The school run gets speedier

The micro-scooter ‘fad’ has proved to be anything but. And now parental transport has gone wheely mad with the advent of the skatepram. Simon Usborne takes a ride to the school gates

It’s almost enough to make a young man broody. A buggy that is also a skateboard; an elegant coffee table on wheels with a fold-down lightweight seat at the front. The brainchild of a Belgian Dad commissioned by a buggy company called Quinny to create a  vehicle a parent could stand on, it’s designed to zip over longer distances with ease, perhaps in place of a car or bus.

But beyond its green credentials, the buggy, which will have to pass health and safety tests before it goes into production (I would worry about going down hills) is the latest device that seeks to transform what used to be a source of limited enjoyment: child transport. When did it get so fun?

A Swiss banker called Wim Ouboter is  arguably to blame. Years ago, while living in Zurich, he had a problem. His favourite sausage shop was too close to drive to but too distant to reach by foot. So he remembered the scooters his parents had given his sister in her youth, because she had one leg longer than the other, making walking tricky.

Ouboter invented the micro-scooter which, when it rolled into British playgrounds in 2000, seemed like the ultimate fad. But two million of the aluminium devices were sold in the first two years alone and they continue to crowd the school run, forcing many schools to provide scooter parking facilities.

More recently, they have become a hit with parents too, despite the laughable sight that a grown-up on a scooter remains. Micro Scooters, the biggest seller in the UK of the “bobbi board”, the three-wheeled son of Ouboter’s invention, reports growing sales of adult models, which now account for a small but significant proportion of the 250,000 scooters it sells every year. John Lewis, meanwhile, is struggling to meet demand for attachable wheeled platforms that allow a second child to ride a stroller.Other devices have struggled to get a foothold, perhaps most notably the clumpy Heelys roller shoes with their aircraft-like retractable wheels. But the demand among families for convoluted forms of wheeled conveyance endures. Cathy Ranson, editor of the Netmums website, blames fashion. “The school run used to mean a gentle stroll to school, hand-in-hand with your mum and chatting about the day,” she says. “Now kids are pestering parents for flashing lights and nameplates to decorate their scooters.”

Price, as well as the risk of death, may yet limiting the would-be longboard craze. Its designer has estimated a tag of more than £300. Still, baby or no baby, I’m tempted.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

    £26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

    Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

    Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

    Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

    Day In a Page

    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific
    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    Dame Colette Bowe - interview
    When do the creative juices dry up?

    When do the creative juices dry up?

    David Lodge thinks he knows
    The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

    Fashion's Cher moment

    Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
    Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

    Health fears over school cancer jab

    Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
    Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

    Weather warning

    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
    LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

    High hopes for LSD

    Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
    German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

    Saving Private Brandt

    A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral