Excited about this rediscovery of cycling, I stumbled upon this new trend that I had heard about before, but never really got into myself. E-scooters. Apparently, they’ve been trending all around the world for the past year or so, but I’ve completely been left out in the cold since I’ve not been on the market for other ways of transport. Now that I think about it, some of my classmates use these almost daily to get to school. In order to get a full experience out of this new trend, I called up my female friend (who wishes to stay anonymous) and asked her to teach me the ropes.
We met in Helsinki to test the new E-scooters since we figured that’s probably the optimal environment for those. We found a few scooters laying on the sidewalk and then we noticed a few city-bicycles in a rack on the other side of the road. Long story short, city bikes are short-time rentable bicycles, that you “rent” using an application on your phone, cycle wherever you need to go and return the bike to another renting station closest to your destination.
We kind of got two birds with one stone here, because we took one E-scooter and one city-bike and switched between them. My family had recently bought a “season subscription” for the entire summer for 30€ so that my little sister could get around easier. It took us a minute to understand how the system worked, but eventually I just asked my sister the code for the bike and off we went. We also discovered a bit more underground way of transport but didn’t have a chance to test it. Next time maybe!
The first city-bike we took had squeaky breaks which was a bit scary, and we ended up changing to another bike that was a bit better. The renting system wasn’t the best and the screen on the bike was almost unreadable. I can tell you that it didn’t make renting or returning the bike any easier when you couldn’t see what was happening from the screen properly. Otherwise the bike was OK, it had three gears to help driving at different speeds and a small basket for groceries or other luggage.
The E-scooter was surprisingly fast, it gained speeds up to 25km/h, which was almost too fast to be driven on the sidewalk among those who walked. Call us lazy, but after testing both of the vehicles, both of us preferred the E-scooter over the city-bike. Both me and her liked that with the E-scooted you didn’t have to put in physical effort. In addition, it was way faster. It’s also worth mentioning, that the renting system was way easier since it was a one-minute process after downloading the app. Assuming you know how to download the app, have an internet connection (not a given for ex. tourists) and a credit card with you. After setting up your profile, renting and returning was extremely easy and you could return the scooter basically anywhere you wanted. There was only one real downside. The battery. We had to switch to another scooter in the halfway of the trip since the first one ran out of battery. Finding a new one was a hassle on its own, but thankfully we were not in a hurry.
In the end, those were for two completely different purposes. The city-bike was meant for everyday-commuting with luggage space, health benefits from cycling and a really affordable long-time renting price. The E-scooter was way more expensive to use, the 4km route cost me 15e, I could’ve almost used a taxi for that price! There is no denying it was a fun, fast and effortless experience for one-time trips in populated cities. All in all, I would definitely use the E-scooter if I was in a rush and I didn’t have much luggage with me. The city bikes and the E-scooters are undeniably a viable option in the city for anyone that wants to get around cheaply, quickly and environment friendly. Given the weather conditions of course…