Buzzing Around Lisbon

Story by Emily Roberts// Photos by Bruno Ribeiro
July 4 2023

Portuguese culture on a variety of electric scooters.

It was a weird riding sensation: listening to the locals talk, hearing the pebbles of the road underneath the tires — but nothing from the motor except a quiet buzz. I didn’t expect to enjoy riding the budget friendly Super Soco scooter so much, yet it opened up the world in a different way I didn’t know was possible.
I was in Portugal, riding with an eclectic group of journalists from around the world — Brazil, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and, oddly enough, a Portuguese Formula 1 race car driver. Together we formed a rat pack of rebels as we buzzed the streets of Lisbon on our electric bikes. The riders weren’t the only odd-balls on the trip; we had our choice of machine, with S and SR/F Zero motorcycles, a BMW CE-04 scooter, and three Super Soco scooters — a Chinese-based machine built for a budget — all along for the ride.

We cruised around, visiting some of the infinite tourist areas like the Oceanário de Lisboa to see its extensive exhibit on ocean life; the Praça do Comércio, based in the heart of Lisbon overlooking the port and much of the old city; and the Vasco da Gama bridge, the longest bridge in Portugal spanning a whopping 17 km, which was considered Europe’s longest bridge until 2018 when it was surpassed by the Crimean Bridge in Russia.

As each journalist got to know each other without one speaking much of the other’s language, we soon found ways to communicate, whether it was through horn honking, facial expressions, or hand gestures. When we did speak to each other, it was while riding or at stoplights, without the sound of a roaring gas engine hindering communication.

As we rode to our hotel that night, we noticed Walter’s (the Italian) scooter was losing speed at a frightening rate. I should first explain that Walter is a 7-foot ex-basketball player who now writes full-time. As we would take off from stop lights his long legs would have to push the Super Soco scooter to get going. It was comical watching him ride the small scooter as he looked like a giant riding a minibike, but seeing him paddle his legs to gain speed only added a new level of humour to the situation.

The Swanky Part of Town

We soon pulled over in the middle of Liberdade Avenue — a very expensive area of Lisbon where it seemed the people and buildings exuded lavishness without effort — as we looked at the scooter that had suddenly died. Under the seat were two batteries: one that was in use and the other that we’d have to swap out if one died…


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