July 10, 2009

The Scooter

Yes, I bought a scooter. No, I am not 12 years old. Let me explain.

As I mentioned, I've been having some knee problems lately. Weight-bearing isn't a problem, but bending the knee is. Even riding my bike two short miles to work has been bothering it. The knee kept not getting better and not getting better. It was time to take drastic steps.

I drove to work on Monday. I loathe driving to work. I had to deal with traffic & parking, all while cramped up in a tin can, spewing toxic chemicals into the air. It took the same amount of time as riding my bike. Surely there's another way.

Walking would take around 40 minutes each way, and it doesn't really solve the bending-my-knee dilemma. I checked into taking the bus, but there's not a good way to get there. I would have to go miles out of the way, change buses multiple times, and it would take the better part of an hour.

How could I travel a moderate distance under my own power with minimal bending of my problematic knee? The answer came to me while perusing the Wikipedia page for human powered vehicle: the kick scooter.

Scooty Puff Jr.
The Scooty Puff Jr. (cf. Futurama)

Kick scooters were a fad when I was a kid. This newer type has been popular with kids the past few years, though the kiddy models don't support the weight of a full grown human male. Fortunately, Razor also makes an adult model with a higher load capacity and larger wheels for a smoother ride. I was so desperate for a solution I bought one.

Rob takes the scooter out for a test ride

It arrived on Monday and it took it for a quick test ride around the block, much to Melissa's amusement. At first it was remarkably unstable. The platform is almost exactly the size of my right shoe and balancing is a little tricky. It definitely took some getting used to. I found it to be more stable the lower I adjusted the handle bars.

The "tires" on the 7" wheels do not inflate, they're a solid rubbery-platic material. The ride is not smooth, it's much more jarring than riding a bike. I've learned to seek out smoother sections of pavement and to prefer concrete over asphalt.

Urbana welcomes you

I rode the scooter to and from work and the swimming pool three days this week, putting about 11 miles on it. I assume most of these cheap little scooters don't see that much mileage over their entire lifetime. I wonder how long it will hold up. It takes 20 minutes each way, so it's half the speed of leisurely cycling and twice the speed of walking.

While riding the scooter is somewhat enjoyable, I do get some strange looks. It's not everyday you see a 30 year old man riding a tiny scooter wearing a backpack and helmet. I do not intend this to be a permanent solution. I just need to take a couple weeks to hopefully let my knee heal completely before starting to ride my bike again.


Melissa said...

clever solution... just don't injure your "good" knee while scooting.

for as good as the bus system in CU is supposed to be, i agree... i was really disappointed at the convoluted route you'd have to take just to go a couple miles down the road to work.

Chris Ⓥ said...

Now I've seen everything! Scooter. That's funny. Hope your knee heals quickly. Maybe you can bring it out to the Mahomet trails and "do" the bike path on a Thursday evening with the buffalo.

Anonymous said...

IT's actually a very clever solution!

Martin said...


holy cow! When you drive to work, it must be really bad! (When was the last time you drove - 3 years ago or more?)

I hope that scooter on the asphalt doesn't give your knee too many micro-vibrations. But you can always splurge and buy one with inflatable tires :-)

Aimee said...

"OH COOL! Can I have one for my birthday???"
--E man (so to be 4)

Scott said...

Hope the knee feels better soon! I know it is tough to be on the sidelines. Though you are not on the bike, you've lost no points in the Hardman rankings. Your commitment to driving as little as possible is commendable, but you might find it much harder to sustain once Fig arrives. Good to see you and Melissa out at the race yesterday.

epon said...

My doctors appointment to get the knee checked is the 21st, when's yours ?

Ragfield said...

It was a couple weeks ago :-/

Anonymous said...

Rob, how about a Trikke?

Anonymous said...

you guys probably don't know, but scootering is a freestyle sport, to find out more visist www.theridewire.com or www.scooterresource.com.

if you want a really stable scooter it would be a good idea to buy a TSI 5 inch deck, it is 5 inches wide, and isn't foldable (one peice) you also may want to put a wider crossbar for the handlebars for your comfort.

Anonymous said...

go to inward scooters.com to get a real smooth fast ctrong durable scooter

benscoots13 said...

scootering over the last ten years has evolved from more than just riding around your neighborhood kids amd young adults learned how to do tricks and such off ramps at skateparks and its really fun. while most ass hole skaters and bikers still see the scooter as a little kids toy it is quickly becoming just another action sport

Jake Hershey said...

These days this is what scootering is about:


Anonymous said...

This is not as unusual as you might have first thought. I am in college and part of the Razor Crusaders [http://www.razorcrusaders.com] and we rode ours on a 65 mile trip and my Razor Pro model still works today!

We even had the news chopper follow us on that excursion.

Interesting story!

adult kick scooter said...

I really want to go for riding in the park with my son. Therefore i am looking for an adult kick scooter. Any suggestions?