The first reaction to my trip on two wheels came in the morning at just after 7 clock by a cyclist. "Hey, you blind." I was not really awake yet. In contrast to the LED lamp of my e-scooter. It's Tuesday, the first day of the Frankfurt Motor Show IAA. And I start the fair with an experiment.
So far, I have demonized the IAA for their long ways just as the e-scooters, which stand around these days everywhere in the way. I can not change much on the long paths. But maybe a means of transport that I cursed without ever using it can help me. I download the first app that shows my store. It is the app of Tier, a start-up, in the last also invested the Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg, as I'll find out later. In minutes I'm ready to go, the next pet scooter is only 50 meters from my hotel.
Claas Tatje, on the way in Frankfurt © Alex Kraus for ZEIT ONLINE
My first goal: the BMW press conference, 8:30 am. So far, I have always come too late at fairs on the first dates. Too long the snakes, too far the paths over the terrain. Thanks to the animal, I think that will change. I will feel like Marty McFly in Back to the Future . The movie poster said: "He always came late for dinner and never on time for school, and one day came years too early."
Quite so it did not come, but almost. The e-scooter drives me almost silently through the city. Since I do not know my way around Frankfurt, I want to follow the skyscrapers. But they are in the fog. In hindsight, I'll say that I drove a huge detour, but no matter: I drive in a wide arc through the city center, over the Nibelungenallee on Grüneburgpark and Palmengarten over and still stand at 7:30 clock in front of the fair entrance to the Emser bridge. There I turn off the scooter and log out. 6.89 Euro costs the 31-minute drive. In addition to one euro for the booking will be charged 19 cents per minute. By taxi I would have paid 20 euros and would not have been in the fresh air.
Traffic rules? I disobeyed consistently
What I did not know: The entrance to the fair starts at 8 o'clock. So I have time to study the traffic rules - and find that I have consistently disregarded them. Since I was traveling without a helmet, it seemed safer to drive on the sidewalk. Now I learn: E-scooters belong on the bike path or on the road. This attitude, which apparently many e-scooter users share, is probably the main reason why e-scooters have such a modest reputation: The drivers do not follow the rules. Almost without exception, they drive without a helmet and constantly ignore the law. This is also because the scooters seduce their users to abuse. They are as fast as a bicycle but give the user the feeling of being a pedestrian. But are e-scooters therefore a means of transport that should be banished from the cities? Or is it something that we first have to get used to, as we once did with the automobile - which, decades ago, caused many more deaths in Germany than in those days.
Straight from the fair back to the hotel. © Alex Kraus for ZEIT ONLINE
After the BMW appointment, in which I am told how the Bayerische Motoren Werke wants to deal with batteries in the future, I have 20 minutes to get to the Mercedes stand. Right in front of hall 11, the next scooter just seems to be waiting for me. I unlock it and take five minutes to the Festhalle. When I arrive, I'm not sweaty, I'm relaxed. This e-scooter, really! It made my day . Not enough that I'm on time, I also have the energy to absorb the next commitment to sustainable mobility. Easy to reach by foot is the VW press conference. After witnessing VW getting intoxicated with its new flagship model ID.3, I am rushing myself back to the hotel room to write. For a change, I take the subway - a decision that I'll regret a little later.
After leaving the Konstablerwache I run consistently in the wrong direction. This happens when you get to know the city only by tunneling. I walk around the wrong way for so long that I'm getting further and further away from my hotel. At some point I grab me unnerved the next best scooter and I'm straight in my hotel. That's worth 1.57 euros. One thing is clear to me after this odyssey. On the scooter you have more of the city. You get to know them, especially when you can not navigate your smartphone. Normally I am moving through Frankfurt: arrival at the main station, escalator ride in the underground subway or subway. Exit at the underground stop. A few hundred meters walk to the meeting point. And back. Bye-bye Frankfurt.
The perfect solution for the last mile
This time I make loud little city tours. From the hotel it goes back to the fair, past the Commerzbank Tower, once through the red light district, past the train station and through the Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage. In the evening it goes along the Main to the Romans, just in time for the sunset. The e-scooter is an ideal means of transport for unknown cities, or better: the perfect complement. He is agile and therefore often faster than a bicycle. In seconds it accelerates to 20 km / h and keeps it constant - whether uphill or downhill. Above all, it is the perfect complement to the so-called last mile - the last few meters, for example, from the subway station to the destination. And that is exactly what I often miss. Bicycles need much more space and can be very tiring without electric drive. Of course, walking is always possible, but it takes time, especially in the big cities - and even longer in Berlin, which is as wide as it is long.
Traffic rules completely disregarded, but happy: Claas Tatje © Alex Kraus for ZEIT ONLINE
But before the pleasure is the deprivation. After returning to the fair, I learn that the e-scooters officially not allowed on the site. No idea who smuggled the morning scooter on the IAA. Suddenly, I appreciate even more what I got yesterday. On foot it goes to the BMW afternoon reception. But because it takes 20 minutes instead of five, the mass is read before I'm even at the booth. On a flying visit with other manufacturers from Jaguar over Borg Warner to the suppliers Continental and ZF, the sweaty footpath back to the Festhalle follows. The turnaround to e-mobility is being advertised on almost every stand. Today I experienced it myself, and it feels good. The way back to the hotel, I can not wait for it. I get on the next best e-scooter, and meander through the Messestau. Past the Porsche Panamera, past the Mercedes V-Class, an Audi Q5 and many, many other stinking cars that will only see the tail light of me. I hope it has not blinded too much.