Coast to Coast on a Segway

My knees are getting too old to bike to work every day. Driving to work is out of the question — would cost nearly $1000/year to park, and the garage fills up by early morning anyway. If a dude can ride a Segway Human Transporter 4,000 miles coast to coast (pictures), my daily commute should be cake. I’m in an almost ideal situation to ride one to campus, but they’re still not showing up on the used market for less than three grand. Starting to look like an old fixer Vespa might be in the cards (motorcycles park free — a municipal reward for not being part of the problem (or that’s how I look at it anyway)).

Music: Autechre :: Slip

8 Replies to “Coast to Coast on a Segway”

  1. Guy’s got the right idea — those electric motor-powered bicycles are hella fun, and would really save your knees on the uphill climbs. We rented a couple during our vaca in Santa Cruz, and it was a blast. You can pedal along per normal, but when the going gets tough you just thumb the button and rrrrrRRRRRR! the electric motor kicks in and zips you up that hill. Sweet! And amazingly fun, too. I think the ones we rode cost about $800 … and they can probably retrofit your current bike for $500 or so…

  2. Yeah, mopeds are allowed on the bike lanes in the (ultra-flat) Netherlands and I remember having a blast touring the countryside that way.

  3. I rode a scooter for many, many years as my sole means of transportation. A 70cc Honda.

    I can tell you now, anything below 70cc’s is going to be anemic, and somewhat dangerous. Being able to accelerate *out* of bad situations is just as important as being able to brake (which, being a former motorcycle jock, you already know).

    I would recommend a Yamaha Vino 125.

    http://www.yamaha-motor.com/products/unitinfo/2/mcy/8/328/0/yamaha_vino_125.aspx

    Compared to offerings from Honda or Vespa, the price/performace of the Vino 125 is unmatched. Yamaha has excellent quality, and the styling allows you to sing bits of the Quadrophenia soundtrack while driving, and not feel like a poseur. :)

    Of course, if this is more about form than function, you can go pick up a Lambretta here:

    http://www.scootrs.com/

    Good luck finding parts, though.

    I drive a GS scooter with my hair cut neat,
    I wear my wartime coat in the wind and sleet.

    – The Who “Sea And Sand”

  4. Guy, Dylan, Xian – A moped is definitely a practical option, and I’ve considered it, but I’m with mneptok on the speed issue. Mixed nuts: On the one hand, I’m looking at scooters rather than motorcycles because I don’t want to be tempted to go joy-riding, due to my little “throttle control problem.” On the other hand, I know from experience that acceleration is as important as braking in avoiding danger.

    And there’s the style thing. No moped has the feng shui of an old scooter. Guy, no U.S. distributor for the Swizbee, either.

    mneptok, yeah, Lambrettas are definitely in the running (assuming I can do either Vespa or Lambretta under budget). scootrs.com has some droolworthy rides, wow. Thanks for the link.

  5. Damn, that EVT is a *great* looking scooter! Would love to try one out. Too bad the retail is $2800, which brings it close to Segway territory. I’ll keep an eye on the used market for one. Thanks!

  6. Scott, I’m 51 and I’m guessing my knees are in no better shape than yours. I picked up a discounted pedelec online for $400 in February, and added $50 worth of batteries. I’m now commuting 400 miles a month. My 10 mile one-way commute takes 35 minutes with no sweat and no pain in the knees. My experience says don’t be afraid to go online for your bike.

    If you are biking now, consider a pedelec before you switch to a big beast of a bike like a Vespa!

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