June 2, 2019

It literally felt like it happened overnight: electric scooters were dropped in various locations around downtown San Francisco. As a San Franciscan, we already adapted fairly well to public bicycles being available for a number of years, and the city moved quickly to make sure there were bike lanes on major thoroughfares (It's a not-so-petty quibble that it appears that Uber/Lyft drivers seem to think those same bike lanes are double parking locations to pick up fares, thus forcing bicyclists into dangerous car lanes). The scooters, though, are primarily driven on sidewalks, already crowded with people, the occasional bike messenger, trash, and well, even more disgusting things. And not to put too fine a point on it, San Francisco sidewalks can be treacherous all on their own with cracks, uneven pavement, and steep slopes.

So what would element would you think to add to this urban obstacle course? POGO STICKS, natch!

Earlier this month, start-up company Cangoroo announced plans to deploy hundreds of pogo sticks in select cities to directly compete with electric scooters as a transportation option.

Cangoroo officials said they plan to first launch their pogo sticks in the Swedish cities of Malmo and Stockholm sometime this summer.

After that, they would deploy the sticks in both London and San Francisco.

On Friday, Cangoroo CEO and co-founder Adam Mikkelsen said his company chose San Francisco as one of its launch cities because of its reputation as place of innovation.

Flattery isn't gonna get you far, Mikkelsen. Like the motorized scooters, the pogo sticks would be available for a rental price (I've seen city officials estimating it to be $1/minute, similar to the scooters) and could be dropped off wherever for someone else to pick up (thus adding to the garbage on the sidewalk with abandoned pogo sticks). However, you can arguably cover a decent distance with even a ten minute rental of a scooter, but ten minutes on a pogo stick? That's what, maybe two, three blocks? All the while, navigating around everything else.

It's hard to really give someone outside the city the flavor of how hazardous this would be, but I found this walking tour of San Francisco, albeit in the morning before the crowds of people are out. Look at the hills, the pedestrians as they get closer to downtown, the hazards around Chinatown. Now imagine a handful of pogo stick operators among them.

I can't see how that is literally or figuratively possible.

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