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Bernard Kudulis

Considering EUC for London Daily Commute - Looking for Experienced riders opinion

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Posted (edited)

Hey all! First message here and I purely registered to ask this question because I see there's a great community here!

London is a mad city and public transport is super annoying. So I've been on the lookout for an alternative way (I hate cycling as I get super sweaty!). I already own an electric Scooter (Xiaomi m365) and an electric skateboard (Evolve GT) for 2+ years. I consider myself advanced and usually go into traffic comfortably being surrounded by cars. Only had 2 bad falls - bruises and ripped pants. I always wear a helmet and back/front lights including the horn but do not wear any padding. 3 months ago I started my own company and I work with many clients - meaning many meetings around central London. So a quick way to travel is my nr1 priority at the moment. 

2 months ago I decided I will get a EUC to be my nr1 way to commute in the city.

Whilst I love using my skateboard for the commute 60% of the time, it has some major downsides: 

  1. Not waterproof (It rains less in London that everyone thinks but it still does enough to prevent me from using it every other day...)
  2. If used in mild wet conditions - wheels splash mud on my pants and clothes.
  3. It's long and wide. 11KG weight. While it's possible to carry around and drag around, I find EUC a much more compact
  4. Making sharp turns can be a challenge (Need to loosen or tighten the trucks, which either makes it less nimble or less stable at high speed)
  5. I can do about 20km until the battery starts to give in 
  6. Standing sideways after 10-15min it starts to hurt my feet a lot. 30min+ is seriously painful. 

When it rains at the moment - I use my electric scooter. I do not mind using it, but its even bigger than my skateboard - meaning carrying around is very painful and near impossible to leave out. Also its slower, bigger, heavier and less fun, less range. 

London Commute - Main concerns: 

  1. Potholes 
  2. Traffic
  3. Intersections 
  4. Unexpected Rain 

Why do I think a EUC is the right option for me:

  1. Waterproof (I can ride it in the rain if I have to)
  2. Doesn't splash 
  3. Compact shape 
  4. Longest distance
  5. Even faster than my skateboard 
  6. Seems to be very nimble in traffic (youtube research..)
  7. Big wheel means less worry about potholes 
  8. Jumping curbs (This is sick! Stopping with my sk8 every time is so painful)

I think I could use it to zoom around central London from meeting to meeting with ease. But...

So Why Am I writing all of this? 

1 A month ago I was in the park with my skateboard and caught up with 3 EUC recreational users. They were on their way to the Electric Skateboarding shop. I joined them. We were chilling at the shop and I told them I wanted to get one for the commute. 

One of the guys called me crazy. He said it is the most dangerous thing in the world and he would never recommend it for the commute. They said the guys on youtube are mad and its incredibly difficult. They said stopping at intersections is impossible and very easy to wipe out. Basically, they spent 10min saying how dangerous and crazy that is. 

Main points of concern from them:

  1. Nearly impossible to stop/start at the intersection easily 
  2. If I'm pushed by accident, someone taps on the shoulder etc. The EUC can fly off into the traffic 
  3. It's easy to wipe out as its much harder to balance compared to a skateboard 
  4. Falls are much more common (they literally said its not whether I will fall when riding it but rather when I will fall - I do not get that with my sk8 :)) )

This post is already really long... It took me 4 months to get comfortable with my skateboard and another 3 months to go on the streets. Now I use it in traffic nearly daily and I feel safe and in control. 

Will I ever be the same with the EUC if I take the time to learn it? Were those guys overly conscious and simply hated on EUC because they run an electric skateboard shop? Would anyone recommend EUC for busy London commute and say its a good idea? I feel it would suit me.

But the concerns are real and before I fork out 1.5k+ on a device, would really appreciate some input, apologies for the text wall. 

P.s. I'm thinking about Gotway Tesla. 

Thanks all! 

 

Edited by Bernard Kudulis
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This video should answer a few of your questions, maybe @Afeez Kay can tell you more.

He is on a Tesla 

In London 

In traffic

;)

 

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7 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

This video should answer a few of your questions, maybe @Afeez Kay can tell you more.

