"Do not get on a moped, no matter what, no matter who offers you. They're. Not. Safe!" Mothers have uttered this warning to their children from time immemorial, and yet we never seem to listen. In my case, I violated the rules for the first time when I hopped on a bike with a Greek guy over spring break 2009. But karma was swift: When I disembarked from the sweeping ride around Athens, I found my hair had inflated to Bridget Jones levels, and a thick trail of drool slimed down my neck. The night didn't get much better from there.
But, when it comes to mopeds, it gets better. For those of you New Yorkers looking for some genuinely romantic, peak-Amelie rides on a moped, you're in luck. Today sees the launch of Revel, a new app that lets you reserve an electric scooter and take the city by storm.
Here's how it works: If you have a valid driver's license and can pass a background check, you can log into the app and reserve a bike for short periods of time. After picking it up, you'll be charged four dollars for the first twenty minutes, and 25 cents for every minute that follows (parked minutes are only five cents). The bikes are throttled to 30 miles per hour (the NYC maximum is 25) and are only available to users ages 21 and older.
A few caveats: Revel offers two sizes of helmets in the rear of every bike, but only one rider is allowed on at a time. Single people can have romantic rides too! What's more, Revel is only available as of now in Queens and Brooklyn. So: Perfect for that impossible commute between Park Slope and Williamsburg, but not so useful if you're trying to schlep from Ridgewood to Lincoln Center. That said, the app is hopeful to expand to more boroughs.
Revel offers introductory classes and a helpful video to get you started. Users are expected to comply with electric bike rules, so no sidewalk shenanigans.