On Scooting

I am a Scooterist.

Two weekends past, Emma and I became the proud owners of a pair of push-Scooters. The kind that were all the rage for kids a few years ago.Emma on Scooter

We took off to the sports shop down on Pitt Street that Sunday afternoon, flushed with excitement, unsure what to expect. I have to admit that part of me thought we would buy these things and then never ride them.

How wrong I can (frequently) be!!

We rode them for the first time in Hyde Park, tenatively, trying out the brakes, getting used to which leg feels most comfortable where. We rode all the way down to Lady Macquarie’s Chair, around the through the Botanic Gardens, Circular Quay, and then home.

I’ve been hooked ever since.

The sensation of Scooting never fails to spread a cheesy grin all over my face. There’s a part of me that is whispering, “you are clearly too old for this, you should definitely not be enjoying it.”
“Yes”, I whisper back, “but I am”…
and then I sail away through the men in suits, push, push, glide…

The Scooter is the ultimate City conveyance. It is capable of being ridden at the same speed as the pedestrians on a crowded footpath, able to duck quickly through the gaps that sometimes appear. You can fold it up, tuck it under your arm, and go shopping in David Jones. And when you find a long straight stretch, with a gentle decline. You can cut loose, stick your tongue out, and grin like a dog in a panel van.

In the lead up to the Sydney Olympics, the main streets of the CBD where all repaved with large granite pavers.
I recently watched a short documentary about the process of creating a granite paver, so I can appreciate the truly immense amount of energy and expense that went into this refurbishment.
It was all worth it though…
I want to wring the hand of the body who came up with that plan. We have created a Scooter’s paradise.

In Circular Quay we were stopped by a City Ranger, a nice young bloke. He told us that we weren’t allowed to ride in that area, too many touristy people. He was very apologetic. “Just doing my job”, he said.
…Yes… well,
So am I.
He is a Ranger,
I am a Scooterist.
We live on different sides of the footpath, we approach the pavement with utterly divergent agendas. He might be nice enough, but we could never be friends. It’s like Montagues and Capulets.

A couple of days later, I was sharply reminded of an element of childhood that seems to have been edited out of my mental-highlights tape:

Childhood consists in a large part of whizzing around on things. I was a fool to ever give that up. I gained nothing as an adolescent that adequately replenished the hole left by not whizzing around.
But somehow I forgot that whizzing around as a kid also involved a constant sucession of cuts, and bruises, and scrapes.
I don’t think I actually knew what my knee caps looked like without scabs until I was 14.

This would have been handy to remember at the top of Margaret Street, around 5pm, last Thursday evening.

There is a rather exciting little drop in the road here as it heads down toward Darling Harbour. About 1/2 way down I found that the brakes on a Scooter don’t really work at all once you’ve built up speed.
Quickly calculating that I had approximately no chance of survival if I continued to ride it down the block and into the peak-hour traffic on Sussex St, I dismounted.
Unfortunately the ground was moving very fast and I initially missed it. I rolled around a bit in the street and left some skin behind, but eventually managed to finish my stopping maneuver.

On reflection, I’m reminded that growing up was quite painful at times.

Still… Scooters are a lot of fun.
….Whizzing around is a lot of fun – however you do it.
It’s ok to have a cheesy grin of delight at something fun and innocent.

Our Father gave this world to be a delight, Delicious! Marvellous! for his Beloved children.

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