The city of the future?
Any time you go the movies or read a book about the distant future, the scene many times appears to be described like either amageddon or the Jetsons. There is this idea that we’ll be whizzing around in flash two-seaters, alighting onto top decks to access our homes and businesses. And there are never any stop signs. The more I think about it, the less likely this idea of the future seems. Can you imagine the line for security to get into your flash two-seater? TSA would be overwhelmed.
Rather I think the city of the future might look look more like this. Where the outdoors is more and better integrated into our
cities. There is less asphalt and more trees. What type of mobility will be needed to traverse a city like this? Bikes are an answer but they won’t work in place like Houston, Tx. or even Firestone, Co. Or would they? Will we still need to rely on cars but cleaner burning ones? Or will we turn our communities completely around, requiring shops, schools and businesses in every community. Big box becomes small, ubiquitous box? Will corporations allow individuals to work from home? How will cities and counties earn money for roads if fewer people are purchasing fuel?
Once you start thinking about how we live and work and then begin to change a few of those elements, you realize that there are so many dependencies.
I’ve had my Kawaski C3 for about a month now and so far it’s been a blast. There are a couple of less than lovable traits about it, like putting gas into it is like filling up a nalgene water bottle with a water blaster and going up some of our Colorado hills feels almost a little beyond its capabilities. But all in all, it’s exactly what I wanted and allows me to get up to Interlocken without a problem. I’ve noticed some drivers don’t quite know what to do about me as I cruise along. I’ll be going the speed limit, sometimes even a little over, and they still can’t resist getting in front of me. Honestly, I think that is great as I much rather have them in front of me than behind and (potentially) impatient.
What has been unexpected about riding a scooter is noticing things normally I don’t see when I’m driving. I ride down Cherryvale, where a few farms are located, and I can smell the farm animals. I mean really smell them. I also noticed 5 birds sitting on a street lamp at the intersection of McCaslin and Marshall the other afternoon. They just looked so out of place. There were no other birds around – just those 5 sitting on a street lamp. It has been an unexpected treat.
Now, I just need to know if I "ride" a scooter or "what" with a scooter. Sometimes, other motorcyclists will give me a wave – a subtle flick of the wrist. I feel quite happy, like I am part of a new club but also a bit like a poser as they are riding the real thing and I am just wearing a full-face helmet to ride a scooter. I wonder if they realize I am riding a scooter before they give me the whole solidarity wave or feel deep pangs of regret after they hear that undeniable scooter sound.
When we were in Olso, I noticed all these bikes racked up around town. My friend explained to me that you could go online and rent these bikes to use. I thought what a cool idea and wondered if such a concept might work in Boulder. But then I reconsidered since most people seem to own their own bike and sometimes more than one. But I wondered if it might work in larger cities and then I started thinking about the whole logistics of setting these racks up around a major city, liability in case some idiot falls off and decides to sue you and how you would maintain a fleet, etc. etc. In other words, I talked myself out of the idea (not that it was my idea to begin with).
Anyway, I was reading a back issue of Dwell and saw a small write up on Cyclocity, which is run by a French firm called JCDecaux. It is a public bike-sharing system that allows users to pay a small fee to gain access to a fleet of bikes. San Francisco, Portland and Chicago are looking into Cyclocity, as well. The site does not have a lot of information but their case study bullet points are interesting.
I met Eric Peltier at Green Drinks and he sent me this link to EVTAmerica. Electric Scooters! The models are pretty cool and one of them gets up to 45 MPH. I think that model is the Z20, which is not yet for sale but already has a waiting list. You can only get these online as I guess including a dealer would increase the prices fairly considerably.
They look pretty hip and trendy sorta of like eco-friendly vespas. I’d like one but I already stayed seated enough with work that if I get a chance to zip around town I really should do it on my bike.
I was reading the FAQ and came across this question:
Q: WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM OWNING AN ELECTRIC SCOOTER?
Most persons would benefit from owning an electric scooters because it is practical, easy to drive and inexpensive to run. But persons who commute within a reasonable distance, such as employees, housewives, students, guards, security personnel, and office workers, have a big incentive. People who work in places where parking facilities are very limited and expensive would greatly benefit. Persons who are able to charge the scooter while at destination in order to return safely to the point of origin have an added advantage because they can in fact duplicate the range of the electric scooter.
Housewives? What an odd label to include.
I rode into work this morning from Boulder. It was a perfect morning for a ride, a bit cool starting out and then the build up of the heat. It felt like it was going to be a hot one by the end of the day and it was but that first morning ride was perfect.
The trip is about 14 miles one way and normally I ride home, as well. But I ended up with a flat and my husband thought dinner up Flatirons might be fun. I guess it defeats the purpose of riding in to save gas if you just end getting a ride home. But there must be some merit in trying.
The picture was taken off of Cherryvale just before Marshall (I think that is the name of the road). I think it is one of the most beautiful views you can find.
Recently my ride in has been a little nerve-wracking. It may have been the heat of the summer, the imminent lay-offs or just general summer irritability but it seemed like there were more aggressive drivers out and about in the Interlocken area. But today’s ride was uneventful when it came to driver/bike interactions and almost pleasant.