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Hoverboarding takes City by storm

Update: August, 02/2016 - 09:00
Balancing act: A rider is shown how to use a hoverboard on Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street in downtown HCM City. — VNS Photo An Phương
Viet Nam News

An Phương

HCM CITY — Nguyễn Huệ Pedestrian Street in HCM City, one of the busiest city spots on weekends, is attracting even more families and young people with a new activity: battery-powered hoverboards.

Though hoverboards have been around for years, they have drawn more of residents’ attention since the revamped street, which now provides a wide, long space downtown, opened to the public in April last year.

A hoverboard is a type of portable, rechargeable battery-powered scooter that consists of two wheels and has two small platforms between them, on which the rider stands. When riders tilt or move, the hoverboard moves in that direction.

At service rates of VNĐ50,000 (US$2.2) for 30 minutes and VNĐ100,000 (US$4.4) for an hour ride, many residents can afford it.

“I used to consider Nguyễn Huệ Street a nice spot to exercise, but now I often bring my son here to hoverboard. I love it when he gets away from video games and does something more active,” Trần Công Thành, 47, told Việt Nam News.

Lê Xuân, 39, agreed with Thành, saying that her daughters have had great moments hoverboarding, though they stumbled a bit at the beginning. “They look so happy and excited.”

Besides children, many teenagers and adults enjoy riding the hoverboards, but for varying reasons.

“I support everything that is environmentally friendly! Hoverboards are not only fun to use, but they also run on batteries, not fuel or gas. They only need charging when they run low,” Ngô Thị Minh Tâm, 22, said.

Tâm, as well as Nguyễn Trần Ngọc Nhơn, 26, said the activity had made him feel younger and more alive.

Foreign tourists walking downtown can also be seen gliding along on hoverboards.

“I Googled and found a list of must-try activities when in Sài Gòn, including hoverboarding. It’s challenging, yet so cool! My group is really loving it and we’ll be back later tonight for it,” Hye-Sung, a 23 year-old Korean tourist, said.

Since last year, the number of hoverboards for rent has increased greatly, to more than 100 people who rent the machines day and night.

Chung Cảnh Chiến, a service provider from Bình Thạnh District, told Tiền Phong News that since hoverboards could bring “easy money”, more people were offering services, making the business more competitive.

“It used to be VNĐ60,000 – 70,000 for 30 minutes. Now, for only VNĐ50,000 or even 40,000, everyone can enjoy the fun!” he said.

As the prices have dropped, more and more people are visiting Pedestrian Street, even on weekdays, according to the HCM City Youth Volunteer Force.

Despite the fun, hoverboarding has also brought multiple concerns, the volunteer force has said. Several incidents, including riders tripping or blocking vehicle lanes, have occurred.

“Children as well as adults are responsible for these incidents. Riders need to know how to balance themselves, but also how to control the speed, which many adults surprisingly tend to forget,” a member of the volunteer force said.

That being said, hoverboarding is still a pleasurable, relaxing activity that has helped lured more local residents and even tourists to downtown, giving the area a lively atmosphere, especially as night falls. — VNS

New craze: Nguyễn Huệ Pedestrian Street in HCM City, one of the busiest city spots on weekends, is attracting even more families and young people with a new activity: battery-powered hoverboards. — VNS Photo An Phương

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