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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:20 pm 
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This sort of thing:

Image

Anyone use 'em? Pros? Cons? Recommendations?

I'm looking to buy, not rent.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:52 am 
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No experience and I don't see the point of them as I find bicycles so much more useful.

But could you rent one for a day to try it out? I didn't see the point of e-bikes either till I had to rent one while on holiday and I saw how fabulous they can be (if you get a good one). Nothing's good as hands-on experience...


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:00 pm 
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Kade1301 wrote:
No experience and I don't see the point of them as I find bicycles so much more useful.

But could you rent one for a day to try it out? I didn't see the point of e-bikes either till I had to rent one while on holiday and I saw how fabulous they can be (if you get a good one). Nothing's good as hands-on experience...

Due to physical issues, bicycles - which I too would much prefer - are out of the picture, unfortunately.

Sure, e-scooters can be rented where I live. That's not going to be of much help, though, because I already have a pretty good idea about operation, handling, and the general experience. I even know what I'm looking for, and know which brands I'm leaning toward. Issues with those, though, range among high cost, being out of stock because of brand popularity, or my reluctance to not buy American, which (except for availability, of course) are nevertheless points open to some negotiation. Another reason not to rent is ease of access: I would have to go out of my way to lay hands on the rentals, which for me means driving the car or taking the bus or a cab, and which in turn rather negates the whole point for my purposes.

Even if I could walk out my door and rent one right there, the e-scooter rental industry is completely in its infancy here in the Twin Cities, and it seems to me that it's geared more toward fun rather than hardcore utility. All of which is fine, but I need dependability for commutes involving appointments, not larking about in my free time, and for now I don't have that kind of confidence in what's available for rental.

What it comes down to is that despite general appearances, these scooters are not all alike. They all have different strengths and weaknesses in varying combination, and the differences can be significant if you're looking for more than just a joyride. I've been scouring the Web for info and it's been helpful, but I was hoping to hear Chiffers' experiences too, more for nuance and in case I'd missed anything.

I also know full well that at the moment scooters are très uncool. Well, you can't get any more uncool than me, so why not ironically embrace the contempt, and add insult to injury? Hipsters take note.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:39 pm 
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Where will you put your harp when you go to the pub? It doesn’t look like it has much instrument storage room.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:02 am 
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A recumbent tricycle wouldn't work for you either? Then I have just one general tip which transfers from e-bikes: I found a model I liked enough to buy in the shop closest to me which is owned and manned by a mechanic who inspires confidence (and the bike was in stock, and the vendor rather eager to get rid of it, so he reduced the price a bit) - it is not the optimum in e-bikes, quality-wise, but it worked almost perfectly for 4000 km. And then it didn't - and I was very happy that I just had to take it back to this close-by shop and the owner got a replacement part from the factory and changed it for me (for the past 400 km it's been fine again).

The point I'm trying to make: With electrics and electronics there can always be a faulty part and generally we have neither the skills, tools or spare parts to do repairs on our own (and the parts are not always easily available). So customer service is important, and in the end it might be worth it to pay even a higher price from a decent shop rather then look for the cheapest online offer.

Regarding the "Made in America" thing - my bike is "Made in France" - but all the parts are Chinese. I'm not sure whether assembling them in France changes a lot...

Nanohedron wrote:
...

Even if I could walk out my door and rent one right there, the e-scooter rental industry is completely in its infancy here in the Twin Cities, and it seems to me that it's geared more toward fun rather than hardcore utility. All of which is fine, but I need dependability for commutes involving appointments, not larking about in my free time, and for now I don't have that kind of confidence in what's available for rental.

....


I wasn't suggesting to rent long-term instead of buying, but just for a day or two for trying out scooters in general or a specific model. Depending on the purchase price of the scooter that might be a worthwhile investment if it helps you make a better decision. Regarding dependability, it might be well worth talking to the places who rent them out, because I'd be surprised if they wanted to spend their time repairing their fleet - a scooter in the workshop doesn't generate income.

In an ideal world you could rent the model you consider buying from the shop for a period and then buy exactly this scooter, with the rental price deducted from the purchase price (I know a source for spinning wheels that works that way, but in Germany...)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:47 pm 
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Kade1301 wrote:
A recumbent tricycle wouldn't work for you either?

