Yes, I totally took this picture while I was driving. In my defense, I was driving so slowly that I could’ve thatched a basket while typing my second novel and still avoided an accident. Given I followed the scooter pictured above for a good 6 or 7 minutes (which felt more like 25) I had plenty of time to explore my mixed emotions about alternative sources of transportation.
Here is my evaluation of the most popular forms of alternate transportation in my hometown of Minneapolis, MN. Let's start with the most pedestrian varieties and work our way up...
Walking: I like walking. I find it to be incredibly relaxing. But, as a mode of transportation it becomes extremely stressful due to it's slow pace. I hate being late, and I hate wasting time. When I try to negate the slowness factor by speeding up my pace, it definitely moves into the category of exercise. In my world exercise is not stress relieving, it's a necessary byproduct of my entitled American existence.
Running: Sooooooo much work. And sweat. I sweat a lot. Alas, Minnesota is a very healthy state so running is kind of a big deal here. In fact, Forbes magazine rates Minneapolis as the healthiest city in the US. In a different article Forbes Magazine also listed Minneapolis as one of the Top 10 cities in America for runners. It's important to note that they did factor in the weather in making this decision. One of two things is happening here. Either Minneapolis is a pretty good place for healthy runner types, or Forbes magazine is being paid off by the mayor.
Shoes with various wheels...
Roller Blades: Meh. Unless you went to college in the late 90's (like me) you probably don't really give a crap about roller blades. I, on the other hand, rollerbladed my way to class for the entire 4.5 years I attended the University of Minnesota. Well... that’s not entirely true, I hung up the blades over the winter months. During a Minnesota winter all of the options listed in this post are virtually unavailable to anyone who values their life.
Roller Skates: While this has to be one of the least efficient forms of alternate transportation, increased cool points are awarded to anyone wearing roller skates anywhere... except through airport security lines... the TSA frowns on that. Check out the Minnesota Roller Girls to see what I mean.
Heelys: I was too old to catch this trend, but I remember 8 year old kids rolling past me in the aisles at Target in the early-2000's. I probably rollerbladed to Target that day and those same kids thought, "What the hell does that lady have on her feet?" It’s OK kids, I asked myself the same question when I saw you in Target.
Longboards: Every hipster in Minneapolis has a longboard, which they ride to various degrees of success. I would love to see a graphical depiction of the increase in longboard accidents involving people wearing beanies in 80 degree weather. I hate myself for thinking these people are cooler than me.
Bikes: Thanks to bicycling.com I now know that Minneapolis has been rated at the #1 city for cyclists. I wonder if the writers at bicycling.com factored in the vast number of single speed bikes being ridden by hipsters who have recently been in longboarding accidents? Hipsters... Travel & Leisure magazine did rank Minneapolis as one of the Top 5 snobbiest cities in America.
Bikes with winter tires are pretty cool and hardcore Minnesotans with zero risk aversion totally ride them all year long.
Scooters: Is it wrong that I think the option of scooters should only be available to women? Why would a fully grown man (big enough to handle a motorcycle) choose to ride something that sounds like a weed whacker and has a top speed of 20 mph (this is entirely based on my experience with the scooter pictured above). There's nothing less manly than a dude on a scooter when he's not riding it to be ironic. I will make one notable exception for University of Minnesota football players. I'm pretty sure when they hand out jerseys they also hand out Vespas. Unlike the jersey's, the scooters are one size fits all.
Motorcycles: They are super cool... no doubt about it. But whenever one passes me going 80 mph on the freeway I whisper "organ donor" as they pass by.
Smart Cars: Parking = Huge plus. Fuel efficiency = #winning. So many pluses. But in a city dominated by SUV's and ice for half the year, tiny cars are a risky move. Have you ever seen one of these things after an accident? I think I could run into one while rollerblading and do more damage to the car than it would to me. Heaven only knows what a well-padded, winter hipster could do to a smart car!
Thus ends my thoughts on alternative forms of transportation.
What are your thoughts on this topic? What types did I miss?