There is no shortage of ideas for devices to address this problem. Here is a recent example:
It's called the HalfBike and it's on KickStarter right now. While I could see people being intrigued by this device and it might be fun to ride, it's not something I see myself using. It looks like it's going to retail for $899 and there are a lot of things, including bikes, that I'd rather spend my money on.
The SoloWheel is a compact, electric laptop vehicle that is easily carried and looks fun as heck. It's also a bit beyond this bike mechanic's price range.
Which brings me to the point of this little blog post. There currently exists a great device for those short, urban trips. It's called a kick scooter. I've been scootering around on one for the past year. It's fun, it folds quick so I can carry it easily into stores or onto the bus. It never needs charging. It looks like this:
Folded, it looks like this:
The wheels are bigger than what you see on the kid's Razor scooters and they roll fine over cracks and ruts.
I did a lot of research in the year before I got my scooter and I've kept a close eye on the scooter world since I got it. I still think my scooter, a NYCeWheels KickPed, is one of the nicest adult kickscooters available. It costs $239 and I think it's worth every penny.
There is some debate in the scooter world about hand brakes and foot brakes. I've never missed having a front brake (if I did, I'd put one on, I'm a tinkerer!) but interestingly you can spend less and get more by getting a Go-Ped Know-Ped. This is made by the same folks who manufacture my scooter but it has a wider deck (heavier & less efficient for kicking), a front brake and a painted rather than lacquer finish. But it's currently selling for about $70 less than the KickPed on Amazon and the folks who have Know-Peds seem just as happy with their scooter's as I am with mine.
I really like the grippy tires the KickPed/Know-Ped comes with. In this wet climate I don't think I'd feel as safe on a scooter with urethane, although such machines are generally lighter and faster. The Micro Black is such a scooter and it gets good reviews.
In the year that I've had my scooter, I've become something of a scooter evangelist. Scooters are fun, they're good exercise and I think they are a great solution for short trips.
Keep 'em rolling,
Kent "Scooting Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA