Take a cruise
What: Kimmie’s Kruisers, offering scooter and cruiser bicycle rentals
When: Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week
Where: Howelsen Place on Yampa Street, between Seventh and Eighth streets, next to Ciao Gelato
Cost: Scooter rentals cost $25/hour or $80/day; cruiser bike rentals cost $9/hour or $25/day; tandem-cruiser rentals cost $13/hour or $40/day
Contact: Call 970-367-3738
Steamboat Springs There’s a new way to get around Steamboat Springs this summer.
Kim McCullough, along with partners Randy Riley and Rusty Riley, has opened Kimmie’s Kruisers on Yampa Street between Seventh and Eighth streets, in the Howelsen Place building. The new downtown business is offering hourly and daily rentals of scooters and cruiser bicycles, with helmets available and, soon, maps of potential routes. On a sunny afternoon last week, the gleaming row of scooters turned heads and drew honks from cars passing by on Yampa.
“I think we need some fun,” McCullough said about her inspiration for the business. “It’s nice to sell fun for once.”
The energetic, cheery McCullough, a 32-year-old Realtor who came to Routt County in 2005, bought the 50cc scooters online from a California seller. The low-powered scooters top out at about 40 mph. A helmet and parent or guardian are required for riders younger than 18, she said.
She’s working with the Steamboat Springs Police Department to finalize regulations about whether to require a driver’s license for use of the low-powered scooters, which have some gray areas in Colorado law. Officer Scott Middleton, stopping by the business Thursday, said a driver’s license is required for the operation of any motorized vehicle on a public roadway, but low-powered scooters can be operated without a license on private property. There’s also the question, Middleton said, about whether the business reasonably can discern between valid and invalid licenses.
McCullough and Rusty Riley said Thursday that Kimmie’s Kruisers would follow whatever direction the Police Department gives. All scooter renters will sign a waiver releasing the business from liability in the case of an accident.
The scooters are not allowed on the Yampa River Core Trail or bike paths.
Police Capt. Joel Rae said the department would encourage scooter users to stay off Lincoln Avenue, similar to bicyclists.
“Being a bicycle-friendly community and encouraging all of our citizens for alternative transportation and designated bike lanes … part of that is we recommend (cyclists) don’t ride (bicycles) on Lincoln Avenue,” Rae said. “We’re going to obviously encourage the same routes (for scooters) and staying off Lincoln purely for the safety reasons — (scooters) are harder to see; it becomes a safety issue when the lane is already narrow.”
He acknowledged that downtown already is somewhat chaotic with the repaving project and associated traffic detours.
“You have a lot going on, stimulating all those senses and people not paying attention, and another small, moped-type vehicle on the roadway is an increased hazard,” Rae said.
But McCullough is banking on their appeal. Riding the scooters is easy to learn, with the throttle and brakes operated by hand.
And the Steamboat area has plenty of scenery for summertime cruising.
The business also could give a boost to an already lively Yampa Street.
Walking past Kimmie’s Kruisers on Thursday, Tony Seaver saw the scooter rental business next to a panini and gelato restaurant — Ciao Gelato — and couldn’t help but comment.
“How Italian!” Seaver exclaimed. “I think this summer, Yampa’s going to be a happening place.”
“We’ll call this Little Italy,” McCullough added.
McCullough has a lease through September for the Howelsen Place location and said she hopes to bring Kimmie’s Kruisers back next summer. She said she’s excited to see how the venture plays out, success or failure.
“I’ve always wanted to own a business — I’m going to learn a lot, either way,” she said. “You’ve got to dive in, right?”