I monetize nothing online: This is all volunteerism. This may also be TLCR. I'm an influencer; however, my goal is to influence people to stop being mindless consumerists and buying everything they're told & sold. I'm a proponent of anti-consumerism! I want to influence you to influence yourself; to seek within for original thoughts, and not be a cultural automaton; to master critical thinking and think outside the box: E.g. Car-free, minimalism & simple-living! Earth thanks you!
The 2019 pandemic changed many things for most. Prior to that I used my bicycle and the City Bus to traverse inner city, and Interstate Buses & Amtrak for longer hauls. Driving since 74, I've been volitionally car-free, and thus a bike & bus user, since 2006. By volitionally choosing not to participate in the car culture, I'm one less person driving the demand for more infrastructure, cars, etc. Then in 2020, City Buses postponed service; some Interstate Buses did too.
Since I care for others more than self, I had no problem masking and still went out the entire time; no vanity or political occultism here! I got attached to online shopping and its home delivery (Walmart + & Amazon P), and, I did not want to rely, only on City Buses. So I researched micro-mobile before buying in early 2021. I said NO to accepting sedentary living; I wanted a way to get around that did not involve the seat to seat lifestyle; ergo, a standing e-scooter!
I still ride my reliable pedal bike (been riding all my life); however, as I'm aging, it is now getting increasingly harder on my butt and upper back, and so I cannot do the same range as before. The e-scooter has been a godsend for me and others, extending my range, now up to the range limits of the e-scooter itself; I can stand for long periods. Here's some Ride Videos 🎥
• What To Look For In Buying!
This would depend on the individual and their location on Earth, but there's a few things to consider: Will this replace a car? If not, then it's just a toy; you're a weekender; buy whatever you can afford. If you're moneyed, all of these are cheap. However, if you're using it like I do; as your car, along with PT options, then it needs to be dependable, weather resistant, long range, and safe. There are links throughout for researching these, and because I do get repeat questions, I thought I'd attempt to answer those herein.
If this is your car and you must commute to work with it, think of it like a motorcycle, and most motorcycle riders (esp. in hard winter locales) also have a car, because it sucks going over 30 MPH in a hard rain. Add to that a bitter wind chill and I assume you got the gist of it. With the best riding gloves, hands still get ice cold, and I double glove. But I do ride year round; one just has to monitor weather, pick the good days, or just live close to work if it's impossible to work from home.
It's better to get an e-scooter that has specs greater than your needs (speed & range), and here's why. Battery life is determined by charging cycles; how many times, not (necessarily) how old they are. Therefore, you do not want to have to charge it everyday if you can help it. So, get a unit with great range, even if you ride it infrequently. And get one with good shocks on both wheels, or it will beat you up after an hour!
Get one that goes faster than you're average intended speed (my average speed is 27 MPH). Most units have 3 range settings; slow, medium & fast. Leave it on fast, then, like every other motorized vehicle, only accelerate to the speed you want: It's not peddle to the metal all the time; no one does that on any other vehicle.
Those (currently) 3 settings are not "energy savers" as much as they are speed governors; so, if you go slower in speed, you'll get longer in range. This can be accomplished by controlling your speed with the throttle; same result. Then if you hit heavy car traffic, with no other options, you got the muscle to pace the speed of that traffic.
I'd buy from a shop, rather than just a retailer. I bought my first e-scooter from Amazon. When it broke (because of a catastrophic structural failure 🎥), Segway stalled and it was past Amazon's return cycle. So I was without a scooter for 2 months because of it, and it was still under factory warranty; they finally gave me a full refund.
So, I bought an Emove Cruiser. Having people who stock them by the many hundreds locally, and unboxing them to run a check list for quality control, after it's been on a cargo ship and the shipping network (before/after) for a month; it's worth the extra money. And they have parts warehoused, so no month long wait on them on the literal slow boat from China.
Currently, all e-scooters are made in China (or SE Asia); the largest market for them is still all of SE Asia. But the growing Western market is spurring greater interest in their design. They're still garage toys for most Westerners. They are analogous to what the bikes and the bike trail systems are, in a car centered culture; it's all for entertainment purposes, with the car the main transportation player.
However, as more people rely on them for their main transportation option, the quality and longevity of them will need to increase. Then us full timers will have to contend with the car-cultists (once again) in the bike-space. Currently rated as 3 year devices, if one replaced batteries and controllers -- alongside the parts that wear on all machines like tires and brakes -- one could get more years out of a good one, even on a 300 day annual use cycle.
