A bird is a warm-blooded vertebrate with feathers, wings, and a beak.
It is also an electric scooter that is riding its way into the hearts of many major cities.
Last week in San Diego, my parents and I struggled to find parking along the beach. We had to walk about two blocks before we reached our favorite dinner spot. Our restaurant view overlooked the beach and a sidewalk leading to the shore. It was easy to see why it was my dad's favorite place.
Before we knew it, five scooters zipped by, leaving us with a few questions.
What were those?
How come we've never seen those before?
How can we ride one?
Thankfully, a few of our questions were answered just then. A tourist walked up to a scooter propped against a handicapped sign, pulled out her phone, scanned something, and cruised away.
We asked for our dinner check and walked up and down the sidewalk looking for another one of those scooters.
When we found one, my dad scanned the barcode on the handlebars and downloaded the "Bird" app. He scanned his license, inputted his credit card numbers, read the instructions with me, and let me try it out.
The Bird was fast! Trying to avoid the crowds, I zipped up and down the sidewalk, careful not to turn too sharp.
It was pretty darn cool.
After letting my parents try it out, we decided to rent two more so that we could ride along the sidewalk together. After sunset, we left our Birds right by our car. Why? Because we could.
Hooked yet? You should be.
Here's everything you need to know about this new Bird craze.
1. The Bird costs $1 for the first minute and $0.15 for every minute after that. Not too bad!
2. You can leave your Bird wherever you want when you're done riding it! (please not in the middle of the street)
3. "You must be 18 years old to ride a Bird," states their instructions. But if you have a license and a credit card, you're good to go.
4. The Birds are silent. It's a smooth ride!
5. The Birds have a battery. I believe every night they're charged again and set out for new riders in the morning.
6. "You must wear a helmet to ride," says the Bird app, but I have yet to see a single rider with a helmet.
7. To start your ride, push off two or three times before pushing the "go" throttle.
8. The Bird app allows you to lock and unlock your ride at any time. Stopping to get an ice cream? Lock your ride!
9. The Bird has a light on the front of the handlebars for safe and convenient night riding.
10. The Bird can fly/scoot as fast as 15 miles per hour.
It really is a rad concept, but also a dangerous one. My mom is (kind of) a safe driver and had to brake hard when two teenage boys zipped right in front of us after a stop sign at a blind corner.
How long will these Birds last? Will they become a Dodo, and go as quick as they came? Or will they integrate as a pigeon, and become somewhat of a permanent pest?
Despite what the future may bring, I'd encourage everyone to try out a Bird the next time they're in a major city!