I prefer activities like Pilates, hiking, walking, and running—moves that keep both my feet on the ground.  Still, when we were recently in Indianapolis, I was intrigued by the electric scooters escorting people all over the city.

Matt downloaded the scooter app, and we tried to get our first scooter.  It beeped and lit up like it was on, but we couldn’t get it to go so we tried another one.  It said the battery was dead.  A third attempt failed just like the first and we found another with a dead battery.  Frustrated, we realized perhaps part of the problem was us and not the scooters.  We googled how to operate the scooter.  For those that were working, you can’t just get on and press “Go.”  You have to get them started under your own power and then press, “Go.”

Our next challenge would be trying to use one app to ride.  Matt had downloaded the app.  I had not.  So he’d start a scooter up for me.  I’d get going and then he’d start one for himself and mine would stop.  It appears you can’t use one app to ride two scooters at once.

This then forced us to break every rule of scooter riding:

  • You must wear a helmet
  • No riding on sidewalks
  • Both feet on scooter
  • Only one person per scooter

No one in the city was wearing a helmet.  Everyone was on the sidewalks.  It seems like it would be terrifyingly unsafe to ride these in the street.  Because, we couldn’t use one app to ride two, we were forced to break rule four.  Still, the only reason anyone yelled at me was to put both feet on the scooter.  I think they sensed I was tense and a tad wobbly and were trying to offer advice, but two feet did not make my balance better.

The scooters require good balance, and ability to handle at times a bumpy ride, and a quick reaction time to dodge people and ensure you don’t go off curbs or hit larger holes.  When I got off my feet were sore from trying to grip the platform with impossible intensity and my hands were tensed around the handles.

Still, the scooters came in handy, when before my flight, Matt and I did not have time to walk to see a giant graffiti painting of Kurt Vonnegut.  We got up at 6am, found a scooter to share, and made good time early when few cars or pedestrians were there to make me stop and walk along the scooter from fear of crashing.  We got to see a three story Kurt Vonnegut and I made my flight home.

While I’m not sure the scooter trend has worked out all the potential imperfections, I do like the idea of a way of travel that is a cross between motoring and pedestrianing.  The was a little bit of magic in our morning ride that I’m sure would become more mundane with use, but every moment of magic is worthwhile.

Read more

Check out why Maggie likes to hike alone.

Read about the trip that changed how Maggie traveled.

Tips for your next trip up Mt. Kilimanjaro.

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