• Where To Ride!
Riding them safely just requires a bit of common sense, and a fair understanding of the physics (or Law) of motion or inertia and gravity. Since I played outside always as a kid, I learned it, real world style, whereas nowadays learning is mostly virtual or two dimensional (screens). One can witness this fact, and repeatedly, by watching fail factory & army, and others. That's why I prefer those that like Skater Parks 🎥: Go!
I do not ride in severe weather and I always wear a regular bike helmet. I'm in riding gloves and fully dressed for riding, at minimum. If I need to brake suddenly, I squeeze only the back brakes, and also lean back and squat some to shift my weight to that wheel, but also to reduce the tendency to tip over via forward momentum. I also know well, the extreme dangers of cars, so I avoid certain roadways with painted in-street bike lanes, unless car traffic is slow and sparse.
I stick to 30 MPH posted (or less) side roads with or without painted bike lanes, but there are plenty of bike trails, and roads with wide pedestrian ways to ride upon safely. I get everything delivered to my door, so I'm not packing anything riding. And I can still walk, with a grocer 5 blocks away. And there's always rideshares in emergencies! (More pics of the City and my ride at ImgBB).
As I'm getting older, I am thinking of going where winters are less harsh; somewhere at least South of the arctic dip! The problem with winters is not the cold as much as it is the surface riding conditions. I do not even go out now when it's too slick, or there's too much snow, which is always plowed into the painted bike lane or gutter. And the dedicated bike trails are not plowed regularly like streets are.
While researching e-scooters, I read from a page (in 2019, and at a good shop too: fluidfreeride.com) Some e-scooters today can go very far, actually further than you need them to. After all, who needs to travel 60 miles on an electric kick scooter? The Emove from Voro Motors will do that. So some of them can achieve very long distances.
The answer to this likely car dependent person's thinking? There are many people, myself included, that would like to go further than 60 miles in range. But the Cruiser will not go 60 miles in range, as claimed, under the best of settings, and yet it still has a range of about 15 miles more than what the Max achieved. I'm 177# and live in the flat plains of Polk County IA! I regularly make 30 mile round trips; but wouldn't risk 50 miles; not yet anyway.
Still, the only way for anyone, ever, to take any of these e-scooters seriously, beyond being garage toys, is when their range can be substantially increased. And I'm talking a worst case scenario of 100 miles in range; something like 100 to 140 miles range, at 25 MPH average speed, and if not included, have affordable attachable seat options, which I personally do not use because I sit enough at home.
Imagine buying a car (say, circa 2022) that on a full tank of gasoline only has a range of (say) 70 miles before one must get more gas. Yea, that car would not be taken seriously, and few would buy it, except some who might if the price was cheap enough as they'd use it as a local range vehicle: Like, a brand new car for $4000! Read: How to say goodbye to EV range anxiety!
• The Possible Future Of E-Scooters!
What e-scooter designers are currently designing for the western market, is a type of self sabotage; they are so focused on speed for the emotional thrill of it that they're sentencing these devices to the realm of a dangerous toy. With greater speed the following things are 100% going to happen; indeed they are already happening! Read also: As E-Bikes Speed Up, a Policy Dilemma Looms.
Because designers are focusing on making ever faster standing e-scooters, they will eventually be classified as motor vehicles, and require all the same things that motorcycles now require: A drivers license, insurance, tags, taxes, possible tickets, and so on. They will no longer be the same as a bicycle. Then they will lose their appeal. One might as well just buy an unrestricted e-motorcycle.
E-bikes too, will eventually suffer the same fate as/if they get faster, but at least they have larger diameter wheels; hitting a pothole or just a chunk out of the trail pavement, with a 10" diameter wheel going 40 miles per hour, rarely results in a positive outcome. At best it will only damage the tire and/or rim of larger wheeled vehicles. Oh, here's a video of my e-scooter tire change.
Right now, bicycle groups are now vocally opposing, allowing e-scooters on designated "bike" trails, simply because they go too fast, imposing a risk to both walkers, kids, and bicyclists. And to be honest, it's mostly a few boys who are blazing these bike trials at 40+ miles per hour. It freaks everyone out; even me when I'm cycling there, so I get it!
