There are so many ways to get around Austin, but if you want to try touring downtown on scooters, here are 10 steps to making sure your first time is a big success.
One – Eat a Good Breakfast
Here’s how we decided to go:
Brenda emails LifeGroup: Hey, anyone want to get breakfast and try scooters on Saturday morning?
LifeGroup replies: One couple is available (and game). The others were big fat Saturday morning chickens! (or already had plans)
Sherry and Bryan love a good adventure. They’re like us – transplanted emptynesters living downtown, not tending to a yard every weekend, saying “why not?” to lots of new experiences – like Taco Shack and scooters!
Two – Download the App
Several scooter companies have a presence in Austin; however, of the most visible brands, Lime-S is by far my favorite. Feel free to try others, though, and let me know what you think about them.
Here are a few reasons why I prefer Lime-S:
The scooters themselves are more substantial in their structure.
The handlebars are higher.
There’s a little bell on the handlebar that you can ring when passing pedestrians.
The traveling speed is given on a digital readout screen in the middle of the handlebars.
The platform where you stand is slightly wider.
There’s a red light just above the back wheel that stays on when you’re riding.
The brakes are good.
The scooter has a kickstand.
The app is easy to use.
Green is my favorite color!
Three – Scan to Ride
Once you’ve downloaded the app and entered your payment information, start hunting down a scooter. The map shows where they’re located. Unless you’re riding at peak times (rush hour, Saturday night), there will be plenty of available Lime-S scooters. Here are a few steps in the process:
The app will ask you for permission to access your phone’s camera.
When you’ve located a scooter, press the scan to ride button on the app.
Hold your phone over the bar code on the scooter’s handlebars.
The app will respond with a tone and it will complete the rental for you.
Prepare for takeoff!
Four – Ask a Passerby to Take Your Photo
Most people who are walking around downtown are tourists, but even if they’re locals, no one minds being asked to take a photo. So, don’t feel like you can’t ask. Everyone’s enjoying the experience!
Five – Designate a Leader
There’s a lot to watch for on a good scooter ride in downtown Austin; i.e., people on bikes, people on foot, cars, buses, dogs, and more! It helps to have a leader who will clear your crossings and alert his followers to any danger ahead; i.e., cracks in the sidewalk.
In this video, Bryan assures us that he sees no signs ahead which would bar us from toodling around the Capitol Building.
Good to know, Bryan. Nobody in this group wants to have to call the kids for a bailout!
Six – Get Your Bearings
Bryan got his bearings quick, and so did Sherry! All it takes to start the scooter is three scoots with one foot while the other keeps the balance point. Then stand with both feet on the platform and away you go! I noticed that Sherry felt a little more in control when she allowed her left foot to hang ever so slightly off the edge of the platform.
The scooters will actually go 20 MPH (yikes!), but it’s so much safer to keep your speed down to about 7 MPH. That’s probably about as fast as these two were going in this video.
If you scooter down the sidewalks, don’t ride too close to the building. People come out of the doors, and it’s all kinds of scary when you’re the one walking out to the sight of a scooter about to run right over you.
Slow down and watch carefully when you’re coming up to an alley entrance or parking garage exit. The cars aren’t expecting a whizzing scooter to approach from their periphery. That’s the dangerous part.