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on riding e-scooters in lyon, or elsewhere, & on buying time

Three anecdotes about buying time by riding e-scooters.

I wanted to return to Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse. I had been there during a previous stay in Lyon, so I knew that the walk from the Presqu’île de Lyon to Les Halles is straight, flat, and . . . boring. I set off anyway. The day was hot; the sky was open and large. After crossing the Rhône and walking a few blocks, I decided enough was enough. At the next corner were some e-scooters, lined up like race horses in their stalls. I unlocked one, pushed off, and quickly breezed on my way. I arrived at Les Halles within a couple of minutes.

It was Saturday, which is not pertinent to the story, but it does emphasize that all was quiet that day. I wanted to visit the Musée des Confluences de Lyon, south of Perrache, which is a major train station in Lyon. I took the metro from Ville de Lyon to Gare de Lyon-Perrache and from there I started walking south. Did I say it was Saturday and nothing was open and the boulevard is long and straight and little to consider to the left or to the right. After a few blocks, I thought, “Enough is enough.” I unlocked an e-scooter and whizzed away, arriving a few minutes later at the Musée des Confluences. I could have taken a bus, I suppose, but I did not want to stand, and to wait, and to look, and to look, again, at my phone. I wanted to move.

E-scooters are fun, but I find that I use them to “buy time.” In other words, I want to move more quickly than walking, and usually no buses will arrive soon or they are not available. I unlock a scooter, and I am off.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)  

Anecdote #3: One day, I was far away from my apartment, on the southern end of Vieux Lyon, and I did not want to retrace my steps. Instead I walked to the quai along the Sâone, logged into a scooter, and rode on the bike path and then in the bus lane to my street. It cost me about 3 €, about twice the price of a bus ticket.

I do see some young people ride on the sidewalks, but it is too difficult and slow. It is illegal, as well. Too many obstacles and one is going too fast. I love the scooter in bus lanes. Wide and empty most of the time, those bus lanes permit one to whip through the traffic and past stalled vehicles.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Taking advantage of the e-scooters is easy. I suggest doing a few things before unlocking one. First, learn which scooter companies are available in your area and set up accounts for each one on your smart phone. That means downloading the application for each scooter company. In Lyon there are six companies; I set up accounts for each one. Be prepared: you will not know which scooter(s) will be available. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Secondly, you will need to add a credit card to your account(s). The app for the scooter will verify the card. All this takes some time. It is better to do it in advance so you can unlock the scooter and leave without fussing. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

You may be asked if the application can use the camera on your phone. Say, “Yes.” It may be used later to scan a bar code on the scooter. That will unlock it for you.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Riding the scooter after unlocking it will be easy and is generally self-evident. The learning curve is not steep. Push off with one foot on the scooter, press lightly on the “go” lever with your thumb, and–surprise–it works! Test the brake. See how it works.

At the end of the ride, you tell the application to end the ride by pressing a button on the phone screen. Some applications will ask you to take a photo of the parked scooter and its position in order to verify that you have parked it in a good spot.

Did I mention that the scooters are fun to use for–what?–wandering? Press the go and go.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Diane Dioguardi #

    You are way more adventurous than we, or younger? And lots of graffiti?!

    • I did see some smiles the other day from two different groups as I crossed the Place Bellecourt. One person pointed at me. I am a bit unusual: an older white haired guy with a large camera over his shoulder riding an e-scooter is not typical. Maybe the photos with the graffiti are the more startling?


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