However, I do not want to lose my current access to these designated trails on my e-scooter, because they are my main roads. By choice, I do not own a car. I made this decision in 2005 for environmental (and personal safety) reasons; I sold my last vehicle the next year and have not owned one since; I've been on State ID's. From that point forward, all my life choices centered around not owning and operating a car.
In the USA, car is king, and bikes are for exercise and leisure. Therefore, micro-mobile devices are not needed, and are even a nuisance on bike designated zones; trails as well as on the car street's painted bike lanes. When I ride my e-scooter on the streets people yell out to get off the road, and when I'm on the bike trails they yell out to get off the trail and onto the roads.
Still, I am hopeful that by being the change I want to see in the world, others will follow that example. I bicycle for short distances but an e-scooter is a range extending mobility assistant for many. If I were rural I'd have a Fat Tire Electric Scooter. But for those urban potholes the 15" wheeled Dualtron City 🎥 is it! It's likely my next unit.
Building a waterproof scooter is such a no brainier that if someone told me there were no waterproof e-scooters at all, I would not initially believe that. It is so hard to believe still (circa 2022) that I thought I'd demonstrate how it can (and will) be done, in the hopes of those who actually design them will read this. E-scooters should be as waterproof as electric motorcycles that already are.
Without too many details, it would have a waterproof battery box; the access door would have a rubber O-ring, typical of many other such applications. All the ports that connect the inside of the box to the outside components, would simply be waterproof plugs, like you find on submersible equipment; the externals components would be analogous to waterproof action cameras.
Unlike how the monkey see & do copycats mimic current bad designs, in my design, there would be no wrapped wire harnesses running through drilled holes into the box that are then basically caulk sealed; that design gets an "F" from this Designer. All the components needed already exist; they'd just have to be slightly redesigned for e-scooter application.
• The Future Of You!
Born in 1958, I might not be around when the ecological crap hits the proverbial big fan, starting in a few decades from now. So why did I make this decision? For future generations; for you; to be a model to the youth around me. And yet, most of them merely find my lifestyle choices humorous; an outlier; a curiosity! Still, the truly concerned will take the important time to read and understand why, at a philosophical and resource rich site titled Car-Cult.
For any electric scooter (or ebike) to be taken seriously, especially as a replacement to a car, two things must take priority; range is number one, and the second is the durability and dependability of the device itself. Once these are built with serious intention, that reality will reflect itself in the factory warranties, just like it happened with the automobile industry.
For most of my life, all automobile warranties were 1 year, sometimes with 2 years on the main power train only. With quality improvements, some automakers have a factory 5 year warranty, as opposed to an insurance addendum which can be bought for almost anything nowadays. That is because they build them better, and can confidently offer it.
A factory warranty is the open testimony of a manufactures confidence in their products; every company will claim their brand is the best, so that's expected. But a 1 year warranty on anything is humorous, but it is also telling; it's the manufacturer accepting that they make low quality items and thus cannot afford to put their money where their mouth is.
And once the Automobile Industry and Big Oil begins to feel threatened by more efficient and safe forms of Micro-Mobility, they will, once again, covertly invest heavily in exposing their flaws (including those mentioned herein) as viable replacements to their resource gluttonous SUVs & trucks and other urban tanks: And I'd wager the $ value of those Industries on that.
Simply put, smaller lighter vehicles would not need all the current, carbon centered and expensive Heavy Infrastructure. But the explanation for why it will not happen is simple; those in the micromobility industry, in the West and at least so far, are more interested in short term profits than being agents of change, as a long-term solution to the current ravages of the car culture.
Everyone whose read the page dedicated to the Car-Cult, knows that those ravages go far beyond the 3 billion internal combustion engines, from the smallest to the largest of them, billowing countless megatons of carcinogens into the biosphere. Obviously we cannot all be homeless, but we can all be carless; just refer to your ancestors!
• The Copter Conundrum!My ride is a two seat ultralight helicopter. As a licensed pilot, this unit cost $160K which is about the same as my favorite car. My office building only has parking for 6 ultralights. As more get licensed, and buy units, parking them is now becoming problematic. If I were forced to drive a car it's a 4 hour commute one way; unacceptable! Therefore, we pilots are petitioning our City to build more rooftop heliports with expanded parking; with public funding this should be very feasible, just as it is with car parking spots. We cannot return to driving mere cars; it takes too long!
