An underrated ride caught between a skate and a bike, the scooter has a surprising historical backdrop that will give it a new light.
Here are the 5 unbelievable historical facts about kick scooters you didn’t know about. And if you haven’t got one you can check our list of best kick scooters in 2018 and here for best e-scooter buyer’s guide.
No. 1 The first scooter was hand-made by kids
You have the imaginative kids of yesterday to thank for today’s kick scooter.
Tired of the of the roller skate, they tried something new by creating what we all know as the kick scooter.
These kids really redefined fun!
They attached a wooden plank on or across two of their roller skate, removing the shoe part of course. A 2×4 wood or bigger was then vertically stuck at the tip of the plank of wood, making a prototype of the kick scooter. It goes to show that kick scooter was always built for fun before it was a form of transportation.
And because imagination has no limit, some kids decorated their wooden scooters with just about anything. You’ll find scooters with different paint colors and even place bottle caps around them. It was just too bad that it couldn’t last long since wood deteriorates faster.
Kick scooters, however, evolved and used more durable materials. So it’s no wonder why years after the scooter is still part of every child’s wish list.
No. 2 Amelia Earhart used it as transportation
One iconic transport for one iconic woman. You may have known Amelia Earhart as the first female aviator who crossed the Atlantic Ocean. But, while she can fly a plane; she can definitely take a scooter.
In the 1930s, a printed picture of Amelia riding on an Autoped was published with the caption “In the near future, we are told, no one will walk at all. As a further step-saver, here is Amelia Earhart with her new 15-mile-an-hour vehicle at Burbank, California.” If there is one thing they’ve predicted is that a scooter, even a kick scooter at that, will be widely used as transportation.
During that time, Amelia used the scooter greatly around the airport lessening walks and moving from place to place faster. She even had her students aboard while she was giving her lessons.
For us, Amelia taught us the lesson of understanding how things work to better take advantage of them.
No. 3 Scooter was instrumental in the fight for women’s rights
While I was browsing for kick scooters, I came across a woman riding a motorized scooter clad in a full floor-length dress and in sepia colors. It piqued attention, so I did a little research only to find out that it was the Lady Florence Norman.
Lady Florence was one of the Suffragettes, which is an organisation of women fighting for women empowerment, mobilising the female population to fight for the right to vote.
It was around the year 1915 to 1916 that she was photographed with what some considered as the first scooter. The motorized scooter was used as a transport getting to and from work. Even with the presence of cars during her time, Lady Florence chose to use the scooter given by her husband to get her to places. A convenience that an important lady realised.
More than just a child’s toy, the scooter played a significant albeit indirect role in one of the biggest historical events for women (and men).
No. 4 The first modern kick scooter was from Switzerland
In a surprising turn of events, the scooter took the backseat from the motorized one as it only in the 1990’s that the modern kick scooter took a new life.
A former banker from Zurich, Wim Ouboter, spend over about ten years to finally create a modern kick scooter in micro version. Maybe the kick scooter was just waiting for him to finally launch and became a craze from Japan to the US.
Wim started to like the kids’ wooden ancient version using two skates. Scooters were not totally new to him because his sister has a leg problem, one shorter than the other. So she cannot do exciting rides like bikes and skis. The Eureka moment for him, however, was when he thought his favorite sausage shop was too far to walk and too near for a car— calling it “microdistance”. Hence, the manufacturer’s name Micro.
No. 5 Scooters evolved in many forms through the years
With people wanting more products that specifically suits their needs, the scooter has evolved in different forms.
Wim, through Micro, further introduced the folding scooter wanting the ride to fit and feel like a luggage for those who want light and compact kick scooter. Micro also did not pass up on developing one of the lightest electric scooters for those who want light and functional daily travel.
It did not just end with Wim, other manufacturers such as Railz transformed scooters into a snow scooter. Railz meant it for recreational snow scooter rides. But, many find it useful during the winter, allowing them to ride through the snow easily.
Some riders enjoyed other scooter upgrades like three-wheeled and four-wheeled ones for the children and those used by adults for stunts and professional scooter competition.
The list of other unique and exciting developments is too long that it might need a different post of its own. One thing is for sure though; scooters is bound to transform our lives.