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Archive for Thursday, August 31, 2000

Scoot along now

Youths get a kick from foot-powered transport

August 31, 2000

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They're light, fast and nimble.

And they're certainly not your father's or your grandfather's scooter.

The six-pound scooters can be collapsed and easily stuffed in a
backpack. Displaying their Razor brand scooters are, from left,
Patrick Roberts, 15, Rose Naughtin, 9, with scooter collapsed, and
her brother Hugh, 15.

The six-pound scooters can be collapsed and easily stuffed in a backpack. Displaying their Razor brand scooters are, from left, Patrick Roberts, 15, Rose Naughtin, 9, with scooter collapsed, and her brother Hugh, 15.

In Lawrence, as well as across the nation, a new generation of motorless scooters are appearing in greater numbers on residential and downtown sidewalks.

They carry brand names such as Razors, Xootrs and Zappies.

Their drivers are mostly youngsters looking for a method of travel that is more stable than skateboards and roller-blades.

Hugh Naughtin, 15, Lawrence, re-ceived a Razor for his birthday in May. He had heard of the scooters but didn't know much about them.

"Now I ride mine quite a bit," he said. "I go downtown on it a lot."

Hugh's new mode of travel caught the attention of his friends and a few of them now have their own motorless scooters. Patrick Roberts, 15, Lawrence, is one of them.

"You can glide along pretty fast and you can take the corners pretty smoothly. You have to learn to adjust your balance and you get used to it fast. I also like the fact that they are environmentally correct."

Patrick Roberts

"You can glide along pretty fast and you can take the corners pretty smoothly," Patrick said. "You have to learn to adjust your balance and you get used to it fast. I also like the fact that they are environmentally correct."

Hugh also finds the motorless scooters easy to ride.

"It's just like you're sailing along the sidewalk and it feels really nice," he said.

Hugh taught himself to do wheelies by popping the front of the scooter up in the air and gliding with his weight resting on the wheelie bar at the back of the standing platform. He also learned a couple of tricks for making the scooter hop.

The colored, translucent wheels of the new push scooters add some
flash to this revived mode of transportation.

The colored, translucent wheels of the new push scooters add some flash to this revived mode of transportation.

Motorless scooters are mostly made of ultra-lightweight aluminum, according to advertisements. Other features include in-line-style, 4-inch wheels and front coil suspension. Wheels come in various colors.

Both Hugh and Patrick have Razors purchased from Sharper Image on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Mo. The store started selling the scooters about a year ago, according to Jim Lane, assistant manager. Although he wouldn't release sales figures, he said the scooters are very popular.

"It's amazing, simply amazing," he said. "It is one big phenomenon not only here but around the world. They're fast, the ones we sell are very well built and you can do tricks on them."

In Lawrence, one place where motorless scooters can be purchased is at Play It Again Sports, 1029 Mass. Sales are doing well there as well, floor manager Heather Chester said.

What may become the next fashionable means of self-propelled
transportation for the younger generation gets put to use on the
streets of Lawrence. From left, Riding Razor brand push scooters
are, from left, Rose Naughtin, her brother, Hugh, and Patrick
Roberts.

What may become the next fashionable means of self-propelled transportation for the younger generation gets put to use on the streets of Lawrence. From left, Riding Razor brand push scooters are, from left, Rose Naughtin, her brother, Hugh, and Patrick Roberts.

"I think it's something that's new and fun," she said, trying to explain the popularity of the scooters. It's easier to ride than a skateboard and it's simpler than rollerblading."

Motorless scooters carry price tags from about $70 to well more than $100.

"I think you get what you pay for," Lane said.

Most of the buyers have been youths ages 15 and under, Chester and Lane said. Some adults, however, are buying them as well, Chester added.

"We've sold some to men in their 30s and 40s who live near downtown," Chester said.









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