Dispatches > The Buzz

Scoot along


Issue: "Locking up the big guns," Aug. 12, 2000

Scoot over, skateboard. The latest thing in zipping along the sidewalk is the scooter, a sleek cross between skateboards and bicycles that lets people kick and glide. Popular with kids in the 1950s, scooters are back. Selling from $100 up to about $500, these Japanese imports (also known as rollerboards) have moved from the beaches of California and Hawaii to take middle America by storm.

The rider stands on a thin platform and maneuvers along with handlebars. A fender in the rear acts as a brake. Typically scooters are made from aluminum with plastic wheels. Unlike a bike, they weigh about six pounds, run about two feet long, and can be folded up and carried around.

Every generation likes having its own wheeled gadget. Roller skates, inline skates, and even pogo sticks have had their own crazes, while the skateboard has survived to become its own subculture. With scooters, the Japanese seem to have found a new way to keep up their pop-culture exports now that Pokémon is dying down.

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