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Archive for Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mo-peds, scooters make inroads at KU

Convenience, fuel-efficiency, fashion behind 2-wheeled trend

Alex Rausch, a Kansas University sophomore from Shawnee, scoots around campus on his 1982 Motron mo-ped on Tuesday. Rausch dusted off the retro mo-ped, which his grandfather gave him years ago, as an affordable alternative to driving a car.

Alex Rausch, a Kansas University sophomore from Shawnee, scoots around campus on his 1982 Motron mo-ped on Tuesday. Rausch dusted off the retro mo-ped, which his grandfather gave him years ago, as an affordable alternative to driving a car.

August 19, 2008

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KU students Miles and Molly McGonigle, from Kansas City, Kan., cruised campus on Tuesday.

KU students Miles and Molly McGonigle, from Kansas City, Kan., cruised campus on Tuesday.

Mo-peds, scooters make inroads at KU

The popularity of motorized cycles is accelerating at KU, and officials see no sign of the trend slowing down. Enlarge video

Alex Rausch's ride oozes old-school European cachet as he arrives on campus, and for that he can thank an arbiter of the decidedly old-fashioned.

That would be his late grandfather, from whom the Kansas University sophomore inherited a 1982 Motron mo-ped.

He hasn't looked back since.

"Back when I was in high school and I was riding it, people were making fun of me," said Rausch, who attended Mill Valley High School in Shawnee. "Now, I (recently) had a guy come up to me and say, 'Duuuude! That's an awesome bike! I had one of those, but it got stolen!"

The idea that Rausch's mo-ped - the one that lacks a functioning speedometer, turn signals, battery, ignition lock or even an ignition switch - is somehow hot these days isn't all that difficult to understand.

Popularity of mo-peds, scooters and other motorized two-wheelers are picking up speed, as trend-setting students look for ways to save cash, get to class on time and look good while doing it.

KU is on track to sell a record number of mo-ped permits this year. By Tuesday the Department of Parking and Transit had sold out its online allotment of 93 mo-ped permits, a total that surpassed the entire 90 sold for all of the 2005-2006 academic year. Last year the department sold 122.

Helping to drive demand: Rising permit fees for cars.

"People are making some different decisions about how they're going to get here this year, and the difference is the dollars," said Donna Hultine, director of parking and transit.

Hultine, who's been working in campus parking for more than 20 years, said that scooters had become more fuel-efficient, reliable and - yes - hip. Such alternative transportation is going mainstream.

"You can go to Target and get a scooter," she said. "If I wasn't so chicken, I'd look into buying one."

Rausch remains pleased to have inherited his. The Italian two-wheeler carries a tax value of a mere $20, and the one-gallon gasoline tank includes a small reserve that ensures plenty of worry-free trips to and from campus, with parking close to buildings that drivers of cars can only dream about.

"I don't care what anybody says," Rausch said. "If they want to make fun of it, they're just jealous. This is my ride."

Scooting across campus

KU's Department of Parking & Transit and its director, Donna Hultine, expect to sell more mo-ped permits once more become available Sept. 5, as students face a host of contributing economic factors:

¢ Yellow parking zones, which generally are reserved for students' cars and are on the fringes of campus, have about 300 fewer spaces than a year ago, because of construction of new football practice fields near Memorial Stadium.

¢ Fees for yellow permits - the permits sold to students - are $200 this year, up 25 percent from a year ago.

¢ Mo-ped permits cost all of $25 a year and allow users to park at any bike rack on campus, including those along Jayhawk Boulevard - a thoroughfare normally reserved for the highest-ranking and longest-tenured university professors, officials and others.

Comments

BorderRat 5 years, 8 months ago

Time to get the old Cushman Silver Eagle out of the barn and running again.

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FatTony 5 years, 8 months ago

No self respecting human allows themselves to be seen in Jorts after the age of 5.

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Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 5 years, 8 months ago

Judging by the fat roll and the double chin, I think the kid should ditch the mo-ped and get a bicycle.

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Ragingbear 5 years, 8 months ago

Ramsfield, it is people like YOU who are the problem. The fact that nobody seems to know how to drive but you shows the sheer incompetence of whoever it was that taught you. Go back to school, put down the phone, and have a bit of friggin patience.

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Ramsfield 5 years, 8 months ago

None of these scooter idiots know how to drive.Just as bad as Team Spandexbuzzzzzzzz

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sophie 5 years, 8 months ago

When is the Atheletic Department going to replace those 300 spaces.

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invictus 5 years, 8 months ago

And rocking the jean shorts!!...........dude you are a true individualist.

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hilary 5 years, 8 months ago

Cool, but no working speedometer and no turn signals is not so cool. Get it fixed up, and be safe!

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Daytrader23 5 years, 8 months ago

I guess the saying that mopeds are like fat chicks, its all fun until your friends catch you on one, no longer applies.

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hornhunter 5 years, 8 months ago

Is that a Boo Boo on Alexs' first few test rides? Good God man, where would your eye protection be at? With grandpa?

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 8 months ago

I was coming into town from the SLT to Kasold by the curve. One was in front of me, wanting to turn north. There was a lot of traffic coming around the bend, and my mind could not help but be in fear of what might happen right before my eyes.But he was sensible, waited until he had plenty of clearance, and all was well.Except for the SUV driver who was ticked he had to wait to turn East, he zoomed around me like there was an emergency.Of course, we met again at the next light.Must have money to burn.

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Newell_Post 5 years, 8 months ago

Very cool. But wear a helmet, dude. Do it for grandpa.

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