The Brunching Shuttlecocks Ratings

We're not talking 15-speed, water-bottle-and-Lycra-style bikes here. We're talking knobby-wheel, pedal-backwards-to-stop, foam-across-the-handlebars type bikes. These things were great. And why were they great? Because you could customize them! You could put decals on them ("decals" are to "stickers" as "action figures" are to "dolls"), you could get a little license plate in you Honeycombs, or if you were really hard up you could just use a couple playing cards and a clothespin for the motor effect. B+

I've noticed something odd about skateboarders. Every time you see a group of them in a parking lot or something, they're all trying to do tricks, and failing. I'm not expecting perfection or anything, but I have yet to see a skateboarder jump up, flip around, and land successfully outside of a Pepsi commercial or a Tom Petty video. That, plus the fact that it seems like an awful lot of work to get around anywhere, plus the fact that skateboarders have had, throughout history, the worst haircuts, drops the humble skateboard down to a C-.

Another victim of creeping coolness. Once the province of kids and kids alone, rollerskates have become popular with discoers, then health nuts, and now Mountain-Dew-chugging, Powerbar chomping, "extreme" sportsters who probably don't exist in real life. Their one saving grace is that people with wheels on their feet look a little dorky no matter what. C+

Pogo Sticks
These are fun for about twelve seconds, until you realize that you're not going that high, you're not going that fast, and you're getting a headache. If you could actually pogo higher than you can jump, it might be impressive, but as-is a pogo stick is less of a mode of transportation and more of a high-impact hula hoop.D

Same deal as pogo sticks, except that stilts at least have the possibility of being neat. Your basic circus will show you that stilts have the potential to turn you into a chicken-legged Colossus of Rhodes, but every pair of stilts I've seen approved for home use has raised you by maybe a foot, a feat that most kids can duplicate by waiting a couple of years. D

These were actually sort of fun. They were versatile, at least. You could haul things in it, you could make your older bother haul you in it, you could even haul yourself if you had a reasonable hill and no sense of self-preservation. The two disadvantages were that without said hill or older brother you were stuck, and the whole "Little Rascals" feeling. C

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