Sam Jackson

A Careful Analysis of Commuting Options

for non-bus people

Disclaimer: This list is based off of things that I see people taking to work daily in San Francisco. I think most of them are dumb too.

For the purposes of this piece, OL = "obnoxiousness level."

1. Bike

The old tried and true. While you'll undoubtedly get in a few fights with motorists as you plow through stop signs, turn without signaling, and generally exist, biking is reliable and will get you some much needed exercise. OL can easily be modulated via the number of gears on your bike. The biggest downside is that you'll need about 5 locks to keep everything in piece.

2. Electric bike

Same pros and cons as the bike, except that you can't modulate your OL. You'll be pegged around an 8 at all times, though if you are over 40 you get a bit of a break and come down to a 6.

3. Scooter

The budget option. You can conveniently fold it down and bring it inside if you don't have a place to lock stuff up, though I doubt anyone would steal it even if you just left it outside. I've seen people go surprisingly fast on them, and OL is low (mostly people will feel bad for you). Biggest downside is that you're a grown human riding a scooter to work.

4. Electric scooter

Like the electric bike, this shares most of the same characteristics of it's non-powered cousin, just with a higher OL. So long as you are cool with riding a scooter, this is a pretty good option.

5. Gas scooter

This thing shares very little in common with the other scooters -- it's loud and fast as shit. While it is still a scooter, this is actually pretty intense to ride -- the acceleration will knock you off the back if you don't know what you are doing. You sacrifice portability with the engine, it's heavy and if you bring it inside it's gonna smell like a garage. OL is high for obvious reasons, but so is the fun level (FL).

6. Longboard

The chillest of options. You're not going to like the uphills, but otherwise it's a smooth ride. Best if you want to take your time and enjoy the journey. OL is fairly low, it's cheap, and portability is off the charts. You'll look like you're hanging on to your misspent youth, but there are worse things.

7. Boosted board

If you haven't seen one of these, they're are electric longboards that can go ~25mph. I've seen them crush uphills, and they generally look like a ton of fun to ride. Unfortunately, their OL is an 11 and people will actively try to knock your smug ass off the board. I guess you have to take the good with the bad. Also, expensive.

8. Rollerblades

Rollerblades have fallen so far out of favor in the last decade or two that they have pretty much come full circle in terms of OL. Expect lots of high fives and shouts of encouragement if you put on a pair. FLs are high, and they are more affordable, portable, and safe than most of the other options. Recommended pick.
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