For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to fly. I don’t know why it’s appealed to me so much but every time I was asked as a kid about which superhero superpower I wanted, it was always flying first and, well, maybe super strength a distant second. I guess I’ve never seen the need to lift a car but getting places faster and without traffic has always been nice to think about.
When I saw Back to the Future II as a 9 year old and saw the hoverboard for the first time, I was all over the idea. I’m still awaiting the day that we and our vehicles achieve easier personal flight than airplanes, but today’s hoverboards are a huge step forward. While they don’t actually hover above the ground, these devices have affectionately adapted the nickname if only because “hoverboard” rolls off the tongue better than “hands free segways” and some of the other terms used to describe them.
It has now been a little while since the first hoverboards hit the market and I see them everywhere now. Technology has been rapidly evolving and what you see out nowadays is nothing like it was just a short time ago. Take Swagway’s new Swagtron T3 hoverboards for example. This is a fantastic example of how we’re moving to where a hoverboard is less a novelty and more a legitimate way of travel. While the Swagtron T1s were fairly efficient themselves, the T3 is a cut above.
Hoverboards are something I wish I had during campus crawls. When I went to get my degree, one of the things I hadn’t thought about was how much I would be walking. Even though my campus wasn’t nearly as big as some of the bigger universities in Canada, I would often find myself dashing from Point A to Point B regularly and coming into class sounding gasping for air because I barely left enough time between class to get from one side of campus to the other. A hoverboard definitely would have cut down on those long jogs and would definitely have had me focused in on class much faster than missing the first 5 minutes trying to catch my breath.
This idea of Easy Transportation is just one of the reasons to get yourself a hoverboard this year. Here are a few more.
Hoverboards are pretty portable
While a hoverboard’s weight distribution is much denser than a bicycle, it’s size means that you can do much more with it. Bicycles are also one of the leading causes of Home Insurance theft claims in general and not only is it difficult to trust the lock you often have but the chances of recovery aren’t always that great.
Hoverboards weigh a little more than the average bicycle (at between 22-25 pounds) but you can just carry them under your arm (or get a bag to sling over your shoulder) to tote them around. No need to worry about locks getting sawed while you’re at work or out of the storage area. A hoverboard can just fit under your desk or go straight into the staff room for safekeeping.
Fun for the whole family
I seem to remember a time around 10 years ago when all of my younger cousins got together for a family dinner and they were taking turns learning how to ride one of those 2 wheeled scooters for hours on end. I never quite got the appeal of those but I definitely get the appeal of this. A hoverboard would be a neat way to get family and friends together for some outdoor time while learning a new skill. There’s obviously a learning curve in getting yourself balanced and properly riding, so why not do it in the company of family and learn altogether?
Cut down on gas costs for short commutes
If you’re traveling alone somewhere and it’s a fairly short distance, you can ditch the car and take your hoverboard instead. The average human walks about 5 km/h. With a hoverboard traveling around 2.5x that fast, you can get some fresh air and make it where you need to go on time. I have a fairly short commute to work (3km each way) and estimate that I would save around 1000 litres of gas (with allowance for bad enough weather and snow days) annually (20L per week) if I were to use a hoverboard instead of my car which means that it would pay for itself in about 6 months. You may want to consider that option if the weather holds up enough of the year for you to try this out. Unfortunately, while the engineers have solved mysteries like hills and braking, wet weather still seems to be a challenge. You can’t yet take these reliably in heavy rain or snow without the danger of shorting it.
There is, of course, the added benefits of spending more time outdoors and even the potential of being less tied to transit schedules if you rely on buses and/or subways to get to work.
Learning a new skill
Come on, learning a new skill is fun and when was the last time you learned how to ride a new method of self-transportation? It’s been more than 15 years since I got my driver’s license and more than 25 since I learned how to ride a bike. For some of you, maybe it’s a little less but you catch my drift. You’re going to have to learn to balance on one of these things while teaching yourself how to accelerate, decelerate, stop and turn without looking like you’re on a surfboard over rough tide. It might take you a little longer than usual and you may have a few tumbles along the way but you may as well learn this and get your feet wet with evolving technology at the same time, right?
Bonus: Get to your neighbourhood Pokestops much faster
With Pokemon Go now challenging us to be the very best (that no one ever was,) you’re going to find yourself wandering around outside much more than ever before (or at least since you last played a lot of Ingress.) If you’re tired from walking up and down hills and stalking that Blastoise all day, a hoverboard might be a great way to take you from Point A to Point B, or at least give your feet a well needed break once you need it.
Granted, it won’t help you with those egg incubation walks but it will get you to those Pokestops much faster, especially when you see that somebody has dropped a lure nearby for everybody to enjoy.
But what about all the news reports about batteries?
There’s nothing quite like becoming the next 6 o clock news story for all the wrong reasons. One of the biggest worries heading into last holiday season were combusting hoverboards. However, those fears started to get dashed a bit as we saw that it was often cheaper builds with components cutting corners of safety in order to be offered for cheaper.
In the face of these horrific videos and reports, there are new safety and standards guidelines. For your personal protection, please be sure that you purchase a hoverboard that bears the UL 2272 certification stamp. Be sure that you only use first party charging equipment and don’t overcharge your device. These are the major points of these safety guidelines. Please click the link above to familiarize yourself with the others. These may look and sound like they’re recreational toys, but they’re anything but.
Finally, when looking for a new hoverboard, be sure to read up on some of the restrictions and special features before you commit. For example, Swagtron’s hoverboards have a 220lb maximum weight restriction (and a minimum requirement of 44lb) and a range of 7-12 miles. While most hoverboards have been proven to be able to go up moderately graded hills with ease, expect the small electric motor to struggle or go slowly up steeper grades. Lastly, be sure to follow any local safety recommendations or transportation laws that exist and are required for you to operate one of these things.
The new line of Swagtron T3s (and the previous Swagtron T1s) are now available online at BestBuy.ca