By: Sara Geonczy, Outreach Specialist at Drive Oregon
I had never really thought of using or commuting with a scooter, so when I was given a chance to test ride the GenZe 2.0 electric scooter for a few days, I didn’t have any expectations. I am a bike commuter, almost exclusively, although I occasionally ride the bus to work. I avoid driving as much as possible; not only because of the inherent costs, but also due to the impact it has on my health, the livability of our city, and our environment. I love getting exercise while biking, and I love the convenience of leaving and going wherever and whenever I please. There is not much I love about taking the bus, other than that it is a welcome respite from physical tiredness and nasty weather.
Of course, biking and busing have their drawbacks. In my current situation, biking can get pretty tiresome, it takes quite a bit of time, I’m not able to lug a bunch of stuff easily, and biking in the rain eventually wears on my soul. Depending on the route, the bus can be very inconvenient, you still can’t carry a bunch of stuff easily, and you are restricted by a certain schedule.
I wanted to see if the scooter could address any of these drawbacks. Overall, the experience was super fun and made me consider a unique alternative mode of transportation. Here’s what I discovered:
I had never ridden a scooter before, so the first ride was a little terrifying for me. The GenZe 2.0 is quite heavy and I was uncomfortable handling it. However, the people at GenZe were very supportive and shared all the tips they had. After some practice with stopping and riding, it definitely became easier. I was quite confident by the end of the first day.
Over the next three days, I commuted to work, rode to class, got groceries, and did other regular trips. Good things: It was super fun to ride, easy to start, and easy to park. The large cargo space meant I didn’t have to carry anything on my back and could easily tote a lot of groceries. Charging was fairly simple at home; I just needed to get a long extension cord for the bike to reach an outlet (I opted to not remove the battery and charge inside). Obviously, it was faster than traveling on a bike, unless you were stuck in traffic. Which brings me to the not so great things: you still have to ride on the road, so being in commute jams, while immersed in exhaust fumes, was not fun. On the other hand, when traffic was moving swiftly, such as on major roads like Burnside and Belmont, I couldn’t quite keep up due to the speed restriction of 30mph. It’s probably best to stick to smaller roads. The scooter will go about 35 miles on a full charge, which is plenty, as long as you are charging at least every other night.
Other thoughts: I really value the exercise I get from biking, and that is obviously lost when riding the scooter. However, the trips that I can’t feasibly do with a bike (due to time restraints, etc.), would be really great with the scooter. Any car and bus trip I could replace would also save me money and time. It seems like the scooter serves a pretty niche purpose and so would be great as one more transportation option in the city…maybe we could see a community scooter-share in Portland in our future?