Touring Venice on an electric Motorboard

Venice is full of tourists on 100-lb Segways, but last week I biked down there to try out a different sort of electric transportation: The Motorboard.

Linda of Roth Motor Co. met me with the electric Motorboard 2000XR, which I rode (left), trying not to take anyone down. I caught on after a few minutes, aside from the braking part — I always use foot brakes on my bike, and remembering to squeeze the hand brake part’s just hard for me. Luckily, I went slow enough that I could just jump off.

The main benefit of the Motorboard 2000XR over my bike: The Motorboard doesn’t need to be locked up. It runs on a light lithium-ion battery and weighs just 16.3 lbs, making it really portable. Post-ride, Linda folded it up and neatly tucked it under a table while she ordered coffee at a sidewalk restaurant. I sat down vaguely worried about bike theft.

If you have a short commute, or need to run small errands around town, the Motorboard could be a nice, car-free option. It can get up to 15 mph, going 5 to 7 miles on a two-hour charge (extended-range models can go 20 miles on a single charge). Cost, $799.

The people trying out the Motorboard at AltCarExpo seemed to have fun (left). But the laws are a bit confusing, since every city seems to have its own guidelines for motorized two-wheelers. Are electric scooters allowed to go 15 mph on a sidewalk in Santa Monica? What about a bike lane? I’m not sure, although Linda says she’s never gotten into trouble for riding her Motorboard all over the place.

Still, I’m sticking to my bike for now, since it actually gets me a little exercise. I’m wondering though, are there any big electric scooter and Motorboard advocates out there? Do you use them mainly as a mode of transportation, or ride them just for sport and fun?

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