Forget about cars, bikes, skateboards or rollerblades. What do Augustana students have to watch out for?
Football players on razor scooters.
While the majority of students walk or ride bike around campus, Augustana has seen a growing trend in this unconventional method of transportation.
Freshman football players have been credited by some with starting the trend, and they seem to be particularly fond of the little contraption.
“When I’m done, I just fold it up and take it with me,” freshman Ross Westemeyer said. Added bonus: scooters are under $30, he said. It’s a cheap and an easy mode of transportation.
And not just for the outdoors, either. Scooter riders are finding that scooters work just as well indoors, too.
Westemeyer said he only rides indoors “on occasion, whenever it is non-carpeted floors.”
Freshman Dylan Baker rides indoors as well, especially “in the Elmen when I’m on my way to practice.”
Freshman Thomas Madigan used to ride inside regularly too, but was told by faculty that he wasn’t allowed to anymore.
According to Westemeyer, this hasn’t stopped the freshman boys who live in Bergsaker. Sometimes, he said, they hold races on the fourth floor, riding their scooters around the circular hallway.
Can’t do that with a bike, now can you?
“It is easier than a bike,” Madigan said.
Baker agrees. “Less can go wrong with it,” he said of his scooter.
Westemeyer brought his scooter to campus simply because he didn’t want to bring his bike to school. “The campus is not big enough for a bike,” he said.
Baker has noticed another perk. “You don’t have to worry about people stealing a scooter, because you can just take it with you.”
Other Augustana students aren’t sure whether they are as happy with these scooters as the freshmen riders seem to be. “I get mixed reactions,” Baker said. “Some people make fun of it. Some think it’s cool.” But you have to keep in mind, he said, that “it’s meant for kids, and I’m 260 pounds riding it.”
But how long will this trend? Razor scooters may be harder to break out in the winter, when the sidewalks are icy and potentially more hazardous for people who would rather use a set of wheels than walk.
Baker isn’t worried. “I’ve just got to get some gloves,” he said. “I’ve heard they plow the sidewalks.”
Others are willing to swing either way when the snow starts falling. “If the scooter can’t handle it, I’ll just walk,” Westemeyer said.
If the scooters become a hazard in the winter, Augustana students may or may not continue to see them around. “Like anything else, who knows how long it will last or how soon it will go away,” Baker said.
Westemeyer isn’t sure how long the trend will last either, but said that he would recommend students try out the nostalgic mode of transportation.
More than just Augustana students are heeding this recommendation. Scooters have started to pop up on other South Dakota campuses, particularly the University of South Dakota (USD). “They may not be as popular as they appear at Augustana, but you’ll see three or four people riding them around,” USD freshman Sydney Hayes said.
“Only some guys ride them around,” said USD freshman Jerry Holbrook.
The scooter-riding trend is growing, and no matter their efficiency is, their winter functionality, or what people say, at the end of the day, the Augustana scooter riders agree on one thing: it sure beats walking.