How To: Scooter Like A Champ (While Also Waging War Against the Powers That Be)

Riding with style is Photo by Luu Nguyen Ride with style and look cool doing so.
Photo by Luu Nguyen


Scooters are cool. People may laugh and mockingly compliment this childish-looking device, but deep down they secretly want one. The “oddball” on the scooter covers almost a mile in about seven minutes. They’re jealous when their unsightly bike rolls around in the underbelly of the ASU Shuttle while this svelte scooter collects flaccid recycled air above. The rider of this vogue-looking contraption looks increasingly alluring as he weaves in and out of a crowd, whilst a bicyclist transforms a simple stroll down Forest Mall into a gauntlet for all those keeping a casual pace. It’s my pleasure to present an etiquette guide for taming these contraptions for any consumer.


Look the part

Looking like you rolled out of bed should never be permissible on a scooter. Dress with some class. How about a button-down shirt under a striped sweater? Maybe layer a leather jacket over that on an even colder day. Goose pimples make you look less manly. Roll up your sleeves. People will know that you mean business. With a bit of luck, people will look upon you with appreciation, instead of befuddlement and ridicule.

Look the Part from The State Press on Vimeo.


Signal Intent

Similar to how everyone becomes nervous at the sight of an erratic driver, no one dreams of the day they careen into a person at 20 miles per hour. Which way are they going? Right? Left? Straight? Your fellow traveler might appreciate it when they find out. It will put them at ease.

Signal Intent from The State Press on Vimeo.


Be Courteous of Other People Walking

When the scooter rider jets from one side of the campus to the other, he should abide the utmost make for himself and his fellow man: avoid collisions, at all costs. That said, there’s a difference between observing the personal space of the people strolling in ahead, and blowing past them just so they can watch your 501s dissolve into the horizon.

Be Courteous of Other People Walking from The State Press on Vimeo.


Be A Fiend on Two-Wheels…

Blur into the distance of their peripherals: That’s the goal of the mighty scooter. It fosters contempt in the bus driver who tries to skip your bus stop in an attempt to make his destination sooner. You beat him to it. Now methodically fold the scooter after you board to rub salt in that canyon-sized wound. Can’t do that on a bicycle. God gave you this splendid zephyr of a machine for a reason — anger those in authority.

Be a Fiend on Two-Wheels from The State Press on Vimeo.

…Yet Ride Vigilantly 

Lapping geriatric jalopies does not give you the right to gallivant around town with reckless abandon. No. You can’t go riding around with an alphabet soup brain. This means sporadically applying those brakes in the back. You may experience a fleeting moment of panic when they’re applied for the first time, yet nothing’s more sublime than avoiding head-on impacts and looking like a pro when you do it. It’s better than becoming cracked egg goo on cement

…Yet Ride Vigilantly from The State Press on Vimeo.


When in closed spaces, fold if possible

While the bike catches flies crucified on the grill of the municipal bus, the scooter sits comfortably in the lap of its rider, the one it calls “owner.” Your chariot in miniature knows that it has deferred the same punishment as that devil bike. Fight the man, but not your fellow traveler.

Make room, not war. Photo by Luu Nguyen Make room, not war.
Photo by Luu Nguyen


Treat Your Scooter Like Your Mother…or Not

Scooters rank among some of the grandest creations in all of transportation. Like something that Philomelus created on his day off. Recognize their significance in the grand scheme of all things, and admit their limitations. Avoid at all costs those dastardly potholes or other obstacles that threaten to screw up your steering alignment. (I learned the hard way.)


Rock out to the music that fits the ride.

Find your groove then make your move. Photo by Luu Nguyen Find your groove then make your move.
Photo by Luu Nguyen

Listening to the consistent pitch of wind wiz by your ears can get lonely on those long treks, which makes the need for epic riding music of paramount importance. Something as simple as the trip from the dorms to the Moeur Building in Tempe should carry the gravity of saving the world from Bond villains. For such journeys, sample some of John Barry’s best orchestrations from those films. For a sojourn of complete anarchy, how about Combination of the Two by Big Brother & The Holding Company? Top off your playlist with some L.A. Woman and Sweet Home Chicago by The Blues Brothers for the return trip.


There you have it. A guide to looking like a pro and bluffing cool as you make your way around slowpokes, and fight the weasels at every turn. Trade that numb rear in for a slightly less numbed leg when you kick like the wind on the scooter. It’s freedom that you can carry on you back. Keep riding, and remember to scoot, don’t walk.


Reach the writer (and rider) at or via Twitter @TaylorFromPhx and contact the videographer @luu_t_nguyen or at

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