Trying New Things: Scoot

Here’s what it is: Scoot is an electric scooter rental service meant to be used for traveling around San Francisco. You register for a flat fee ($25), then anytime you want to rent a Scoot, they’ll charge you per half hour of riding. Finding and reserving a Scoot is easy through their mobile app and since they’ve added more Scoots to keep up with demand, there’s a good chance a Scoot is available nearby regardless of where you are in the city.

I’ve known about Scoot for a while — Nick’s a big fan and logged a bunch of miles when he was commuting back and forth to an office. He’s always wanted me to sign up, but I’ve been deterred both by the fees for visitors (the site requires that you have a SF address to sign up for the regular plan) and the fact that riding around a busy city in an open vehicle is terrifying to me. I don’t even bike because I’m so scared of getting hit by a car. However, as alternative modes of transportation are either costly or time-consuming (or both!), I figured I’d give it a go.

Here’s how it went: I signed up online and was directed to take an in-person class. You can skip the class if you’ve got a motorcycle license or have otherwise ridden scooters/bikes on city roads before. As a total newb, I knew I needed the extra guidance.

Looking verrry worried.

I showed up and the Scoot coach was really nice. Other new Scooters were already there practicing in the parking lot. After a quick lesson — and I mean really quick! — my coach had me mount the Scoot and sent me off into the abyss.

It’s actually really easy to drive! I was concerned that balancing would be harder, but once you start accelerating the scooter takes care of the rest. Just like the coach teaches you, the key is to look in the direction you want to be going — turning your head will guide the Scoot in the right direction naturally. Here’s a video of me going comically slowly:

The Scoots obviously move faster than I was going, but they top out at 30 mph. You won’t need to go any faster than that driving in the city, but I hear it can be a bit rough going up big hills. Unfortunately, you can’t take Scoots outside of San Francisco city limits.

I’m excited to be able to roam the city a bit more freely now. While I actually really enjoy using the Muni, San Francisco’s bus system, it can take a long time to get to where you want to go. Honestly, it was just really cool learning something new — even if I was a bit scared to at first!

Cheers to new adventures!

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