Life + Arts

Transportation methods cross the pond

This summer, I decided to take a vacation — one that would be a nice weekend getaway without draining my bank account. After sorting through my options, I decided to make a trip to Galveston. After all, I thought, what’s the cost — a cheap hotel and gas, right?

After filling up to get there, again for the weekend’s festivities and then filling up a third time for my summer school class on Monday morning, I was broke. It is no secret that the cost of gasoline has kept most of us down and out of money this summer.

As is the case for many college students, the depletion of your bank account this summer was not from a trip to Las Vegas, but from the rising cost of gasoline. Even in a fuel-efficient vehicle, it can cost upwards of $50 for an entire tank of gas.

It seems as though a few Cougars finally got fed up with constantly having to fill their gas tank and empty their wallets and are seeking alternative methods of transportation.

What is this new wallet-friendly mode of transportation? Is it walking, skateboarding or fixed-gear bicycles? The answer is none of these — it’s scooters. And I’m not talking about the Razor scooter you had in seventh grade — students are channeling our friends from across the Atlantic and employing motor scooters to get around town.

There are several shops around Houston that sell and maintain scooters, but only a select few that really cater to a new and wary buyer. ScooterSmith on Yale street specializes in The Genuine Buddy scooters, but also carries vintage Vespas along with other popular brands.

Steve Smith, the owner of ScooterSmith, said that scooters are an extremely cost-efficient mode of transportation.

“Scooters are an economical way to get around campus,” Smith said. “The Buddy Scooter gets around 100 miles to the gallon, it is legal and safe to park it a bike rack, and insurance costs around $80 a year. Parts are cheap and the outside is a heavy-duty plastic that keeps the cost of any necessary repairs to a minimum.

“Scooters also have a social aspect. I have a scooter club called The Scooter Battalion that meets on the first Sunday of every month at Beer Island in the Heights. I know there are also a few UH students in the club.”

Yes, there are motorcycle clubs, chess clubs, and now there are even scooter clubs. Similar to motorcycle clubs, The Scooter Battalion organizes rides, but the lack of burly men in leather jackets on hogs and the brighter color scheme of scooters is what sets this club apart.

If you’re looking to save a few dollars and change up your look while you’re at it, trading in your car for a motor scooter might be the answer that you’re looking for.

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