Alt-Wheels Notes #11

Four cars stopped at a red light. Source.

What Are Alt-Wheels?

Alternative Wheels. I don’t like the term “micromobility.” In fact, I hate it. It sounds like tiny wheelchairs. The person who coined that marketing term apparently never saw TV ads in American for “mobility devices” — which are basically motorized wheelchairs. Alt-Wheels are these: pedal bikes, kick bikes, handbikes, recumbent bikes, pedal tricycles, electric tricycles, electric bikes, kick skateboards, electric skateboards, kick scooters, electric scooters, electric unicycles, and the Onewheel. In Singapore, anything small and electric is separated from that bunch and they’re called PEVs: Personal Electric Vehicles. (And, by the way, while cyclists look to Denmark, it’s Singapore that’s the world leader in electric Alt-Wheels.) I don’t like using the term “vehicle” because that’s a legal term. And if governments start considering Alt-Wheels as that, we’ll have “rider’s ed,” registration, licensing, and insurance requirements for all of them. And that damn well should not happen until Alt-Wheels have street parity with cars, trucks, motorcycles, buses, and everything else of that ilk, gas or electric.

New York State/City

The Alt-Wheels bills are still in limbo:

See the Assembly and Senate websites for yourself: Assembly Bill A7431B, Senate Bill S5294A, and Senate Bill S6597.

Cars Are Radiators On Wheels


And that’s why there are four radiators as the opening photos of this post. People think only of the emissions they release. They also release heat. From their engines and their exhaust. They’re radiators on wheels.

There is no consensus on how much heat cars contribute. Urban Heat Island descriptions tend to minimize whatever contribution cars make. And my mind was bent at the ping-pong debate which goes on for pages and pages at: Waste heat vs greenhouse warming. Anthropogenic heat from cars is shrugged off or ignored. The debate over global warming is about atmospheric gases in bulk. Surface-level temperature increases due to cars seems not to be of great concern. I don’t believe it’s as insignificant as they say. I think no one has created a way to properly measure it. Even so, weather reports give us temperature and a Heat Index. Isn’t it time to start thinking about a Traffic Heat Index too?

A car is a car even when it’s electric but this is worth knowing:

Also see: Why Won’t New York City Ask People To Ditch Their Cars On Hot Days?


That’s probably because there’s no traffic in Death Valley.

Electric Scooters

I was wary of scooters. Now I may buy one.

But on a work trip to Austin, I needed a quick and easy way to maneuver around the city. “Try a scooter,” my colleague suggested. The app on my phone had an icon of a frame and two wheels that showed me where the nearest one was. I used the app’s prompt to scan the QR (matrix bar code) on the handlebars, which unlocked the scooter. A flip of the kickstand, a couple of pushes off the pavement, a slight press on the throttle, and I was off — and hooked.

With wind flapping my hair, I had the sense of floating as I zoomed around downtown. It was as if Isaac Asimov’s vision of accelerating strips, his road and sidewalk conveyor belts, had come true, except even better, since I could control exactly where to go.

Back in Alexandria, I began to use scooters for short trips: to pick up a forgotten item at the grocery store; to attend a local meeting; to swing by the smoothie place. The idea of driving a three-ton vehicle two miles in excessive traffic and circle city blocks looking for metered parking suddenly seemed foolish and impractical.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Why Buying a Premium Scooter is the Most Cost-Effective Thing You Can Do

Boosted Rev vs. Scooter Share

If a person rents a scooter to commute to and from work at the well-established price of about $4 per ride [1], that adds up to $8 per day, or $40 per five-day week. Over a year, this amounts to over $2,000, and over two years it swells to over $4,000! And that’s just the cost of taking two rides a day.

The reality is that most people take short trips much more frequently throughout the day—to grab a coffee, get lunch, meet friends, and run errands. More realistically, a person takes three to four rides a day, including weekends. Renting a scooter for even four rides per day at $4 per ride quickly adds up to $4,000 per year, or $8,000 over two years. In addition, there’s no guarantee that you will have a scooter waiting outside your apartment or restaurant the minute you step out. Someone else may have swiped (or rented) your scooter!

It seems Boosted has to put its foot down on the marketing throttle.

Boosted, here’s the problem. I buy one, I ride from A to B. But once at B, what do I do with it? I can’t just leave it on the sidewalk like a rental eScooter. There’s no Ooneepod, no other kind of secure parking, and locking it up to a bike fixture in public turns it into a magnet for thieves and vandals. Want to entice people into buying one? Partner with Oonee. Splash an ad on the site that screams, “Park Your Boosted Rev Here!” Oonee and Boosted belong together.

Electric Skateboards

My 97 raptor 2 wheels after a year of riding in NYC.

I ride from Astoria to midtown over the 59th Street bridge to give you an idea of my daily commute.

Here are some details of that commute:

30 minutes give or take. 4.3 miles. It’s faster than the subway for sure.

This mixes eSkateboards, eScooters, and an eBike: The best personal EVs for any commute. As far as I can tell, their criteria for inclusion was whatever free electric skateboards they had been been sent. Ignore their eSk8 verdicts. They are wrong.

Last Kick



Derby’s e-bike scheme to close due to vandalism

Tim Caswell, owner and managing director of Hourbike, said: “It’s with great regret that the e-bikes Derby electric bike-share scheme has to close. Until spring this year, the scheme had been incredibly popular and successful with students, commuters and residents across Derby.

“However, after the recent spate of intensive and aggressive vandalism targeting our e-bikes, Hourbike cannot financially afford to sustain the scheme going forward, the costs of repair are too significant. We would like to extend a big thank you to the people and businesses of Derby who made the scheme such a success.”

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

I’ll keep repeating this until people begin saying it spontaneously in the wild:

Jordan Peterson: Making Things Worse (Short)

In Derby’s case, they do know how much better things would be if people stopped making things worse. They’d have rental eBikes.

Additional news, elsewhere:

Posted once a day: Transportation Alternatives Daily Bike Forecast by Bike Snob NYC

Has a Morning Links compilation: Biking in LA

Updated many times a day: Streetsblog and Streetsblog NYC

Previously here:

Alt-Wheels Notes category

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