Owning a car used to drive me mad. Living in London, parking was impossible so I didn’t dare use it during the week. Likewise, if I drove it for a weekend away I would have to return ridiculously early on Sunday afternoon to ensure that I could park without my head exploding from excessive blood pressure. The car was nothing more than a money pit sitting outside the flat never getting used; finally, I decided to be sensible and sold it which was a shame as it was an MG Midget, and a lot of fun on the occasions I did get out and drive it.
Now when I need a car I rent one, but that doesn’t really help when getting around London. Obviously, there’s the tube and buses, but they never take you quite to where you need to go, which is exacerbated by the fact that few years ago, I developed something called a DYT1 dystonia, a neurological movement disorder. It’s a complicated way of saying that my walking is rather awkward and slow, and that I use a walking stick (thankfully my condition is rather more mild than the ones described in the Wikipedia entry, and is stable so will not worsen). H had the rather brilliant idea a little while ago of a folding scooter – those things that are mostly seen being used by children. It is slightly odd to be one of the few adults scooting around the streets of London but I have noticed more of us recently, albeit that most are mothers accompanying their children. As a solution to my transport problems, it’s great: I can keep up with other people’s walking speeds easily and go considerably faster on my own, should I want to.
My first scooter was a small thing, but I’ve recently had a chance to upgrade it to one from Micro. I chose the Micro Black scooter, which is one of the larger models with 200mm (8″) wheels. First impressions were of size – it’s considerably bigger that the ones with small wheels, and has an impressive build quality. It’s really been excellently put together, with superb looking metalwork. For example, the hinge is of machined aluminum, not a stamped item, and the handlebars click into place with impressive solidity. Likewise, the clamp for the extending steering tube feels very precise.
It is a big machine, we have nicknamed it “The Beast” – it even has a little kickstand – but there are significant advantages to the larger wheels, in terms of soaking up ruts in the pavements. With the small scooter, I quickly learnt the “step off and run” method of what to do when it stops quickly when the bumps in the road are too big, but this one glides over everything. The downside is that the large wheels mean that it doesn’t fold up into such a small package, and there is a weight penalty – it’s not a lightweight at 4.7 kilos. The other design feature is that the deck is low to the ground, which makes it much more comfortable to use. I also have to note the efficiency of the courier company that delivered it. Not only did they send a text saying that delivery would take place within a 2 hour time slot, but they stood outside the front door for two minutes waiting for the start of the slot.
Scooting is a great way to get around. It’s quicker than walking (it can be quicker than running, but I’m happier pootling rather than being a semi-guided missile spreading chaos in my wake) and it also counts as exercise. Unlike the tube, you’re not stuck in a semi-disguised sardine can, making slightly over familiar acquaintance of your fellow travellers’ personal hygiene habits, nor on a bus slowly melting in a traffic jam wondering why all these people think that one person in a car it a suitable way to get around London. While it’s particularly useful for me with my difficulties with walking, I’m convinced that it’s actually a great type of urban transport for everyone. I’m a convert; I think that I’m going to be using my new Micro for a long time.
Many, many thanks to Micro for our complimentary scooter. All opinions are our own, Fuss Free Flavours was not obliged to write a positive review.
Safety first – Micro do recommend that you wear a cycling helmet and use common sense when using your scooter.