I have a major problem with adults who use kick scooters to get around: They’re too darn zippy. Every time I spot one — which is maybe twice a year — I dig into my purse to grab a notebook and pen, only to turn back and see that my potential interview subject is already three blocks away. So when I got a tip about die-hard scooter commuter Tom Geyer, 43, I caught up with him by phone.
His scooter streak started 2½ years ago when Geyer, LivingSocial’s director of experience design, wanted to design a better experience for himself. His epic trek starts at his home in Baltimore’s Federal Hill, takes him to the Camden MARC Station, then on to Union Station and finally to his office near the Washington Convention Center.
To save time, he’d taken to running to and from the train, but that left him icky and stinky. He’d debated buying a folding bike, but the price and hassle turned him off.
That’s when Geyer remembered riding a kick scooter on a trip to the San Juan Islands, near Seattle, and thought he’d give it a try here. So, for about $100, he purchased the Razor A5 Lux — a sturdy model designed to support up to 220 pounds on its extra-large urethane wheels.
The last detail is key: “I couldn’t do it with little wheels. You’d be risking your life if there’s a crack in the street.”
The scooter is stable, and comes equipped with brakes, so other than the time he tripped himself up while trying to switch leg position mid-glide, Geyer’s never had to worry about injuries. Or much else. It’s been “perfect,” says Geyer, who brags that he can complete the 1½-mile D.C. leg of his journey in as little as eight minutes.
He once attempted to do it in seven, and then wondered why everyone was staring. Turns out, Geyer creates a considerable amount of friction when he’s rushing. “I had scooted so hard that I’d torn the crotch out of my khakis,” he says.
Even when properly clothed, Geyer has dealt with plenty of stares. Being a scooter commuter, he says, inspires people driving by to roll down their windows and shout taunts questioning his masculinity.
Geyer doesn’t let it bug him, especially now that some of the jokers seem to seriously be considering the scooter switch, too. “I went through this moment where people found it funny, but now naysayers are asking questions,” he says.
He can tell them that he is able to keep up with — or even beat — anyone else riding in the bike lanes. He never wastes time parking or locking or docking. (“It’s so easy to flip it up and walk into my building,” he says.) And the scooter’s made him extra popular with kids in his neighborhood, including his 3-year-old daughter, who has a three-wheel scooter she rides around their house.
The only reason not to try scooting or scootering or whatever the verb is? You might find me chasing after you with a notebook and a few questions.