Belfast Telegraph

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The little scooter that's made me a happy commuter

By Jane Merrick

Gliding through the park, the wind in my hair, I overtake a 13-year-old boy on a bike, who tuts loudly, possibly because I'm going too fast, or possibly because he thinks I look too old to be doing this.

A woman walking her dog gives me a look of bemusement - or it is pity? - as the animal tries to keep pace with my wheels. There is a fine line between looking like a post-school run mum on the daily commute and Lembit Opik on a Segway - and I am wobbling along it.

Like thousands of four-year-olds across the country, I have a favourite new toy: a two-wheel push-along scooter. Fed up with living in a public transport blackspot, with my five-mile commute to work often taking more than an hour, I have invested in an adult Micro Scooter.

I tried nearly everything else. Walking took too long, running needed a shower and a change of clothes once I got to work. I used to cycle, but my bike was stolen and I was too afraid of accidents to replace it. The bus gets stuck in traffic, making me miss the train. So apart from horse riding the scooter was my last hope.

I don't scoot all the way, but zipping through my local park to the train station has shortened my total journey to work by half an hour. I also get around 40 minutes of vigorous exercise every day, so in the few weeks of scooting, I've already lost half a stone.

Teenagers may laugh at me, but my four-year-old daughter loves my new wheels. She's had a green and turquoise Ride and Glide Micro Scooter for nearly two years, so thinks of herself as a veteran. When we go to the park on our scooters, she is full of advice - she tells me the right place to park at the swings and the best slopes for zooming downhill. But it's once I've dropped her off at school that my scooting gets serious.

There are certain safety issues - I never go on the road, but stick to the pavement (I checked this was ok with a policeman, who said he wanted one for himself). I should probably don a helmet, although it feels odd wearing one on the pavement.

We adult scooters are so rare, it seems, that when I see another one we exchange a little wave, like drivers of VW Beetles or Minis honking their horns at each other.

But we are growing in number: according to Micro Scooters, last year, 2% of its sales were to adults, but this year it has risen to 5 to 7%.

We may get some odd looks in the park, but there are more of us than ever doing the scoot commute.

Belfast Telegraph


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