I had to give them a go, the bright purple scooters that have appeared on Whangārei streets.
Near Pak'nSave, walking back to work, I decide now's the time. My 18-year-old daughter, who's with me, brings up the app on her smartphone.
It's her first try with the app, so we don't quite know what we're doing. We didn't realise when we had done it correctly. So we were being charged for scootering time while still standing there, slightly befuddled.
No time to waste, then — God knows how much it was costing already — I quickly don my helmet and hop on the scooter.
"Now what? How do you make this thing go?"
"There, Dad, hold that down," my daughter says in an exasperated and condescending tone.
The scooter takes off. I'm at top speed in a matter of seconds. And it feels a lot faster than I was expecting.
It doesn't look that fast when you see someone else riding them. It's the same phenomenon as seeing someone jump from a diving platform into a pool. Doesn't look that high. But when you get up there.
So I'm on the scooter, realising I need to pay attention going at this speed. Just as well, because I have to duck when I get too close to the corner of a sign protruding into the footpath zone. Tall riders, beware.
Later, I learned that the scooters can only go at top speed in some areas. In high pedestrian traffic areas, the maximum speed automatically comes down. Clever. And sensible. Explaining why, on Vine St, I lost power.
I arrived at my destination promptly. And that included one circuit of an off-street carpark.
When my daughter catches up on foot, we work out that it's cost just over $5. I was expecting worse. Still, that's the price of a coffee in town these days, so marginal cost is something to think about.
I can't see myself using one again, not when I've got my own two feet.
Though I'm probably not the target demographic. I haven't seen many middle-aged men riding one. And fewer middle-aged women.
I've seen teenagers riding them. One memorable convoy of teenage girls, all dressed similarly for summer, wearing colourful eyeliner and sparkles on their cheeks, was particularly impressive. Everyone got out of their way, like they were nobility or Instagram influencers.
Do we really need them dotted around the city? Are they solving an urgent transport problem? They seem more like a toy.
Then again our cars and bikes are kinds of toys also. We enjoy the power, the freedom, the sense of movement they provide. And the status they convey.
Maybe there's something in the way young people are using scooters that points to a new relationship with transport.
Maybe we don't need to own electric cars and bikes. Instead, we access transport when we need it, and in various forms: a scooter, a bike, a bus, an Uber, a car-for-hire.
And we choose different modes for different reasons. Sometimes for fun and to make a statement — like the convoy of teenage girls I saw. Sometimes for the practicalities of getting to work and school.
Sometimes we can still use our own body to propel us to where we want to go. After all, our bodies are equipped with a proven and tested battery system that converts calories into expendable energy.
If we are to reduce our environmental impact, maybe we need to get over the idea of ownership. That would be the answer to fewer cars on the roads.
Initially, I admit, when the purple scooters first turned up on our streets, I was ready to condemn them outright as an unnecessary triviality.
While I still have concerns about running transport on batteries requiring rare metals plundered from the world's poorest regions, I concede these scooters could signify a mind shift.
We pay upfront when we want to use a particular transport option, like scooters or, one day, electric cars operating on a similar principle.
Or we pay our taxes so that we can get cheap or free public transport within our cities and between them.
Our transport systems and our attitude to transportation are currently at an in-between stage. And a bit of mess, to be frank. But with petrol prices going northwards and road building and maintenance costs exorbitant, we're slowly being pushed into considering alternatives.
Purple scooters may or may not be part of the long-term answer (and they shouldn't be subsidised with public money), but perhaps they herald a new way of thinking about moving around that doesn't include everyone owning a car.