ride long distances you will find that the leg on the deck gets tired (it’s holding all your weight), so it pays to get proficient at switching the forward foot every block or so.

-- Lloyd Kahn 08/13/03

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