This conversation is a real Executive exchange (but modified for effect). The point? To show how choices shape our mentality. Most of us cannot afford a personal copter, and so we never even consider living a 4 hour one-way car drive from a job. But if your transportation unit only takes 25 minutes, then living that far away is a non issue. Everything is relative!
And it is the exact same thing with cars versus micro-mobile. If all you have is a micro-mobile device (bikes too), then you shape your lifestyle around that paradigm, and without even pondering such exceptions mentioned herein. Since you cannot own or operate a copter, such an item is not even in your mindset; not in your calculations. And it is the mindset (the mentality) at focus herein. If you do not (or will not) own a car, you will shape how you live accordingly.
The responses to this whining Executive (pilot) was not friendly. He got hammered for thinking that he was privileged; special; exclusive; exceptional; supreme; in a word, entitled! But to him, he is just an executive with a copter; he compares his copter with coworkers; the typical "mine's better than yours" immaturity! It happens with all consumer products.
And I'm sure he feels mildly bad for all us lowly people who must commute in street traffic, to and fro. But hey, that's just Capitalistic Way: Too bad for you if you are not in its fast lane. After all, only high quality people reach the pinnacles of privilege. The quantity of USD is the only true barometer of (human) self-worth to capitalists.
The moral of the (copter) story should be obvious by now. Anything can be justified; any lifestyle, or any purchases within it. Everything is a matter of perspective; everything is a matter of opportunity. We all navigate with what we have and can obtain. And we reject all else, openly or quietly.
To those who are perhaps jealous, they have a completely different take on this, than say, an environmentally conscious person who would not burn gasoline into the biosphere, no matter how much money they possess; who would not put another car on the Heavy Infrastructure, regardless of how many others do so.
Obviously, there would not be a need for the many billions of miles of Heavy Infrastructure, if all there were to support such a now-global network, were a few million vehicles globally upon them. And so, numbers is the game. If everyone stopped buying cars and started buying personal copters, the entire infrastructure budget would shift dramatically.
But then, that would merely change the way people kill each other while merely going from point A to B. I often wonder where people were going after they just mangled a human body (too often children) with their cars. I'm curious if they thought this collateral damage was acceptable. Then they get into another one and continue on, as if nothing truly serious happened. They drive cars to the funerals of people who died in cars! That answers my curiosity.
• Paradigm Shift Again!
Another great advantage of moving away from huge machines is also in the stunningly massive Heavy Infrastructure needed to support them all. From roads and bridges, to parking lots and structures, and the concrete and asphalt that is now choking the surface of Earth; this is causing a host of secondary problems that now outnumbers the initial car-cult catastrophe itself. Heavy Infrastructure is also a resource intensive maintenance leviathan (e.g. snow removal).
Heavy Infrastructure is the need for a system that supports vehicles over a 1/2 ton (453kg) net weight: In the US, it is designed for supporting vehicles in the 40 ton range. Thus, the need for a multi trillion dollar system, is to me, absolutely insane. "Freedom" has degraded into: I do what the hell I want, where & whenever I want, and to hell with the consequences to others! Such exhibitions of mental illness must first be acknowledged, and then dealt with accordingly.
The plan is to ban personal cars on the US Interstate system, and modify those corridors to build a fleet of cargo and passenger light rail systems (each one on far opposite sides) that are powered by a perpetual solar array, all along those corridors. Replace the current mega-heavy diesel powered generators with a direct-from-source system, utilizing much lighter train cars, and shorter runs of train cars, and more of them more frequently.
Personal Vehicles would have speed limits and range limits. The ridiculously spoiled humans would have to "suffer" and adapt to a slower lifestyle. That, or we just allow them to continue on this path until Earth can no longer sustain mammals. Obviously, at peak oil, if there's not a better plan in place, humans will not be able to produce even a tenth of current food production. Guess what happens then? The Eschaton!
We must reassess how neighborhoods are designed; think of the US West and its wildfires and subsequent mudslides, or urban flooding everywhere. Try imagining an entirely different infrastructural paradigm, without big cars in mind. Start thinking along the lines of what the German innovators at Ono are envisioning, as one idea among many, for areas already blithed by poorly planned urbanization.
Ponder a designed living that's car free; also the ideas proposed at City Lab. Plan out how you are going to live, minus a personal car. That will determine where you work, live, and how you live. Show your kids, by your lifestyle choices, how much you care for their future on Earth. Otherwise, Armageddon is as assured (prophetically) as will be, the denial of it.