He is on a Tesla 

In London 

In traffic

;)

 

 

Thanks for that! I go there every other day with my skateboard :) Well I guess I'm just looking for someone's input to tell me whether they feel safe (He does seem fairly chill). I had cabs pulling in front of me, cars not noticing me - jamming on the breaks on my sk8 etc. Bike paths are fun but not the same as the actual road :) I get it that it will never be completely safe, but getting a perspective from daily riders on would be awesome ;)

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Once you got the hang of it, it’s easy.

And i would say it’s safer than any other vehicle, at least i feel that way .

i had so many situations where i thought oops with a bike i wouldn’t have managed that.

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My learning curve (on KS16B) was about 3 weeks before I took it to the streets and started commuting long distances daily. But... aren't EUCs illegal in London?

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1 minute ago, hal2000 said:

My learning curve (on KS16B) was about 3 weeks before I took it to the streets and started commuting long distances daily.

Same as me.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, hal2000 said:

But... aren't EUCs illegal in London?

That was my understanding too - having read other posts from UK dwellers.Happy to stand corrected though, perhaps London has its own regional by-law?

Same legal standing exists in NZ - here the Land Transport Act effectively states that any motorised vehicle that cannot be registered, cannot be operated on the road. They had to make an amendment under urgency last year to allow the Lime e-scooter trials in various cities to operate without breaking the law. That amendment, declaring e-scooters not to be classified as "Motorised Vehicles" under the act  was needlessly specific IMHO, limiting the amendment to electric powered vehicles with 2-3 wheels not exceeding 300W, a horizontal board and vertical handlebar for steering. They even defined the maximum wheel diameter in the amendment :blink:.

So here I am, relegated to footpaths, which lets face it are not designed with wheeled vehicles in mind, but for feet. Keeps me super alert though, and my speed way down.

Edited by Sidewalk Enforcer
typo

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

This video should answer a few of your questions, maybe @Afeez Kay can tell you more.

He is on a Tesla 

In London 

In traffic

;)

 

Hi,

The Electric Unicycle (EUC) ,in my opinion, is the best rideable. It’s compact, agile, has long range and good speed.

2 questions:

Is the shop you went to called Wickboards by any chance? 

The guys you said discouraged you to get an EUC, are they themselves EUC rider?

Thanks

Edited by Afeez Kay
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It was Wickboards shop correct :D one of the guys was definitely a rider (he said he had it for 3 months), 2 other riders were fairly passive and 2 skateboarders were actively suggesting its very dangerous (the owner guy). 

As for the legal bit - it's not allowed but police doesn't care. I went passed multiple police cars on my skateboard / scooter without ever getting in trouble. Safe riding is super important and wearing a helmet etc. They don't mind if you look like you belong on the road. 

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7 hours ago, Bernard Kudulis said:
  • Nearly impossible to stop/start at the intersection easily 
  • If I'm pushed by accident, someone taps on the shoulder etc. The EUC can fly off into the traffic 
  • It's easy to wipe out as its much harder to balance compared to a skateboard 
  • Falls are much more common (they literally said its not whether I will fall when riding it but rather when I will fall - I do not get that with my sk8 :)) )

This is funny! I can see someone writing this on their third day of learning to ride. I does take time to learn. Once you have it is easier and more nimble than a bicycle. It took me three months to feel comfortable out in city car traffic. I still feel strange standing in traffic waiting for a light to turn green.  

The 18 inch wheels are better in traffic. 

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While the three guys did talk like novices, it does point out that learning an EUC to the point where you can comfortably zoom through traffic does not happen in a week.

But when you do learn, it is easily the most fun!

8 hours ago, Bernard Kudulis said:
  • Waterproof (I can ride it in the rain if I have to)

I think all EUC user manuals prohibit riding in rain or deep puddles. Z10 is perhaps in the lead, but I don’t think any EUC is actually rain-proof. I wouldn’t ride mine in rain.

8 hours ago, Bernard Kudulis said:
  • Big wheel means less worry about potholes

For the wheel, yes, but consider that you are standing on small pedals, feet next to eachother, and leaning forward. Not at all a solid balance. If the wheel suddenly slows down even a bit at thick sand, a root or a pothole, the little balance you had is easily gone.

Admittedly these new powerful wheels are very snappy and obstacles are a bit smaller issue than 2 years ago. But the rider still has to be prepared for each obstacle.

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Welcome to forum @Bernard Kudulis.  

