When it comes to kick scooters and folding bikes, some people are looking for the utilitarian option, asking for the most affordable vehicle that will get them where they want to go. Others simply must have a set of wheels painted in their favorite color, or equipped with the perfect basket so that their tiny dog can ride shotgun (Dorothy of Oz and NYCeWheels owner Bert are both guilty of the latter). For most of us, it’s fair to say that we want our rides to offer serious usefulness while at the very least not making us look silly. Thus, while most of our customers can’t wait to hop on a brand new KickPed or CityKicker, some hold back. Perhaps it is the exposure to such ultra-cool role models as Hansel from Zoolander that lets our younger clientele embrace the kick scooter without hesitation, but I think many middle-aged and retired folks worry that these devices are somehow unacceptable for them to use. When these customers enter the shop, they take sidelong glances at the scooters hanging on the wall, and I can always tell that they’re itching to give them a try–scooters are awfully fun to ride after all–but they all too often are held up, asking, “Am I too old for a scooter?”
Changing Attitudes About Kick Scooters
In many ways I think this hesitation parallels the attitude held by many in the 1950s and 1960s about bicycles at large. At that time, bikes were frequently seen as a toy for children, not a legitimate means of transportation. Gradually this viewpoint shifted as bike racing became more well known and mainstream. Today, programs like New York’s new bike share initiative provide bicycles as a cheap, convenient method of transportation that people of all ages embrace and use on a daily basis. I think we are currently in a state of similar flux when it comes to people’s attitudes towards adult kick scooters. Every day in New York City I see more people casually pushing their scooters down the block. They come in all stripes, from giggling college students on their way to school, to 30-somethings coming back from yoga class, to suited-up businessmen with their ties whipping in the wind. I have also noticed a steep decline in the number of judgmental glances or crooked eyebrows in these new riders’ wake, as push scooters steadily become a standard mode of transportation in New York. And after all, why not? They make a tremendous amount of sense in such a massive city. For many, traversing New York means enduring a series of hour-long subway rides, or using a combination of trains and buses. I can say from personal experience that when you are already spending two or three hours a day squeezed into a packed subway car, any way to cut your walking time in half is something to appreciate.
Kick Scooters: Go for it!
So to anyone wondering if they can “pull off” riding a kick scooter, I say–go for it. The more the merrier, and the more you ride, the more accepted it will become. Whether you yearn for the lovely CityKicker or the burly KickPed, this is your chance to be a cutting edge trendsetter and have a lot of fun at the same time!
About the Author Miles Schneider is a folding bike and scooter specialist and blogger at NYCeWheels in New York City. He is also an electric violinist, dog enthusiast, and loves eating grapes.