Speedy, simple, and, above all, seriously fun to ride, scooters are a wildly popular mode of transport for adults and kids alike. What is more, there has never been a better time to buy a scooter than now, in the maelstrom of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many are trying to avoid public transport and get fit.
Scooters offer an elegant solution: an efficient and environmentally friendly mode of transport, and an enjoyable form of exercise. For toddlers and kids, scooters are a dream, allowing energetic little ones to zoom around independently at the speed they crave. From a parental perspective, they represent a fantastic investment; occupying children for hours, building psychomotor skills – including balance and coordination – and slashing travel times without the need to lug around a bulky buggy. Small wonder that scooters are consistently one of the most popular toys of the year. For grown-ups too, the appeal of scooters is increasingly compelling. Usage of adult scooters – light, foldable, and electric alike – has mushroomed of late, especially in London, where well-heeled parents from Chelsea to Chiswick, tired of tailgating their scootering broods, can often now be seen on the school run and en route to the park, scooting alongside their offspring. Even for those without kids, scooting is no longer seen as a novel, one-legged mode of transport reserved for pre-teens and their parents. Scooters represent a viable means of getting from A to B, promising flexibility and the ability to circumnavigate cities nippily.
Indeed, so useful are scooters, that a question I often ponder as a parent is, “whatever did we do, before scooters?” Thinking back to my own childhood, in the ‘90s, I remember trudging around on errands, and the school run being a miasma of gas guzzling cars. Scooters did exist, but they were rickety, unwieldly things – more of a clunky knick-knack than a compact, practical means of getting around. The proliferation of the scooter in the UK is largely thanks to the nous of two women: Anna Gibson and Philippa Gogarty, co-founders of Micro Scooters UK. Both women were fed up of doing the school run with fractious toddlers in tow, and decided to shake up the status quo. Following Gibson’s fortuitous encounter with a child who owned a Mini Micro scooter on Clapham Common, she joined forces with Gogarty (whom she had met at the baby clinic when they were both taking their sons for their check-ups) and the pair set about bringing the inimitable Mini Micro scooter to the UK.
Whilst there are dozens of models of scooter available at a wide range of price points, Micro undoubtedly dominates the UK market, and is the most respected brand on the scooter landscape. Before becoming a parent, I admit that I was somewhat sceptical about the brand’s ubiquity – Micro is as synonymous as Aga or Dyson with middleclass-ness. But I’ve discovered that there’s a good reason that these jewel coloured, Swiss-designed scooters are such a common sight: simply put, they are the best on the market. Safe, secure, light, and durable, Micro Scooters are built to last, so that kids can keep enjoying them as they grow. From my perspective as a parent, the security of my children is paramount, and Micro unquestionably offers the safest, smoothest, most robust ride. The steering is smooth, braking is straightforward, and the scooters take corners easily.
My daughter enjoyed her Mini Micro Deluxe so much that when she outgrew it, the decision to progress to the Micro Maxi Deluxe was never in doubt. Many other cheaper scooters on the market are modelled on the Micro, but none have the full set of features that it offers, such as the lightweight frame, silicone moulded footplate (providing good grip), fully height adjustable and removable handlebar (so it can be easily packed into a car boot or rucksack), and streamlined, anodised stem (meaning it’s protected from chips and scratches). Micro’s distinctive ‘lean to steer’ design – whereby the user leans their body to turn, rather than turning the handlebars – seems to come quite naturally to children after a bit of practice, and ultimately makes for a more graceful and secure scoot. The Micro Maxi Deluxe weighs 2.5kg and is designed for kids from ages 5-12, between 110cm and 152cm in height, and up to 50kg in weight. My daughter chose the purple model, which comes with neon pink accents, and it is her new pride and joy. Her old pink Mini Micro 3in1 Deluxe Plus is still as good as new after nearly four years of intensive use and has been handed down to her little sister.
With both my girls on scooters, I found myself getting puffed out pursuing them on foot. As the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them, and so it was that I got a scooter too. Micro make a range of adult scooters, including models with differently sized wheels, bigger kickboards, and suspension. I gravitated towards the Classic Micro Scooter with Suspension and Lock. This model has many stand-out features, including an advanced rubber compound on the footplate, which makes the scooter more comfortable to ride. It also provides an improved grip and better balance when scooting on one foot, in other words, a safer scoot. These features are all particularly appealing to me, especially since I’m supervising my daughters on their scooters: the last thing I want to do is fall off mine! The front suspension also helps to make scooting bump free. The inclusion of a cable lock integrated into the handlebars is an incredibly practical detail, especially given that the scooter is just shy of £200. Last, but by no means least, the 200mm wheel size delivers optimal transfer of energy into pace over the ground. For me, the wheel size is optimal: large enough to glide effortlessly over the ground at a brisk pace; small enough to fold into a neat package.
I can attest that, to ride, the Classic with Suspension is a total delight. It glides like a magic carpet; bumps in the pavement melt beneath its suspension. I also adore the fact that the scooter is so portable. It is sturdy, but not cumbersome, weighing a respectable 6.4kg. The folding mechanism means that it is easily compactable: press two buttons either side of the front wheel simultaneously, and gently snap the scooter in half.
Micro Scooters are a premium product, and their price reflects this. Every parent I know who owns one feels that the price is justified because, with a bit of care, Micro Scooters last for years. This is thanks to the top-quality materials and the fact all the parts are replaceable, meaning they can usually be handed down to younger siblings or sold on. Practically every component of Micro’s Swiss-made scooters can be replaced; the website has an easily navigable Spares Finder, and the company’s mission is to stock replacement parts for every single scooter it sells, ensuring that in the vast majority of cases a scooter can be repaired rather than thrown away, enhancing the company’s green credentials.
Micro’s reputation as the best scooter in town is well earned. The brand has a pedigree heritage, and produces, quite simply, the safest, smoothest and most environmentally sustainable scooters. My daughters and I have had endless fun with our Micro Scooters and will continue to do so for years to come.
Products reviewed: Maxi Micro DELUXE Scooter: £124.95, Classic Micro Scooter with Suspension and Lock: £199.95. For further information, and to purchase, please visit: www.micro-scooters.co.uk
Elisabeth Rushton is a former banker who swapped her career in equity sales for journalism and has over a decade of experience as a luxury lifestyle and travel writer.
Photo credit: Mark Underwood