I do commute to work usually before 8 am to central London, so the traffic is not that bad. I feel safe riding with group of cyclists. My main concern are potholes, zombie starring at mobile phones and broken glass. I would suggest you to buy electric bicycle rather than e-unicycle. You hate arrive to work sweety, this will solve your problem. If you need to meet clients, you can use your own e-bike, rent Lime e-bike or if it's raining and you want to look well in your suit you can call a cab.

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16 hours ago, Bernard Kudulis said:

As for the legal bit - it's not allowed but police doesn't care.......

......Until one of them does.  Expecting every police person to not be bothered is like playing Russian roulette with your £1,500 investment.  Confiscation and crushing is the standard response for illegal vehicles on the road. And 3 points on your driving license.  Yes you can pass 100 coppers without incident, but what about number 101?

Someone in Scotland had their wheel confiscated last month.  Someone in Wales, 2 years ago, with a fine too.  Some guy in London last year: confiscated, and point which, when added to his existing points, got him a driving bad.

Someone in London, by the embankment, last year, warned by motorcycle cop that they are illegal.  Several riders around Hyde Park last year told to get off and walk and not ride them again.

A provincial copper in Sussex warned me last November that I was breaking the law, but did not take my wheel, this time.

Just so you know what you are getting into.  I don't want to be reading a "no body told me" thread.

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7 hours ago, Monocyklista said:

I feel safe riding with group of cyclists.

It does feel safe riding in a group of cyclists. It is kinda odd when everyone is bent over peddling hard and you are just stand there. 

Sometimes when passing tourists, I will bend over and assume the cycle position. (knees bent, back bowed with hands on nonexistent handle bars ) You get a comical response  when someone spots the zebra among the horses. I give them wide eyes and a sshhhhh ! as a response. (Don't Blow My Cover!) 

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, RockyTop said:

I give them wide eyes and a sshhhhh ! as a response. (Don't Blow My Cover!) 

:roflmao:Get yourself some real handlebars complete with bell or old world "honk honk" horn

Edited by Smoother
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Posted (edited)

@Bernard Kudulis Most of the concerns you cite ( potholes, traffic, intersections, unexpected rain ) are easily dealt with with a bit of practice.

The legal aspect is the main issue I think; riding an euc is definitely forbidden anywhere public in London and the UK. I would not advise breaking the law ( even though I ride in front of the Parliament and Scotland Yard every day :) )

As for the safety aspect, as you know, London is full of crazy drivers who kill hundreds of cyclists every year :shock2:

And then you have all the other issues: the weather ( not a big deal, our eucs are fairly weatherproof, but still .. ), the potholes, the stressed out fellow cyclists, etc ...

So you are up against the world here, better stick with your car man!! :furious:

Mind you, all this is valid for electric scooters ( and anything electric really ) as well: illegal, dangerous, etc ...

For your use case, I wouldn't add this to the stress of dealing with the normal everyday business. Commuting to / from home is one thing, using an euc everywhere to meet customers is another thing.

But, since you already are breaking the law and know how to ride in London, here you go:

  • I needed a few weeks practice on my first wheel to feel confident enough and start commuting to the office ( 15 miles each way back then )
  • the ks16s has served me well commuting every day, rain or shine, and the msx looks promising as well. The msx offers no protection at all against water splashing against your back, a fender similar to this one is required, but is better at keeping your shoes dry, because of the pedal height
  • Use motorbike vests like this one: good protection, weatherproof, and business friendly
  • Practice off road if possible: good training for potholes, get the pleasure of riding as opposed to the boring commutes, etc ..
  •  Avoid crazy riding styles: swerving in traffic, speeding on pavements, etc ... The less attention you draw, the better for you and for us all

Good luck and keep us updated 

Edited by gena
water protection
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Posted (edited)
On 3/2/2019 at 7:56 PM, Bernard Kudulis said:

Waterproof (I can ride it in the rain if I have to)

We have seen the worst (burning batteries due to water intrusion). I don't think it is extremely difficult to build a waterproof EUC, but I can't say I'd fully trust any of the EUCs which are sold today.

