Scooters a hot new trend on Truckee streets
Every year it’s something – Pokemon, Yo-yos, Beanie Babies – a new fad or toy that kids just have to have.
This year, the months during summer break allowed for the popularity of a new kind of scooter to materialize. It’s the Razor Board, or the Raptor Skate Scooter (just to name two brands), a small non-motorized scooter that has Roller Blade-sized wheels, a tight turning radius, adjustable sizing and the ability to fold up and fit into a backpack.
“I got mine three weeks ago,” said 13-year-old Tony Lavezzo. He said he started seeing kids with them last year and most of his friends now have them. He said he sees both boys and girls riding them around town, ranging in ages between five and 16 years old.
“I ride it everywhere and do tricks on it. I just have fun on it,” he said. “A bunch of kids take them to school and I just ride them around if I need to get places.”
Lavezzo, who also skateboards a little, said the scooters are cool for these reasons: they fold up real small, you can do fun tricks on them such as jumps and 180 degree turns, and it has a rear wheel brake you step on.
Different companies make different versions of the scooter, said Stephanie Wilhelms, owner of the Sports Exchange in Truckee, but the first one was the Razor Board.
Wilhelms was at an outdoor retailer show two weeks ago in Salt Lake City, and said she saw them everywhere. She ordered a shipment of 20 Raptor Skate Scooters and half the shipment sold in just over a week.
“Everybody’s got them on their minds,” Wilhelms said. “At the outdoor retailer show people were cruising the aisles with them.”
And it’s not just little kids, but also bigger kids and adults who are into them, she said.
“The height can be adjusted for different-sized kids,” she said.
The Raptor scooters cost an average of $89.99.
“They’re a real hit,” said Sports Exchange salesperson Sara Johnson, who tried one out herself by buzzing by clothing racks and making sharp turns around kayak displays.
She said the only negative thing she has heard about the scooters from a customer is one woman who said they were in her way when she was walking with her baby in Tahoe City.
The scooters aren’t allowed on sidewalks or anywhere a skateboard isn’t allowed in town.
Other brands, such as Razor, Xooter and Oxygen, range in price from $80 to $400. There are gas-powered and electric models as well, which can be also be seen and heard buzzing around Truckee.
The newest upgraded version of the Razor Board – made by the company Sharper Image, which introduced the roller-blade type scooters to the U.S. last year – is called the Razor Wheel.e. Sharper Image calls it its “super-popular, gleaming, aircraft-grade aluminum scooter.” This board features a wheelie bar for increased maneuverability. It adjusts in height from 23 to 35 inches, measures 22 inches long and folds easily to be compact and stowable, weight 6.5 pounds.
Not everyone is thrilled with the scooters’ popularity. Bert Wagener, a 35-year-old local skateboarder, said sometimes the scooters get in the way at the skateboard park.
“It’s not that we don’t like them,” he said, “it’s just something different.” He said most of the kids riding scooters just circle the deck, but don’t use the park ramps for tricks.
“They just kind of get in the way. We see it has another fad and next year it won’t be scooters, it will be something different,” he said. “That park is really a skater’s park and anything else seems kind of awkward.”
He said that it takes proficiency to ride a skate board or Roller Blades, but beginners can cruise around easily on a scooter. That brings a lot of kids who aren’t used to skating to the skate park, he said.
“As long as the kids are having fun and not damaging the park, though, it’s no big deal.”
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