Scooters are fun – you probably had one when you were a kid and used it to roam around the neighborhood with your friends. But nowadays, scooters are not just kid’s toys. Lately, scooters are in again, and if you’re in some European countries like the UK, you may see teens or adults whizzing past you on their futuristic-looking mode of transport.
If you want to get to know scooters more, check out the fun facts about them:
The first kick scooters were made from roller skate wheels and a plank of wood
The first kick scooters were handmade in industrial urban areas in Europe and the United States in the 1920s or earlier. A common homemade version was made by removing roller skate wheels from roller skate shoes and attaching them to a small wooden plank. A handle was made using a 2″ x4″ or a piece of pipe strapped to the top of the board. Riders can lean or use a second board connected by a crude pivot to turn. It was an all-wood scooter with 3-4-inch wheels with steel ball bearings.
This type of scooter has a loud noise, like from an actual vehicle, which adds to the fun for children.
The first electric scooter was released in 1915
The history of modern scooters starts with the Autoped. Inventor Arthur Hugo Cecil Gibson was inspired by the battery-operated bicycle and created a motorized scooter himself. In 1913, he filed a patent, and the transport device became known as the Autoped. He first launched the Autoped in 1915, and his patent came into effect in 1916. The inventor set up the Autoped Company in Long Island, New York, to manufacture the scooters. German conglomerate Krupp built the Autoped under license from 1919 to 1922.
The Autoped had an engine and gas tank built over the front wheel and could reach about 30 miles per hour. It also came with a steering column that could be folded onto the platform for easier storage.
When riding the Autoped, the driver had to stand on the platform with 10-inch tires and operate the machine using only the steering column and handlebars, pushing them forward to engage the clutch and using a lever on the handlebar to control the throttle. Then, the rider had to pull the handlebars and column back to disengage the clutch and apply the brake.
The Autoped was revolutionary during its time
The Autoped was far bulkier than the sleek e-scooters we have today and was gas-powered. Nevertheless, it played a significant role in the history of scooters because of its practicality and originality. It was a giant leap forward from the traditional wooden kick scooter.
The specs were also impressive, considering its time. The Autoped had:
- An engine mounted over the front wheel
- A battery from the Eveready Battery Company
- An air-cooled, four-stroke, 155 cc engine
- Speeds of up to 30 miles per hour
- Activated brakes
- Portability due to the collapsible steering column
It was also said that the Autoped could run 125 miles using just a gallon of gasoline. While we know that gas-powered scooters can be dangerous to the environment, it was a colossal move forward during the 1900s, as it was the first installation for the micro-mobility revolution.
Early generation of e-scooters inspired a family of inventors
While cars, electric bikes, and motorbikes seemed to have caused the electric scooter to fade into oblivion – it all changed during the 1980s when everyone changed how they perceived their leisure time.
The 1980s spawned a scooter resurrection through a family of inventors: the Patmont family. In 1985, Steve Patmont patented his motorized scooter, the Go-ped, which revived the early generation of e-scooters and made it ultra-convenient and portable. The Patmont family started their business in the garage and soon became the world leader in scooters.
The scooter craze that we knew was born out of laziness
While the Go-ped revolutionized the scooter, most people fondly remember the Razor as the scooter that sparked the world’s love affair with scooters. Most kids in the early 2000s usually had a Razor-style scooter.
It all began in 1997 when Wim Ouboter wanted to visit his favorite diner in Zurich, Switzerland. He said he was looking for a practical and convenient means of transport to the shop, which was too far for a walk, but not far enough for him to be bothered to get his bicycle that was stored in his cellar.
He was feeling a bit lazy, but this small dilemma became a millennium trend that solved every parent’s question, “What should I get my kid for Christmas?” Ouboter started modernizing the original scooter design to make it lightweight and easy to store and bring anywhere. He founded Micro Mobility Systems in 1999 with his two sons, and since then, the company has created iconic scooters, e-scooters, and kickboards. They are also the leading global brand in short-range mobility.
The Razor kick scooter paved the way for modern e-scooters
In 2001, Wim Ouboter’s Razor kick scooter became a global phenomenon and sold around 7 million units. Two years later, they developed scooters with attached battery packs, which paved the way for modern electric scooters.
