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I am not what you’d call a “daredevil.”  
You're more likely to find me tapping away on a keyboard or sitting with my nose in a book than doing anything adventurous. When we were kids, my cousins snowmobiled in the winter and rode motorcycles in the summer, but those activities were just not my thing. 
In fact, the first time I climbed onto a snowmobile, I fell off backward almost as soon as the driver hit the gas. 
But I do look forward to trying out the Bird scooters expected to arrive on the streets of Owatonna this summer. They look like fun and provide a reliable, inexpensive way to get around town. 
City officials have built a platform for success with an ordinance, a fee structure, and a license agreement. With final approvals, they paved the way last week for at least 50 scooters this year. Bird could provide up to 200, if there’s a demand.  
From 4 a.m. to midnight, we’ll be able to track down the nearest scooter on the Bird app, unlock it with the tap of a screen, and ride off into the sunset–or sunrise, as the case may be.  
While I’ve seen them in operation on the streets of Minneapolis, I did not expect to have access to scooters around here. Thanks to Bird's strategy of launching in smaller cities, they're popping up all over. And people are making use of them.  
Bird has rolled out fleets in Marshall, Albert Lea, Grand Rapids, and this year in Hastings, as well as Twin Cities suburbs Brooklyn Park, St. Louis Park, and Golden Valley. Two reporters for KEYC-TV in Mankato tried out scooters in New Ulm, where folks have used them to get to work and to local restaurants during their lunch hour.  
According to the company’s website, a fully charged scooter will take you around 15 miles, but I’m thinking of shorter rides–from our Steele County Times office in downtown Owatonna to the Steele County Free Fair, where I wouldn’t have to find a place to park. Or to Lake Kohlmeier, for a lunchtime nature break. 
While scooter popularity is impossible to predict, I’m hoping these cool rides do well and that they create even more excitement and fun in the heart of our community.

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