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Welcome to the SUMMER 2003 edition of the NYCEwheels Newsletter!

As we all know....summer is SLOW. That's why we consolidated the last couple of month's e-news into a summer edition. But now that fall is almost here, look out for our regular monthly issues!

In this issue:

Eco-trekker's From Down Under Take On America (and take us on the Today Show!)

Eye on E-Commuting: Milton and the brand spanking new and beautiful Vego SX 600

Battery Recycling - If you haven't done it already, you will need to someday.

A Shocking Q & A

Eco-Trekker's From Down Under Take On America (and take us on the Today Show!) LINK TO VIDEO BELOW.
At 5:00am on Tuesday morning, the 15th of July, we loaded up the car with all our bikes and scooters and hauled them down to the mother of all morning television talk shoes, The Today Show, at NBC Studios in Rockefeller Plaza. It was a special day - the day before Australian television star and Eco-Trekker Shaun Murphy kicked off an 8 month long trip around the United States in an RV fueled only by renewable energies. Cow patties, sugar cane and vegetable oil are some of the fuels they will use in their eco-mobile. Shaun and Al Roker talked about the various types of electric scooters and bikes available as well as the great Eco-Trek around America he has planned. Learn more about this unprecedented journey at Shaun and his crew will be passing through New York again in October and November and we are looking forward to seeing them again then!

Shaun Murphy, the Eco-Trekker!

Moi, in the Corbin Sparrow, the "Jetsonesque" e-car!

Bert, on the set ot the Today Show, doing his best Clint Eastwood impersonation.

In case you are wondering how I can be so nonchalant about the Today Show experience, it is because I don't really care that much about publicity and maybe getting to be famous some day -- (Secretly I can barely contain myself what with all the excitement and fanfare associated with being almost on the Today Show!) I mean, WE were not on, but the bikes and scooters were and OH, what a thrill to be there behind the scenes! You know who else was there? The NYC firefighters from the Calendar! Ooh la la! I got my picture taken with 4 beefy bo-hunky firemen! And the green room! You know, the place where all the stars hang out. We went to the green room and ate cheese and egg quiche and muffins and sweets and we drank their coffee and Mayor Bloomberg was there and Katie Couric has really cute shoes, boy oh boy, it was heaps of fun!) -- it is really no biggie, I mean, The Today Show, big deal. Doesn't mean too much to me. Not at all . . . that is how I can be so nonchalant.

Moi again, with a NYC Fireman Hunk!

Check out the Today Show Video HERE!

Eye on E-Commuting:

NYCE Kim - From New York City, the Bronx to be precise, I bring you Milton, scooter commuter extraordinaire! Milton, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Let's start with the basics - how far is your commute?

Milton - Hi Kim, nice to be here. Let's see, I live in Holland Avenue in the Bronx - it is near the Bronx Zoo. And I go from there to the Plaza Hotel in 59th Street and 5th Avenue where I work. I checked it out on - it is a little over 10 miles. With the battery upgrade I made it all the way on my first scooter, the Pacelite 707.

NYCE Kim - Isn't there a Christmas song about Holland Avenue?

Milton - I don't know about that, but Run DMC did one called Christmas in Hollis.

NYCE Kim - That's it! And he rhymes macaroni and cheese with Christmas cheese! I mean trees! Christmas trees! I love cheese! They have a lot of nice cheese at NBC studios where I was recently almost on the Today Show. Brie, muenster, you name it, they had all the good cheese there. . . You mentioned your "first scooter" and a "battery upgrade" tell us your story.

Milton - My story. Well, first I was looking online for scooters. Wanted to be able to commute from my house to my job so distance and speed were important to me. I found you online and it said "come in for a test drive" so I did and I tried a couple of scooters and fell in love with the Pacelite 707. But I needed the battery upgrade because it didn't make it all the way. I stopped about 20 minutes from my house. Then I got a flat tire and when I came back to get it fixed Bert told me about the available speed upgrade and so I went for that too because I have a need for speed!

NYCE Kim - How did the Pacelite 707 (speaking of "port" there is nothing like a bottle of port and a nice piece of cheese) do with the speed upgrade?

Milton - Well, it was great except that when it was really hot the motor kept cutting out. I came back to the shop and the Vego was there and then I had a tough decision to make.

NYCE Kim: Tell us about it.

Milton -- Well you see, to me, the Pacelite 707 is like a Lexus and the Vego SX 600 is like a Navigator.

