When people try scooting, they rarely ask me about the negatives. Usually they are trying the E-Skoot for the first time, and that is a remarkable experience. For someone who hasn’t been on one before, it’s like nothing they have ever tried before.
So they tend to be in ‘Wow’ mode while they are trying out the E-Skoot, and it doesn’t come up. But there are ups and downs to everything, and in this case, the downs are that the E-Skoot cannot fulfill all your motoring needs. It will not, for example, allow you to bring your family on a Sunday outing.
The E-Skoot does an excellent job with some transport difficulties, but it’s important tot remember that it doesn’t replace a car. If you are the type that uses a bicycle for exercise and you knock off 20 or more miles a day, the E-Skoot won’t replace that either.
What it does do, it does well. But it is not a competitor to the car, the motorbike or the bicycle. It’s unique. Comparing it to those other vehicles is like comparing a smart phone to a desktop computer. It’s not that one is better than the other, they just do different things.
One of the things it does well is climb hills. That is one of the things that amazes the first-timer. It can climb a steep hill at a good pace (around 20 km an hour) and given the silence and the power, that is pretty stunning for someone who hasn’t experienced it.
Officially, the E-Skoot people say the scooter can climb a 25% incline. In my ‘mad scientist’ experiments, I have yet to find a hill it can’t climb in Dublin, but I’m still looking (suggestions appreciated). And for everything that goes up, it must come down.
That is one area where the inexperienced Skootist needs to be careful. You can almost instantaneously control the power driving the battery on a flat surface or going uphill, but when you’re travelling downhill, a higher power called gravity takes over.
The brake is still effective, just not as effective and if you are travelling down a slope towards major traffic, you have to go against your natural inclination to use gravity to its utmost, and rein in your speed.
That’s an essential for scootists, but it’s almost counter-intuitive. You have to remember to use your foot as a brake, and also not to be traveling at a speed where your foot brake becomes ineffective.
Of course, we’re all in a hurry and want to get from A to B as quickly as possible, and that’s fine where you’ve got a long road or cycle path ahead of you, there’s no traffic or people. Downhill, for example, with the aid of gravity I have reached speeds of around 40 km an hour!
But there’s a proviso with this. It was late at night, on a cycle path, in a well-lit area and 800 yards of road clearly visible in front of me. Had any car, bike or person appeared, I would have had to slow down to be safe.
The point is that the E-Skoot is excellent at some things, but it’s a quick, efficient, easy transport device. It is not a ‘powerful’ machine in the sense that petrol heads would want. There is no noise, no screaming engine, no squealing of tyres or any of those macho displays. I’ve always thought in any case that those things were a compensation for deficiencies in other areas of life (ahem), but in any case, they don’t apply here.
No, the E-Skoot in a personal transporter. It can move you around quickly and safely, but just you. And without much fuss or noise.
Another downside, perhaps, is that you can only carry what you can carry on your back or in your clothes. If you try to carry anything else, you’re going to find it difficult and possibly dangerous to travel. I manage with a rucksack, but again, that may not suit everyone.
But let me end with a positive note. The gentlemen at E-Skoot tell me that one of their latest customers is a 70-year-old man with bad knees. He’s flying around now with a new lease of life and he can travel distances that up until recently he couldn’t. That’s what this is all about – giving people a new way to travel.
As Newman once said to Jerry Seinfeld “It’s a sweet ride, Jerry”
More E-Skoot information at www.e-skoot.com