Quote
  1. Doesn't splash 
  2. Compact shape 
  3. Longest distance
  4. Even faster than my skateboard 
  5. Seems to be very nimble in traffic (youtube research..)
  6. Big wheel means less worry about potholes 
  7. Jumping curbs (This is sick! Stopping with my sk8 every time is so painful)

You are mainly good on these points. I wouldn't want to go faster than 25km/h on an EUC. After all, riding an EUC at speed is intrinsically more dangerous than a bicycle. The amount to which potholes and speed bumps are a problem depends crucially on rider skills which are by no means easy to acquire, IMHO. Skilled and alert riders can manage pretty rough streets. I wouldn't count on switching to an EUC reduces the foot pain though.

Quote

:

  1. Nearly impossible to stop/start at the intersection easily 
  2. If I'm pushed by accident, someone taps on the shoulder etc. The EUC can fly off into the traffic 
  3. It's easy to wipe out as its much harder to balance compared to a skateboard 
  4. Falls are much more common (they literally said its not whether I will fall when riding it but rather when I will fall - I do not get that with my sk8 :)) )

1. I don't even understand why "stop/start at the intersection" is a problem. Unless, maybe, they haven't let go of the idea that they need something to hold on to stop, because they feel uncomfortable stepping down. It's a good idea to learn stepping down at ease and as part of riding with bent knees. In my mind, one foot down doesn't mean I stopped riding, it's just one of the possible positions I am in while riding.

2. The EUC can fly off into traffic. Skilled riders can mitigate this most of the time, but it would be unjustifiable to deny that there is a small risk remaining. I was using a leash during my first year of riding.

3. An EUC is about as hard to balance as a bicycle. It is not easy, but it is possible to become very comfortable with the balancing act (it's easy to underestimate bicycle riding skills, because most of us have acquired them quite a long time ago).

4. Falling will happen while learning (and the learning process is long). That doesn't mean to get hurt though. I have been riding more than 10000km without protection gear and haven't got hurt and falling becomes more and more rare (and usually while riding backwards, so much harder to run off). The major safety risks which come in my mind: speeding, aggressive acceleration, lack of alertness to (or misjudgment of) road conditions and obstacles, stiff knees. In particular a combination of more than one of these is hazardous. Just my 2 cents.

Edited by Mono
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I've been riding EUC's through London daily since 2014 and had no problems whatsoever.  Personally I feel a lot safer on an EUC than on a bicycle as having more freedom to turn your upper body means you have better visibility and awareness of your surroundings.

I've had two falls (when I wasn't trying to do tricks etc), one in my first week of learning and once two years ago my pedal clipped the leg of a bench and threw me off.  Had quite a few wheel shut offs going over pot holes etc which I've always been able to run off and avoid the face plant, but this was mainly down to the fact that the euc's I was riding at the time had low power (Airwheel x3, ninebot one etc).  But now riding on on a KS18XL, feel very comfortable because it has so much torque and the big tyre can handle most potholes (and tend not to ride at max speed!).  Regularly ride in heavy rain, never had any issues.  

I've tried electric skateboards a few times and find it harder to balance and maneuver than an euc (and I used to be a skateboarder), but as you mentioned, being able to jump on and off curbs, and ride onto grass and rough terrain is a HUGE advantage!

If you do decide to get one (which I highly recommend), make sure you spend a lot of time practicing before you start riding in traffic or busy pavements, and that you feel fully comfortable in your abilities to brake hard and turn sharply for avoidance maneuvers, as well as being able to ride at a slow walking pace (the hardest thing to master).  Also make sure you get a decent euc with plenty of power, wear a helmet and respect pedestrians traffic laws.

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9 minutes ago, KevinUR said:

If you do decide to get one (which I highly recommend), make sure you spend a lot of time practicing before you start riding in traffic or busy pavements, and that you feel fully comfortable in your abilities to brake hard and turn sharply for avoidance maneuvers, as well as being able to ride at a slow walking pace (the hardest thing to master).  Also make sure you get a decent euc with plenty of power, wear a helmet and respect pedestrians traffic laws.

This is a very important point.  You should be very comfortable in all normal aspect of riding (backwards, tricks, idling don't count as normal) before venturing onto busy streets.  I rode in Barcelona before I was properly ready, and I was bricking it a lot of the time. It was only when I got down to the harbour, where the paths were wide and the people more spread out, I was able to relax.

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