NYCE Kim - A Navigator?! You mean, like a Lincoln Navigator? As in an SUV? That's a great analogy! Too bad more Americans can't settle on a Vego SX 600 instead of a big gasser!! But tell me more about what you mean.

Milton - Well, I'm tall and the Vego has more space for my knees. When I came in for my speed upgrade, Bert had a Vego SX 600 on display and I was like, "Oh my goodness!" I had to try it out, and it seemed more substantial. The Pacelite 707 is just beautiful, like a Lexus, but the Vego fits me better. But I do miss the speed of the Pacelite 707 with the upgrade on it - it was a little faster than the Vego is now. But I like the Vego, it fits me.

NYCE Kim - Any range problems with the Vego?

Milton - Not yet!

NYCE Kim - That's great. So, how did you get into electric scooters in the first place?

Milton - Well, electric scooters are quieter than gas powered scooters. And since scooters are somewhat illegal - it depends on the cops discretion - and I find they pull younger kids on gas scooters over, I thought electric was better. Also, I have kids and I don't want to bring gas into the house and besides that, I can bring the electric scooter into the Plaza Hotel with me to work and I couldn't bring a gas one in. Also, electric scooters are not bad for the environment. I don't drink or smoke or ride a gas scooter. Electric scooters are getting more popular. Everyone asks about the scooter. So I hope the manufacturers will spend more time to increase range - maybe add solar power or something. I wish there were more affordable alternatives to gas available now.

NYCE Kim - Don't we all. Just for the record, in New York, electric powered scooters are technically illegal because the law does not differentiate between gas powered and electric powered. But you are correct in that most cops don't bother electric scooter riders. How about your family's reaction to you riding a scooter and the people at work?

Milton - Everyone at work asks about the battery range. My wife, she thought I was crazy at first. Now she wants one too!

NYCE Kim - Haha! That is usually how it works. Well, do you have any advice or parting words for other scooter commuters or people thinking about becoming a scooter commuter out there?

Milton - Make sure you carry your receipt with you because cops have been known to confiscate scooters if you don't have proof of purchase on you. And for those who are thinking about it: it is a nice investment to have and a nice alternative to gas or the subway. I think electric is the way to go!

NYCE Kim - Me too, Milton. Thanks so much for your time and that's a wrap! Speaking of wraps, I like cheese and turkey and spinach wraps the best . . .

Battery Recycling

Electric bikes and scooters - we all have them and we all will have to replace our batteries at some point, or perhaps already have.

What to do with those used batteries?

You are not allowed to put them out with the trash and can't just toss them in the river or bury them in the back yard because it is devastating to the environment and the public health, not to mention illegal according to Federal law (40 CFR part 273). Most states have their own laws prohibiting the disposal of rechargeable batteries, as well. So, the big question - what to do with the old batteries? The answer: Recycle them!

If you live in New York City, you can bring your used rechargeable batteries here, to NYCEwheels, for recycling, or to one of the Department of Sanitation's Household Special Waste Drop-off Sites:

-Bronx: Hunts Point at Farragut Street and East River
-Brooklyn: Bay 41st Street and Gravesend Bay, south of South Shore Parkway (adjacent to the DSNY Brooklyn 11 garage)
-Queens: College POint at 30th Avenue, between 120th and 122nd Streets
-Staten Island: The foot of Muldoon Avenue off the West Shore Expressway (440) adjacent to the DSNY Staten Islan 3 garage

A great website to check out for battery recycling centers nationwide is the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (

They offer battery recycling information for Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion), or Small Sealed Lead (Pb) weighing 2 pounds or less.

Since most of us use lead batteries weighing much more than 2 pounds, check out your own city's Department of Sanitation web page and see what they have to offer - or else just call them. Another option is retail stores, like auto parts stores or service outlets, which sell new Sealed Lead Acid batteries. Most will likely accept a small number (one or two) of spent Sealed Lead Acid batteries for recycling.

Tip: When transporting batteries be sure to eliminate the terminal contacts by either placing the battery in a plastic bag or wrapping black electrical tape around them.

A Shocking Q & A

Question: Why don't we put a fork in the toaster?
Answer: The same reason we don't put our fingers in the electrical outlet.
Question: Why don't we put our fingers in the electrical outlet?
Answer: The same reason we don't put letter openers on battery terminals.
Question: Why don't we put letter openers on battery terminals?
Answer: Because it is SHOCKING!