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Zingo

Not all of us can ride motorcycles and get paid to do it (sorry), but there are ways to pursue your passion professionally. One that looks intriguing-if not particularly lucrative-is Zingo, a designated-driver service that utilizes small folding motorcycles and large, non-folding riders.

The service, now franchised in 11 U.S. cities, is a simple one. If you’re too drunk to drive home (or need someone to drive your car for some other reason) you can call them up, and in 30-40 minutes a rider will show up at your location on a ridiculously tiny scooter, which he will fold up (in less than 5 seconds), put in a bag and then store in your trunk. After he drives you home, (rates vary by city, but usually run around $30-40) he pulls the scooter out, unfolds it and is on his way to the next pickup. You are then free to stagger off to bed, with nothing more to worry about than a hangover, vastly preferable to waking up in a county jail cell surrounded by new friends.

A great idea, but it’s surprising this service only started in the USA in 2005. The Di Blasi R7E folding scooter has, after all, been on the market since 1979. It’s a very clever design that locks and unlocks with just two latches, making it very easy to stow or deploy. (You can watch a movie of that
here
.) Once folded, it’s just 31″ x 15″ x 24″, and can easily fit into even a compact car’s trunk. The R7E is designed to be stowed on aircraft (it’s even been used on helicopters by the Italian National Police), so an automatic fuel shutoff keeps gas from dripping out of the tank. The motor is a simple 49.9cc two-stroke designed and built by Di Blasi (a former Italian Air Force pilot and engineer who therorized the Wankel Rotary engine in 1942) that’s good for about two hp. That’s enough to push the 65-pound scooter to 30 mph. A CVT gets power to the rear wheels.

For more information about Zingo you can go here. A detailed history of Di Blasi and more info about the R7E is here. The Di Blasi USA importer is Folding Motorbike.