Riding a child-size scooter to work is London's worst form of douchebaggery, says an angry Alexi Duggins. Better steer clear of him...
If you're an adult, and you're riding a kids' scooter, it's not okay. It's just not. It makes you look like you're driving a bike pump. It makes you look like a midlife crisis on wheels. And it definitely makes you look as if you've missed a memo. That memo is: grow the hell up, will you? I walk to work every day. It takes me an hour, but I like it: it's less stop-start than the bus, less armpitty than the tube and - normally - a lovely opportunity to introduce some sky-gazing daydreaminess into my routine.
But in the last year, something's changed: the increasing number of startlingly fast human beings on tiny wheels who shoot past me. Also, the amount of time I spend squealing with fright like a little girl.
On Waterloo Bridge, workers zip along as though fleeing the screaming toddler they've just mugged for their ride. In Shoreditch, the pathways are more frequently strewn with the single-wheeled, handleless, motorised deathtraps known as electric unicycles (because: Shoreditch). Lately, I've even started noticing those electric balance scooters that you see off-duty footballers riding in the tabloids - the ones that look like a pair of wheels nailed to the sides of a step aerobics board.
Aesthetics aside, I get why people ride these things. I do. You can inject a little giddy, childlike thrill into your day. Plus - especially if you're aboard the £800 exercise in dick-swinging ridiculousness that is an electric unicycle - you know that you're a hot topic of conversation. Well, not conversation per se. More comments along the lines of 'Get a grip, you twat!'
But do they have to do it on the pavement? Don't they know that the life of a London pedestrian is already that of a petrified sidewalk ninja? That, if you slowed down Oxford Street's CCTV, you'd see hundreds of panicked Londoners recreating those bullet-dodging scenes in 'The Matrix', but with high-speed WhatsApp users and rogue Boris Bike pilots instead of bullets? Not fucking with the natural order of the pavement: isn't that the first law of being a Londoner?
Yes. Yes it is. Walking is meant to be more relaxing than being on the road, not more stressful. And I'm not alone in thinking this. Search Twitter for 'scooter London', and the results are revealing. For example: 'A message to the lady I just saw: stop riding a microscooter around central London, you awful fucker.'
So do yourself a favour, pavement-vehicle users: buy a fold-up bike and cycle in the road. If nothing else, your image will benefit. Because, right now, you look like you've mistaken hipster-mocking TV show 'Nathan Barley' for an instructional video entitled 'How to become a seriously natty dude.' Which, just to be clear: it isn't. It's a programme about people who are douchebags. Get a grip, you twat!
For more ranting and raving, read Joshua Burt's column on why autumn keeps its promises.