Growling at Ginger

in #transportation3 years ago


My dog agrees with the late Steve Jobs when it comes to scooters.

In 2001, inventor Dean Kamen was said to be finishing work on a revolutionary new product. The product was called “Ginger” or simply “It”. Kamen was a legendary figure at the time and after news of his new invention leaked out, people engaged in a guessing game about what the hyped-up product would be. Some thought it would be a Sterling engine and others made additional guesses.

When Kamen unveiled the Segway, the truth seemed underwhelming. Reportedly, prior to his public unveiling, Kamen had a meeting with Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos to give them a sneek preview of his new invention.


Jobs declared that it sucked. “Its shape is not innovative, it’s not elegant, and it doesn’t feel anthropomorphic.”

He wasn’t the only one who seemed disappointed. Compared with today’s sleek scooters, the Segway and all of its gyroscopic marvels seemed like a blocky blunderbuss. With a price tag of $5,000, these were not people movers built for the people. In the intervening years, they have become the domain of local tour operators and mall security guards, but there have been few customers among the general public.


Nevertheless, there were hopes that the price of Segways would come down eventually. There were predictions that Segways or their successors eventually would revolutionize urban transportation. Eventually.

Now it’s nearly two decades later. Many of our cities and towns are overrun by thinner machines called scooters. These are not the Vespa-type motorcycle scooters, but the skinny-skateboard-with-handlebar scooters. They are not legal everywhere, because these scooters cause problems on both roadways and sidewalks, and some cities have not yet determined how scooters can be compatible with their car or pedestrian culture.

Where I live, they are legal. Commuters use them. So do schoolkids. In general, I’m a fan of scooters because they seem like a simple and energy-efficient way for people to get around town.


The person who predicted that a successor to the Segway would revolutionize urban transportation was correct. But it was a simpler looking product and not the blocky and gyroscopic Segway that eventually prevailed. The company that bought the Segway design turned towards these scooters instead, which can be mass produced at a cheaper price. They do not need all of the Segway’s gyroscopes because they are balanced by the people riding them.

My dog hates scooters. I don’t know if it is the noise they make or the way they creep up behind us suddenly on sidewalks as their riders point towards their job or school sites. The noise is a combination of the whiny motor and the clickity-clack they make on the street or sidewalk surface. My dog nearly starts snarling as soon as he hears it.


A few years ago, he had the same opinion of bicycles, but he’s gotten used to those. When a scooter comes up to us, though, the dog jumps up and barks and growls. He’ll lunge at the rider and try to follow the scooter when it passes us, making me glad I have him on a leash while he walks along the sidewalks. I make sure to keep him at least a few feet from scooters. Strangely, if we are on a hill and the scooter is below us, even coming up, it doesn’t bother him as much, making me think that if the dog can see the rider before the noise, then he realizes it’s just a person riding these things.

Every time I see a scooter, I am glad that is one fewer car on the road getting the person to where they are going. Whatever energy and pollution is involved in making these scooters and their batteries, it must be less than the environmental cost of a car. And I remember back to when “Ginger” (later named the Segway) was touted as the next big thing. Based on their widespread use, one could say that scooters have become the next big thing. Maybe the ghost of Steve Jobs would approve that they are as sleek and useful as an iPod. But my dog still protests.


Images are public domain.



Your dog must have been a fighter in his other life...😆😆😆

Anyways scooters aren't widely used over here, I'm sure the most I've seen them are in private houses in estates where the kids aren't allowed to leave the compound so they are confined to driving within the house with the scooter.

Honestly you cannot even be too careful while driving your car talk more of using a scooter on the road. I guess that's why some countries haven't legalized it yet.

The picture of the dog, is that your actual dog? If Yes, then he's such a cutie.

They are not very safe with cars around, that's for sure.

Hello @donkeypong ... how are you? I haven't seen your post for a long time. Skinny skateboard scooter
with handlebar rarely used by adults in my country. The users are only children who play. and it does not disturb pedestrians because they only play on park roads or in the field. Enjoy your day, friend.

You'll get them eventually.

Excellent invention the sccoters! Without a doubt it is an excellent ally, especially if we are in a hurry. In my country Venezuela we still do not know it, so it would be a good idea to bring it to make life easier for many citizens. Thanks for sharing.

For short distance transportation (shorter than a car, but longer than you'd like to walk), these are good inventions. They are electric, so do depend on having an adequate power grid, however. I'm sorry to hear of all of the issues that people in your country are facing during this difficult time.

Thanks friend. Certainly they are difficult days but I think we are near the end of God through /

My dog absolutely hates scooters as well. I guess it seems like aggressive body language or something to him.

On some things, they are smarter than we are, but I'm not sure this is one of those.

It's all about simplicity. Give people a simple effective product that looks decent and you can take over the world. It's that simple.

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That's a simple analysis.

Simple sells. Most of us aren't very smart so we like to take the path of least resistance.

They are not legal everywhere, because these scooters cause problems on both roadways and sidewalks, and some cities have not yet determined how scooters can be compatible with their car or pedestrian culture.

This is the reason I advised a friend not to invest in an electric scooter business, government legislation could kill off your biz at any moment. Fun to have though.

if the dog can see the rider before the noise, then he realizes it’s just a person riding these things.

Aw, sweet, this reminds me of my dog. If someone rings the bell and walks into the house he growls because he hasn't attributed the sound of the bell to someone about to come into the house. :-)

By the way, didn't the inventor of Segway die on one? I seem to remember they said he lost control and went over a cliff.


The inventor seems to be around still, but maybe someone else associated with them ran off a cliff. My dog does also barks at the doorbell. We can be inside, open the door, and ring the bell and he'll start barking though he can see that no stranger is in the doorway.

Aha, you're right, the inventor is still around, however a guy bought Segway and it was him who died off a cliff.

Segway company owner rides segway off cliff and dies

My dog does also barks at the doorbell. We can be inside, open the door, and ring the bell and he'll start barking

Our dog is the opposite, you can ring the bell all you want and he'll ignore it, it's when somebody (from his perspective) just appears in the house that it freaks him out.

He still hasn't attributed the noise of the bell with someone about to come in the house 😂🤣😂


Oh man, what's tragic about the death, is he appeared to die because he was such a nice guy :-(

Segway boss died in 'act of courtesy'


You tell 'em doggy!


I find Segways very expensive and the only people in India I see having one of it are either rich or play golf. :P

That dog thing is funny though.

They'll be using scooters soon instead.

haha I wish, Segway has became a symbol status in this country of weird people though.

hieee @donkeypong
I like your idea of the post..👍
skate scooters may not seem like an exercise but riding around on a scooter does count as exercise. It is a fun way to move around and burn extra calories....

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There's some exercise involved, especially if it's manual and foot-pumped, but with the electric ones the exercise use is much less than with walking, etc.

Hello Friend how are you? A long time without writing, due to the power cuts we have in Venezuela I'm late for your post.

The scooters I have seen but more in children than in adults, I have no idea how my dog would react to having one nearby, because it makes a lot of noise because children use it very fast

I remember all the hype about the Segway when it was first released. The idea of a future where we all rode around on these things was fun but not realistic with the price tag they carried. The design may have been something impressive from an engineering stance but if it doesn't feel right instantly to the user then something is not right.

Yes. And as they designed these modern scooters, they realized that all of that balancing contraption with gyroscopes wasn't really necessary, since people balance themselves.

Well written, well researched, interesting discussion with a pleasing 'story' element which your dog introduces.
Well done.
A friend was burgled the other night. He told his dog to 'shut up' when he barked thinking he was hearing cats on the roof.....again.
He was, "cat burglars"!