Scooter Squad takes to the UP streets

By Kelsie Smith | September 28, 2016 4:32pm

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Here’s a riddle: what happens when you combine four University of Portland seniors, vintage motor devices and the energy of teen-angst rebellion? You get the “Scooter Squad.” This group not only wears DOT certified helmets and remains under the 35mph speed limit, they also ride in a diamond shape and parade the streets and also go through fast-food drive thru’s in unison. Safety, environmentally friendly practices and bonding are three foundational elements of the Scooter Squad.

The squad consists of seniors Reid Paquet, Connor Saben, Sawyer Reid, and Rob Wortham. One could say that the roots of this group began when Paquet, one of the four founders of the Scooter Squad, was gifted his uncle’s 1980 vintage motorized scooter. Paquet brought the scooter up from California and has been fixing it up himself.

Wortham obtained a scooter made of airplane parts. Wortham found his scooter on Craigslist. The man selling it had originally found it broken down in the middle of a field, so he brought it home, fixed it up with spare airplane parts for a sleek finish and put it up on Craigslist.

“I like to pretend that airplane wings will shoot out of it,” said Paquet.

Saben, too, bought his 2005 model on Craigslist. Reid has the newest of the models.

by Connor Saben / The Beacon

These men abide by the law, and have a fun time doing it. Paquet is known to be the “lawyer” of the squad, fact checking laws and making sure the squad abides by them. Wortham “provides comedic relief,” said Paquet, and Saben is known as the “innovator,” the motivator behind the squad to ban together and bond. Reid is the most stylish of the group. Paquet and the squad agree that Sawyer has the best helmet.

Even with these different personalities, keeping their vintage scooters safe is a priority.

A 15-foot long lock stretches across the front wheels of all four bikes when they are all at home. Was is mentioned that these squad members are also housemates?

As a squad, the four scoot around the University of Portland/St. John’s area. A favorite outing of the squad is driving in unison through the McDonald’s drive thru. Perhaps because Paquet has had his scooter the longest, he is the only member who can pop-a-wheelie.

Paquet describes the group as a “motorized environmentalist revolution.” As the “lawyer” in squad, he said that the average miles per gallon for a scooter is 70 to 100, depending on the make and model. Paquet thinks more students using scooters would help with UP parking; all four scooters can fit in one parking space. The squad is looking forward to the day when they can purchase electric scooters to be even more environmentally sound.

Apart from the environmentalist perspective, the Scooter Squad is an inclusive group of current seniors. Paquet said that anyone is “more than welcome” to join the group.

"Honestly it’s a squad that’s willing to accept more members at any point,” Saben said. “If there were 100 people riding scooters, do you know how sick that would be? And how much you would save on parking too? I know when I ride my scooter, I will have a spot, no matter the weather.”

Scoot over cars, the squad is coming through. 

Contact reporter Kelsie Smith at smitkels18@up.edu.
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