That's right. The kick-style scooter is best, because all I have to do is step up a little onto it, and stand. If a regular bike is out of the question, how much moreso a recumbent, where one has to go thru even more efforts to get from vertical to recumbent position, and back again? Really, I don't want to get into it too far, but this isn't a matter of laziness. I already cited physical issues; they are proving to be insurmountable (at least for now, but they may very well prove long-term), and I've examined all the viable and nonviable possibilities. Let's remember this, take me at my word, and move on, shall we?

Kade1301 wrote:
...in the end it might be worth it to pay even a higher price from a decent shop rather then look for the cheapest online offer.

It's something I keep in mind. In my searches it's become quite evident that in this matter, you definitely get what you pay for. But it doesn't end there; let me also add that I'm looking at foldable scooters, and this is non-negotiable. Even the most expensive often prove to be unsuitable because they tend to be much heavier than I'll be able to manage well should I need to carry one - some as heavy as 36 pounds (16.3 kg) - when I can still get some relatively expensive ones that weigh no more than around 16 pounds (7.2 kg). Obviously there are going to be trade-offs, but lightweight is the way to go for me.

Kade1301 wrote:
Regarding the "Made in America" thing - my bike is "Made in France" - but all the parts are Chinese. I'm not sure whether assembling them in France changes a lot...

Yeah, in this Global Village foreign-made parts are pretty much a given these days, aren't they. I guess my reluctance is more about buying directly from foreign companies themselves - not so much out of some vague overriding sense of nationalism, but because I have no real experience in doing so and have concerns about reliability and accountability.

As to service, the scooter-using community tend to order replacement parts as needed and do their own repairs, and basically this is easy to do. I'm totally okay with that.

Kade1301 wrote:
I wasn't suggesting to rent long-term instead of buying, but just for a day or two for trying out scooters in general or a specific model. Depending on the purchase price of the scooter that might be a worthwhile investment if it helps you make a better decision. Regarding dependability, it might be well worth talking to the places who rent them out, because I'd be surprised if they wanted to spend their time repairing their fleet - a scooter in the workshop doesn't generate income.

All right, that makes sense. I looked into it and from what I can tell, the two largest rental companies in the US (Bird and Lime) use the Xiaomi brand which has a huge presence and reputation among e-scooters, although to date that corporation's far better known for other products. I definitely would be interested in talking to rental agents about the products they use.

Kade1301 wrote:
In an ideal world you could rent the model you consider buying from the shop for a period and then buy exactly this scooter, with the rental price deducted from the purchase price (I know a source for spinning wheels that works that way, but in Germany...)

Worth a look, anyway.

AaronFW wrote:
Where will you put your harp when you go to the pub?

Normally I would jiu-jitsu the question and snark, "In everyone's way," but in either case I am no longer a drinker with a sessioning problem, so whether obstacle or burden, the harp question is irrelevant -at least to my knocking one back. The actual question, then, is where I would leave it, and that is at home, where it belongs. Obviously one doesn't get a mid-size harp for its ease of transport, so that's what the car is for - should that remotest of days ever even dawn. In the meantime, if I'm ever to play with anyone, I'm afraid the Mountain will have to come to Mohammed.

If anyone's asking themselves, But why a scooter?, the short answer is less aggravation. It all came about three days ago when I happened to see a woman zipping down my street on an e-scooter. That's pretty cool, I thought to myself on seeing the novelty, but thought no more of it, nor did I expect to. Later that same day I took a short 2-mile cab ride into the heart of downtown, but on the way back there was a heavily attended sports event (Tottenham Hotspur vs. AC Milan, quite the special occasion for humble wee bucolic Minneapolis), plus it was rush hour - what spectacularly idiotic timing! - and with the massive obstructions of road repair on top of it to compound the gridlock, I wound up paying twice the fare I normally would have. And that's with my cabbie eventually making an illegal u-turn (which I heartily approved) to take a longer route that got me home faster in the end, otherwise I might well have ended up paying even more, bless his felonious little heart. That does it, I thought, remembering the woman I saw only a couple of hours earlier; A scooter would have made short work of this mess. And as if to drive the point home, still later that very same day what should I see but some acquaintances - you guessed it - on rentals. It's like I couldn't get away from it. Struck by the uncanny progression of events, I asked them what they thought, and they were pretty enthusiastic about the contraptions. Talk about a string of coincidences ... or were they? :wink:

And there you have it.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:09 pm 
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One issue to consider is whether your city plans to ban them, as is happening in many California cities right now. I don't know if they're going to regulate privately-owned scooters in the same manner that they are dealing with the rental companies (Bird & Lime). Ride a scooter, go to jail. Well, they can impound the rental ones, and are ticketing for helmet, driver's license & potentially, insurance violations.

Also, why would you have to carry one? Won't they free-wheel and you drag it around like luggage when not in use? Or do you mean heaving them up stairs and into other vehicles?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:24 pm 
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kkrell wrote:
One issue to consider is whether your city plans to ban them, as is happening in many California cities right now.

It's a point of discussion these days. The main issue recently is that said rental companies burst onto the local scene without permits (no doubt on the mistaken principle that it's easier to get forgiveness than permission), but that seems to be the only issue; offenders have been corralled and required to apply for their commercial permits like anyone else, with nothing more punitive than a brief slap-on-the-wrist shutdown until that's done. There's been some locking of horns over it, but the climate here seems instead to be one of working out how we can retain the corporate rental model and satisfy city ordinances as well.

At this time, laws specific to individual e-scooter usage don't really exist other than they're classed in the same category as electric bikes and Segways, which is to say also in the same legal category as regular bikes and skateboards, so there are few restrictions on them; but I expect this to be tackled pretty darned soon indeed, if for no other outcome than to agree to let sleeping dogs lie. However it pans out, I really don't foresee an outright ban on their use per se, whether rented or owned; otherwise, might as well ban regular bicycles, kickboards and skateboards in all fairness then, too. And until scooters are reclassified, the odds of that are pretty darned slim. It strikes me as unreasonable to single out scooters just because some ninny in City Hall is having a hissy fit over those who want to make a buck off of them; we can already rent all the other stuff, and that's no problem, so why would scooters be the villain? I mean, seriously. Even if I weren't interested in them, this would still be my position.

kkrell wrote:
Also, why would you have to carry one? Won't they free-wheel and you drag it around like luggage when not in use? Or do you mean heaving them up stairs and into other vehicles?

Yep. For going into buildings where carrying it doesn't pose a problem, and such. And after all, carrying a folded-up one is a lot more civic-minded than wheeling an upright one around indoors, as I see it, and to me that counts. But for those savages who care little about how they impose upon others in enclosed spaces, in practical terms folded's more manageable, too. The point is, I wouldn't leave it unattended because of the all-too-easy possibility of theft, so taking it with me is desirable, and for that, folded-up is obviously even better. If I already know it's not a good idea to bring it indoors, I'll elect to forgo the scooter for other transport, but otherwise save the those modes for long hauls, passengers, groceries, and the wintertime.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:19 pm 
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Perhaps, at 25 lbs, this is out of the question? https://www.ebay.com/itm/Ninebot-One-A1 ... 2788562792

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:22 am 
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an seanduine wrote:
Perhaps, at 25 lbs, this is out of the question? https://www.ebay.com/itm/Ninebot-One-A1 ... 2788562792

Bob


Before I clicked the link I had hoped it was a hang glider.

Any idea how fast that can go? For comparison, one video I watched said some of the e-scooters could go 18 mph.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:17 pm 
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an seanduine wrote:
Perhaps, at 25 lbs, this is out of the question? https://www.ebay.com/itm/Ninebot-One-A1 ... 2788562792

Those look like they came straight out of a Jetsons episode. Great futuristic look and style, and about as compact as it gets. An attractive price, too. But the weight is more than I would personally prefer, and I would want the handlebars and more forgiving footspace a scooter has to offer.

AaronFW wrote:
Any idea how fast that can go? For comparison, one video I watched said some of the e-scooters could go 18 mph.

The Full Item Description cites a top speed of 20 kph (12.4 mph), which is toward the mid-to-low end for e-scooters, but I'm guessing that limit is probably best, safety-wise, for the Ninebot One design.

The functional operating speed of electric conveyances depends not only on their power, but also on user weight and terrain. Obviously, level paved surfaces are best, but even so, the heavier you (and your load) are, the less readily you should expect to get to top speed. Going up inclines will also slow you down (which makes me question the wisdom of rental companies picking locales such as San Francisco). In both cases, you put extra drain on the battery. The degree of workable incline can differ from model to model, and some of the cheapest won't handle inclines at all. These are all things to take into consideration. Dirt, grassy and gravel surfaces are probably best avoided in any case. That said, under ideal conditions e-scooter speeds have even been reported at over 20 mph (32 kph) in some models, but blazing speed is the least of my concerns.

One good thing is that most e-scooters now come with at least one regenerative brake, so battery drain can sometimes be significantly mitigated, especially by applying the brakes on a downhill run.

