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July 2000:

Summer greetings!

My apologies for waiting to send out the July tip until the middle of the month. I wanted to wait until today so I wouldn't have to send out extra email to you, but to keep everything in one message.

A couple of important announcements.

First off, I have mentioned in the past my affinity towards Disneyland (the park; I'm not as big on most of the other Disney things). Today, July 17, is the original Anaheim park's birthday. My friends at the Disneyland Information Guide are using this special day to celebrate something else -- the launch of their new Web site, MousePlanet. While its roots are firmly in the Disney theme parks, MousePlanet has big plans to provide lots of family vacation-planning information for many destinations. ...and yes, my travel column is still there, under the heading, "The Trip Planner." If you have any inclination to travel on the roads more traveled (well, more like multi-laned interstate freeways), please visit MousePlanet at http://www.mouseplanet.com.

Second, this past weekend was spent visiting Reno, Nevada. Not only did I win almost $200 playing slots, but my sweetie and I also got married!

We didn't want a fancy wedding, but made sure a few of our close friends were there as witnesses. No honeymoon, though. Alex started a new job today. What a crazy month it's been! [In case you're curious, he is also a columnist at MousePlanet, making up half of the team that writes the Dual ReViews there.]

Now onto the July Travelite Tip:

If you've been to Europe or Japan lately, or live in a neighborhood with older children that venture outdoors, you might have seen the youngsters puttering around on what looks like a non-motorized skateboard scooter. What you've seen in the "Razor Scooter," the newest big hit at many stores, including the Sharper Image.

At a fairly affordable price of around $100, these Razors make GREAT travel companions! Features include:

- Light weight: Easy to carry (weighing in at about six pounds)

- Adult weight: Can support up to 100 kilograms (220 pounds)

- Portability: Folding format takes them down to about 5" x 7" x 23"

- Wear regular shoes: Skateboard-type deck means you don't have to wear special shoes or boots, like you would with in-line skates.

- Replacement parts: Inline skate-type wheels are interchangeable and replaceable

- Carry bags (usually an accessory with added cost): Let you hide the scooter if you don't want to show you have one

- Mobile: Lets you cover far more distance than with walking alone, letting you visit far more places on your travels.

- Totally manual: No electronics or engines to break down, and no smog pollution.

- Carry 'em on! Airlines allow you to carry these on!!

Unlike inline or roller skates that require special sizes, anyone of any shoe size can ride these. Better yet, they require far less skill; most anyone should be able to hop on one of these and go! I cannot say the same thing for skates (inline, roller, ice or otherwise) or even bicycling. Goodness knows, I've had my share of bad falls (scars and broken bones serve as reminders for me!).

Do you have an RV or otherwise use a folding bicycle? The Razor would be a very fine replacement of your folding bike, especially when comparing costs. While the Razor won't allow you to cycle for miles on end (unless you're in top shape), it is more than adequate for tooling around the cities you visit. Just the other day, I saw a couple riding their individual Razor scooters through the streets of San Francisco. They used the sidewalk, and went slow enough to easily maneuver through pedestrian traffic, yet fast enough that they could cover far more ground than if they were just walking.

The following is from Jayson, who has been using his Razor scooter since last year.

"I got one last year from some other company, before Sharper Image started carrying them this spring. I love it! I use it to zoom around the streets and hills, and I use it to get to work sometimes when I'm running late. I've brought it on to Caltrain (a commuter train) a few times and then used it to get to wherever I have to work in Palo Alto, San Mateo and Redwood city. No more driving the dreaded Highway 101. Braking can be hard on the steeper hills, but it's not too bad, and I push off with the same foot. I'm wear a size 12 shoe, and I can put both feet on the platform. I just angle them both round the 10 o'clock position."

Jayson also reports that a person was allowed to carry on a Razor scooter in a recent flight on Southwest Air (apologies if I misremembered the airline!). I can back this up as well; last month, two young boys were each allowed to carry on their Razor scooters on a Delta flight out of Orange County Airport (SNA). These fellows did not use carry bags.

Some words of warning, though. You can go quite fast on these things, especially going downhill. A bicycle helmet (and other safety gear) would not be out of order, especially if you are facing hills, traffic, crowds, or go as fast as a bicycle. You must wear covered, flat shoes, since the only braking mechanism is a metal plate that covers the top of the back wheel (and I'm told if you brake a lot, the plate gets very hot), AND you can get really injured on a nasty fall. You might also consider safety glasses as well especially if you wear contacts and cannot tolerate debris bits and bugs flying into your eyes.

Here are some helpful Web site URLs. I am listing only those that appear to be selling the actual Razor scooter, and not similar models (as I am not familiar with them).

Razor - The Original Kick Scooter: http://www.razor-scooter.com/.This site has an informative page describing how to tell a Razor from cheaper knock-offs.

Razorscooters.com: http://www.razorscooters.com/. Yet another purported official site.

Sharper Image's Razor page: http://www.sharperimage.com/ProductDisplay.jsp?name=JD030

Rain City's Razor page: http://www.rainycity.com/razor-scooter.htm

Razor Scooter Board: http://www.razorscooterboard.com/

Australian Razor Scooter page: http://www.razorscooter.com.au/

If you've had experience puttering around with these things, let me know! Better yet, send me a .jpg photo of you riding your Razor around on your travels! You might see yourself at Travelite.org!

Happy travels,

-- Lani Teshima

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