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Monday, June 4, 2018

Alternative Transportation Modes

Growing up, everyone got around on two feet walking, before moving onto bikes, then eventually cars when they got older. In between, there have been lots of alternatives. When I was in high school, skateboards were a popular alternative mode of transportation. I still see them nowadays, but, more often then not, I see people using some other interesting things. Here are several that you or your child may run across nowadays. Roller skates and inline skates are still old still. We're talking electronics here.
I first ran across electronic skates a few years back when they first came out. They've changed a little since then but basically function the same way. You place a contraption around each of your shoes/sneakers, kind of like binding your feet into snowshoes. Then, either by tilting your feet or through a remote control (app on phone or separate control), you trigger the shoes to go or brake. Depending upon the particular brand/model, you'll get around 5 -10 miles of usage per charge and 5-15 miles of usage. ACTON makes the actual RocketSkates pictured above. They launched a Kickstarter campaign back in 2014 which raised over a half million dollars, where the company was only asking for $50,000.
The smart balance wheel or Hoverboard took the world by storm for Christmas 2015. If you have good balance, you can spin circles around your friends and travel. Terrain plays a big factor in range calculations, as does price point, but figure you can travel about 6-7 miles at speeds around 7-8 mph. Spend more than the $250-ish price and, you will typically exceed those numbers. Check price points and features carefully, and don't buy a used one from eBay unless you're sure of how new the model is.

Electric Skateboards
For the most part, skateboards haven't changed much since they were introduced in the late 1940s, early 1950s. Before my time for sure. Nowadays, though, you can get a skateboard deck with a battery pack attached and electronic wheels. These seem to be the most expensive option of the bunch, typically setting you back upwards of $1,500 if not more for a quality setup. There are cheaper alternatives that run as low as $300-ish, for someone who doesn't ride as much or isn't willing to put the high cost of the boards. Digital Trends offers a recent review of the best electronic skateboards out there if you're interested.

High Tech Scooters
Electric scooters are a popular mode of transportation for the younger crowd. Typically used instead of a bike, these are for those people who might need a little extra to hold on to as they go barreling down the street after friends or siblings. I'd advise not using these indoors just for safety sake. You could easily end up helping them frame out a door if you don't stop in time.

Safety first with all these contraptions. Wear your helmet while riding. Otherwise, it could hurt, a lot, when you fall, as you most likely will fall until you are comfortable on the machine. The other thing to watch out for on all these devices, the weight limit. If mom or dad gets on one of these, the device won't have the power to pull a person on the husky size. It could run around 180 lbs or upwards of 250 on the more powerful machines. Check before buying to make sure you can still use it. And avoid steep hills, too. Have fun.

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