Recharging time is also an issue. Some of the best require as much as 4 hours (!), while their close competitors need only around an hour and a half. Much to think about when making a choice.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:30 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
.... I guess my reluctance is more about buying directly from foreign companies themselves - not so much out of some vague overriding sense of nationalism, but because I have no real experience in doing so and have concerns about reliability and accountability.

As to service, the scooter-using community tend to order replacement parts as needed and do their own repairs, and basically this is easy to do. I'm totally okay with that.

...


Well, if you don't need customer service for your scooter because you can do it all yourself, you are a lot freer in your choice (because what I really wanted to write previously, before I got sidetracked, was that I opted for buying a 90%-perfect bike from the nearest shop instead of trying to find the absolute optimum model from heaven knows where - though I had tried a number of different ones before picking mine).

It seems as if weight is your most important criteria? Is the list of foldable scooters under x pounds (x being however much you are able and willing to carry) really so long that the choice is horribly difficult, once you factor in price and availability (I'd still prefer a shop where I can shout at the vendor if there's a problem)?

Regarding charging time, is it really an issue? My bike battery charges awfully slow (which is supposedly better for the battery than charging quickly), but I don't care because I just plug it in in the evening and unplug in the morning and it lasts for well over 100 km, which is way more than the usual distances I ride. Not sure how big the variety is for scooters, but I'd try to find one that easily covers a round trip to your principal destinations, so you just have to plug it in back home (saves you from having to carry the charger around, too). Only if that's not possible, so that you have to charge at your destination, does charging time become important.

Btw, make sure the battery is included in the listed scooter weight, bike weights are sometimes listed without those extra 5 lbs...


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:31 pm 
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Kade1301 wrote:
It seems as if weight is your most important criteria?

I wouldn't say that's the surest way to put it, because it's more nuanced than that. My most important criteria are several, and roughly equal in consideration: power, battery life, dependability, weight, and price. How these come together as a whole is what I'm looking at.

Kade1301 wrote:
Is the list of foldable scooters under x pounds (x being however much you are able and willing to carry) really so long that the choice is horribly difficult, once you factor in price and availability...?

Not really. But I'm swimming unfamiliar waters here, so that's why I posted this topic, in hopes that anyone with any prior experience would have any input for me. It doesn't even have to be about scooters per se, so long as it sheds a light on electric vehicles as might apply to the topic, not least including such things as brand reliability.

Kade1301 wrote:
(I'd still prefer a shop where I can shout at the vendor if there's a problem)

Of course. So would I. But that appears impossible where I live. The only shop I can find in the Twin Cities that deals in and is dedicated to so-called "e-scooters" really only deals in those that closely resemble motorcycles, such as the Vespa. I was unable to find any indication whatsoever that they also deal in the kind I'm looking for. If there are bicycle or other kinds of shops that sell them, they're not in evidence. My only other local option is to go to the mega-corporate likes of Best Buy or Walmart, but while the prices are very attractive, their top scooters don't really come quite close enough to what I'm looking for. And they don't do service, but farm it out or replace. I called Best Buy and the person talking to me couldn't tell me anything about their scooters, which, unfortunately, is nothing to be surprised at. If I were just looking for what essentially amounts to a toy, then I could have gone that route and wouldn't have even brought this topic up. But I'm not looking for toys, and money being money, I need to find something that's just my kind of workhorse. So here we are.

Kade1301 wrote:
Regarding charging time, is it really an issue?

I haven't decided yet. That's why I'm asking you guys.

Kade1301 wrote:
My bike battery charges awfully slow (which is supposedly better for the battery than charging quickly)...

This is good information that I didn't know. Thanks. Will look into it further.

Kade1301 wrote:
Not sure how big the variety is for scooters, but I'd try to find one that easily covers a round trip to your principal destinations, so you just have to plug it in back home (saves you from having to carry the charger around, too). Only if that's not possible, so that you have to charge at your destination, does charging time become important.

