Have you ever thought, “I wish I could ride a Bird scooter safely, if only someone had a very serious guide to instruct me on how to ride said scooter?” Probably not. In fact, I will admit that when I was asked to write a very serious guide to riding a Bird scooter, my first reaction was, what’s next, a very serious guide to opening a car door? Which frankly, might be more complicated, considering child safety locks and the fact that these days some car doors require a button and others don’t have a handle and you know what, I’m gonna pitch this car door idea in tomorrow’s meeting.
Anyway, I think I’ve made my point that this guide likely only applies to a handful of people, a handful that doesn’t even include my own mother, who cracked this secret code all on her own and who when I asked to give me her advice on this topic, looked at me, attempted to give me a couple of tips but quickly veered into asking me: “Are you sure about this writing thing?”
But now, let’s back to the guide at hand because who knows, maybe you’re out there, potential Bird scooter rider too afraid to cruise the streets on two wheels because no one has ever taken the time to properly explain how to do it.
Unsurprisingly, the only other serious guide to riding a Bird comes by way of Bird.co. All other instructional guides and videos out there focus mainly on how to download the app, locate a Bird scooter via the app and unlock this scooter with your phone. This is likely because all other instructional videos are safely but perhaps naively assuming that an actual instructional video of how to stand on the footboard with one foot and push using the other foot while holding down the throttle is the sort of thing that any person old enough to drive a motor vehicle — you have to have a driver’s license to pilot a Bird — and by nature of being a bipedal species with basic human intellect should be able to figure it out.
In fact, even the official Bird guide only includes two steps for how to actually ride this scooter:
- “Stand on Bird, push-off, then push throttle button with thumb to ride.”
- “Place both feet on footboard while riding.”
If you take nothing else away with you, just know that there’s no other way to ride a Bird scooter without actually standing on the scooter and giving yourself a small push start using one of your feet while holding down the throttle. If you try to use both feet to pedal while holding down the throttle, the scooter will go on for about a half a foot without you on it. Yes, I included this bit of self-evident information because this entire guide may in fact seem self-evident so I figured what the heck.
Okay, now that we’ve got the basics down (if you’re wondering what else there is, you’d be thinking mostly right but I have to fill this page with words so bear with me), let’s go over a couple do’s and don’ts when attempting to ride a Bird scooter for the first time.
1) Don’t try riding a Bird scooter for the first time on a crowded street. Because this:
Instead, locate an empty parking lot or back alley where even if you eat shit, you will be able to munch concrete privately and without having to worry about getting hit by a car.
2) Do wear a helmet. I know, I know, helmets are lame but if you needed a serious guide to writing a Bird scooter, you’re lame, so wear a Goddamn helmet. Also you could get a ticket if you’re not wearing one.
3) Don’t get overconfident and hold down the throttle during your first run. You may think that you’re suddenly some sort of Bird scooter riding pro, ready to shred the busy streets of your gentrified neighborhood. I assure you, you’re not.
4) Don’t turn too quickly. When approaching a turn or when trying to turn, take your thumb off the throttle and slowly begin to veer the scooter in the direction you wish to go using the handle bars. (I can no longer tell if I’m writing this guide for the novice Bird enthusiast or for myself, either way, this is how you turn.)
5) Do slow down before you think about wanting to get off. Alternatively, you could jump off at 15 mph (the Bird scooter’s top speed) at which point, you should expect to experience some cuts, bruises and potentially fractured bones. Hopefully if you’re wearing a helmet, you’ll live to tell your grandkids the harrowing story of how you fell off a Bird scooter.
6) Don’t leave your Bird scooter in the middle of the street or walkway on its side when you’re done with it. Admittedly, this has nothing to do with how to ride a Bird scooter and it has everything to do with not being an asshole. Don’t be an asshole.
Finally, if you appreciated this guide and you want more like it, please do not contact my editor and ask for more how to guides to obvious things, otherwise I will find you and push you off your Bird just as you start getting the hang of it.