Toronto Transportation Alternatives: The Kick Scooter
As Toronto's transportation expands, many citizens are finding new ways to get from point A to point B. Whether it's on a bike, rollerblades or a long board, Torontonians are trading their gas-powered wheels for muscle power. With the weather improving to summer-like conditions in the past week, it's no wonder Toronto is seeing more alternative modes of transportation on its streets.
Surprisingly, the kick scooter is popularizing among Torontonians. Some of this may be attributed to warmer weather. Many overlook this simple 'toy', and some may even laugh, but on closer inspection, it tends to be an efficient piece of machinery. I was especially shocked when I saw a businessman on his blackberry riding down Bay St. He flew by all the other pedestrians on his shiny red scooter. At that point, I began to look at the toy as a serious way to get around, particularly when used for shorter distances. With that in mind, I borrowed my friend's scooter to see what all the rave was about.
A speedy commute wasn't expected, but with a subway or bus, you could get to your destination in nearly no time. A push here and a push there, and suddenly you find yourself more than 100 meters down the road. It took only a minute or two to get adjusted but once you feel it out, it becomes a lot of fun.
With the majority of models being able to fold for storage, you can take it with you to the office and hide it underneath the desk. If school floats your boat, it can fit in your locker without compromising too much space for books. This even extends on the streets. What if it's a really hot day and you're getting thirsty? No problem, fold it up and you're free to enter any mall or store. I've even seen some businessmen scooter to their parking spot.
To make things easier, oil your bearings before you take your first push, and you will go even further. It's not a necessity, but you'll be able to cover longer distances with it. It's also a good idea to bring a backpack, or carrier bag (riding with a shopping bag wrapped around one arm isn't exactly graceful). You can store your scooter in the bag when you're not using it.
Maintenance? Well there isn't any really. Since the frame is built out of metal (usually aluminum) these suckers can last a long time. Rarely do they fail, but if it does, you don't need to bother repairing it. Simply, go down to any Canadian Tire or Toys R Us, and for under $40 (or up to $100 for the premium models) you can pick up a brand new ride like it's nobody's business. Some finer independent bike shops may also have a model or two on hand. Or if you're the crafty type, you can go ahead with the repair. Or buy used on the usual classified sites.
Many of us have scooters from close relatives, or our own childhood. Nine times out of ten, the wheels have hit the storage never to see the light of day again. Pull it out and give it try. It takes almost zero skill to ride one. Trust me, you will be pleasantly surprised at how efficient a child's 'toy' can be.