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Fold-Up Bike Alternative

Funny what you'll bump into during a cruise around our country's waterways. While recently returning from a little jaunt up the Atlantic ICW and back, Betty Jane (that's her in the background, of course) and I happened to meet a couple of seafaring folks with a slap-yer-knee-and-scratch-yer-head  form of shoreside transport onboard. The gizmo's called a Xootr and you'll find scads of 'em for sale at most boat shows these days.

"Well, I'll be beat with a boathook," I remarked to Dan Lunsford, shown above. Dan had just unfolded his Xootr and elevated its handlebars, seemingly so he and his wife Jaye (who had an identical Xootr) could take an early-morning tour of the delights of the island we were all visiting.

My surprise was understandable. My childhood recollections of kick scooters were not one-hundred-proof positive. Yeah, they were kinda fun. But long-distance runners? With practical, go-someplace speed? Nah, not really. Bikes were faster. And cooler too.

Dan jumped into an explanation with enthusiasm. Each of the couple's Xootrs, he said,  had cost about $229. Each had ultra-low-resistance polyurethane tires for a super-efficient glide. Each folded up nicely so it could be easily carried into a restaurant and stowed under a table. And each was exceptionally lightweight, since it was made in part from lightweight magnesium. Check out the closeup below:

Dan described a few other features as we waited for Jaye to join us. In my highly self-preservation-motivated opinion, the most critical of the lot was the front brake, nicely hooked up to a BMX-style brake lever on the handlebars.

"Brakes are important," Dan confided just before I inquired, "So Dan, you mind if I give 'er a spin just to see how she works?"

"Be my guest," he replied with almost-next-door neighborliness. The couple's well-traveled Cinderella was docked just a couple of boats down the dock, after all.

So?

Whoooooeeeeeeeee! Even with faint-hearted kicks, the Xootr offers a ride that's way beyond anything I experienced during my younger, knee-high-to-a-bollard days. I mean...fellow boaters! The wheels are so nearly frictionless--sorta like the wheels on a high-end, greased-lightning skateboard--that zipping down the dock felt like a jet-propelled, magic-carpet ride to me, despite the fact that the planking was old and pretty uneven.

Speed?

Well, I dunno. Unfortunately, I didn't have a radar gun onboard slow-mo, it's-the-journey-not-the-destination Betty. But hey, my take-away from my little  test spin is that I'd have no trouble at all getting around town with this new, high-tech, kick-type scooter. Even if getting around entailed a mile or two. Or even three or four. And Dan's right about that brake, big-time....it kept yours truly from shooting right off the end of the dock into the drink!

The only downside to the whole deal, I suppose, was the collection of oddball looks I got while whizzing past at a rousing rate with a giant, half-insane grin on my face. Seemed to freak out the uninitiated, I'm afraid.

And oh. If you're interested in buying your very own Xootr, call: 800-816-2724.