Right. I have all these in mind. Your first point is paramount, because I intend to confine using the scooter within a relatively small geographical radius - my usual run of activity - but at my age and condition, covering such distances on foot, as I routinely used to do, is no longer a realistic option. Yet the world's demands remain to be met, so in doing so, keeping a reduced carbon footprint, or even lessening it further if I can, matters quite a bit to me: consider the excessiveness of driving a car eight blocks and back for one non-loadbearing trip, especially when weighed against doing the same on an electric scooter. So that's part of my motivation, too. I'm lucky to be able to have such an option that I could use so extensively. Anyway, yes: Whether it be a few blocks or a few miles in total, reliable round-trip capacity within that radius and its conditions is absolutely important. That part's easy enough to square away. However: Should there come a time when, for whatever reason, I have to step outside the intended normal distance, time, or load parameters (I don't anticipate it, but I'm big on not being caught with my pants down), then battery charge time might become an issue. Something more to consider.

Kade1301 wrote:
Btw, make sure the battery is included in the listed scooter weight, bike weights are sometimes listed without those extra 5 lbs...

Thanks for the tip. So far, the weights quoted appear to include the battery, which makes sense if you're advertising a product meant to be folded and carried. Still, it's best to keep a closer eye and not make assumptions. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 5:58 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
However: Should there come a time when, for whatever reason, I have to step outside the intended normal distance, time, or load parameters (I don't anticipate it, but I'm big on not being caught with my pants down), then battery charge time might become an issue. Something more to consider.

...


That's actually a subject I'm thinking about right now because I'm considering a bicycle tour with my e-bike (or whether I should take the e-bike at all or rather buy a mechanical touring bike). So far my reasoning goes something like this: It's actually unlikely that I will really do more than 100 km/day considering I want to do some extensive sightseeing. Secondly, if I do want to do more, I might be able to ask nicely whether I can charge the battery in the place where I have lunch. Even one hour of charging time will extend the battery life somewhat and Li-Ion-batteries don't suffer if you charge them partially (unlike NiCd, which as far as I know are now longer being sold for consumer goods, at least in Europe). Last but not least, when the battery should run out I'm still sitting on a 24-speed bicycle (with emphasis on the "slow" speeds), albeit a heavy one, and should be capable to get to my destination under my own power, just a bit more slowly.

Can those electric scooters actually be used without the motor?

As there's no stores specializing in electric foot scooters (something I wouldn't have imagined), have you tried looking for them in stores selling electric bicycles? (I'd hope the twin cities have some of those!)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:37 pm 
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Kade1301 wrote:
Can those electric scooters actually be used without the motor?

I don't know about all of them, but a number of them are advertised that way. It's an option worth having should I need it.

Kade1301 wrote:
As there's no stores specializing in electric foot scooters (something I wouldn't have imagined)...

I know, right? But actually the phenomenon appears to be so utterly new here that the local entrepreneurs have yet to catch up. That day I first saw one I wondered why I hadn't noticed them before - the idea looks like a given, doesn't it? - but the answer seems to be that they simply just weren't around in any significant way before this. And now: BANG.

Kade1301 wrote:
...have you tried looking for them in stores selling electric bicycles? (I'd hope the twin cities have some of those!)

Yes, we have those. I met a guy who sells and rents them alongside the regular ones at his bike shop; he was standing with one on a route that was prohibited to motor traffic, and thinking it was a motorbike and that maybe he was from out of town and didn't know, I approached him to hint, friendly-like, that he'd probably want to relocate before he got a ticket. Nosy, right? That's when I first learned that electric bikes even existed, and that their legal status was pretty free and clear (just checked his website, and no, he doesn't sell e-scooters. Yet.). Interestingly enough, while electric bikes aren't unknown here, they don't appear to have caught on for some reason. I've only noticed one in several years, and that was the very one with the guy I just mentioned. Might be local urban bike culture; our cyclists do seem to champion a crusty "purist" attitude. Around here bicycling often includes hitting the recreational off-road bike trails for fun and exercise, so you see a lot of single-speed bikes. You see three-gear bikes, of course, but unless I'm just not seeing right, your twelve-gear racing-style bikes don't seem nearly as common, at least where I live. No idea why; if I were to get a bicycle, that's the kind I'd want. But as I said earlier, I'm uncool, so...

The modern revival of the tall bike actually started here in Minneapolis with the Hard Times Bike Club, which went on to become the international Black Label Bike Club. But this group's creations are really better termed your so-called "freak" or "mutant" bikes, as the movement went beyond tall bikes to explore a host of customized expressions, both tall and low. So while a fringe group, its being founded here might say something too about local attitudes.

At this point my searches in the bicycle vendors' general direction have been fruitless, but admittedly cursory too, so deeper digging would be called for. On that note, I have wondered if bicycle vendors might be steering away from e-scooters on some point of principle, but I think it's far too early in the game to arrive at such conclusions.

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