Scooters are popular with adults commuting
While kick scooters are often associated with children, they are also popular with adults. In fact, many adults use kick scooters as a way to commute to work or run errands. Many cities have even embraced electric scooters to solve traffic congestion and air pollution. Companies like Lime, Bird, and Spin have launched dockless scooter-sharing programs in cities worldwide, allowing users to rent electric scooters for short trips.
Famous historical figures used to ride e-scooters
The Autoped was widely used back then by businesses, like the post office, which made mail carriers use e-scooters to deliver mail. But the appeal of e-scooters did not only stay with businesses but also famous figures like the suffragette Lady Florence Norman who endorsed its use, making her known as the “Autoped Girl.”
The iconic aviator Amelia Earhart also used the Autoped in the 1930s, and a photograph of her on an e-scooter comes with a caption that reads, “In the near future, we are told, no one will walk at all.”
Celebrities love to ride e-scooters
In many ways, history is cyclical, and it’s no surprise that modern celebrities, influencers, and politicians are riding e-scooters. Ashton Kutcher, Justin Bieber, Gordon Ramsey, Sam Smith, and Sadiq Khan are some of the famous personalities who have been photographed strolling around on e-scooters.
You can cross the USA on a kickscooter for about 21 days
Not necessarily you, but a human can be able to cross the States using a kick scooter for three weeks. Daniel Nielsen, Guinness World Record holder of the “Trans-US on a kick scooter,” crossed the entire United States on a kick scooter in 21 days, 9 hours, and 57 minutes. He left San Diego, California, on November 1, 2001, and arrived at Jekyll Island near Brunswick, Georgia, on November 22. His average was 174 km per day during his 3,827 km journey. He was most productive on his first day, having traveled 222 km on a kick scooter.
Millions of people use e-scooters every year
E-scooters have soared in popularity in recent years. Cities across the UK and the US have embraced scooter-sharing systems that people can rent for urban commutes. In the US alone, the number of e-scooter trips increased to 88.5 million in 2019  from 38.5 million the previous year.
The COVID-19 pandemic did not hurt electric scooter sales
For many businesses, the pandemic caused a decline in sales, but not for e-scooters. In the UK, many companies reported dramatic increases in their e-scooter sales, with some rising by 184%  in November 2020 during the middle of the pandemic and different lockdowns.
They are great for improving balance and coordination
When riding an electric scooter, you’ll do a lot of balancing and stabilizing when moving around corners, stopping, or waiting for your turn at traffic lights. There will be many times when you must keep your body balanced and stable to stop yourself from falling off when making turns. You don’t have to think about the way you have to balance – you just do, and over time, your balance and coordination will improve because of using an electric scooter.
It improves core strength and posture
Closely related to balance and coordination, riding an electric scooter regularly can help improve your posture and core strength. When riding, you tend to think you will turn by gripping the handlebars and pushing the scooter in a certain way, but the truth is, you’re using your core muscles to turn your body the way your head turns. While using the core muscles to make a turn, you’re also working and strengthening them.
And when you’re riding a scooter, you need to stand upright, so you’ll be rarely hunched over. This can help improve your overall posture.
Kick scooters have different wheel sizes
Kick scooters come in various wheel sizes, from small 100mm wheels to larger 200mm wheels. Smaller wheels are more maneuverable, while larger wheels provide a smoother ride.
They can reach fast speeds
While kick scooters are not as fast as electric scooters or gas-powered scooters, they can still reach speeds of up to 15 miles per hour, depending on the rider’s strength and the size of the wheels. Meanwhile, some electric models can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour, making them a fast and efficient mode of transportation.
They are affordable
Kick scooters are an affordable mode of transportation, with many models priced at under $100. As technology advances, electric scooters get more affordable, too. Many models are now priced at under $500, making them an affordable alternative to traditional gas-powered scooters or cars.
They are environmentally friendly
Electric scooters emit no greenhouse gases and are a more environmentally friendly mode of transportation than gas-powered scooters or cars. They are also quiet and produce less noise pollution than traditional vehicles. If you’re an eco-warrior, you’ll take pride in using a mode of transport that’s better for the environment. A moving person on a 30-50 pound scooter takes up a lot more energy than a 3,000-4,000 pound car. So if you’re traveling short distances and don’t need to bring anything big or heavy, use a scooter instead of driving a car!
Scooters are a fun and efficient mode of transportation that’s becoming popular in many cities worldwide. They are environmentally friendly, easy to operate, and customizable, making them an excellent choice for transportation for anyone who wants a convenient way to get around town.