My “GOCAR” in Barcelona
On a section of the old F-1 track
To the recorded sounds of an F-1 car, our little “GoCar” shot up part of the road course of the old Montjuic Park circuit in Barcelona. Shot up is probably not what this thing was doing, as 50cc’s and 300 pounds does not make for scintillating acceleration, but it sure was fun.
We had been strolling down La Rambla in Barcelonna when the pint sized vehicle rolled by. It was impossible not to notice the fly yellow car, harder still not to notice the huge smiles on the couple piloting it. I just had to hunt one of these down, and the shop makes it very easy with advertising literally hanging off the sides. Down an alley across from the bus station, a tiny stream of yellow lead us right to their door and after a 10 minute check out, we were into Barcelona traffic. Your US license is OK for driving in Spain but we were warned that if you get stopped, you may be subject to a rather large on-the-spot fine for not having an international license (http://chicago.aaa.com/page/International-Driving-Permit/pc/686/c/748/748.uts) , and the quickest way to practice your high school Spanish with the Barcelona cops is not wearing a helmet or driving on the sidewalk. Trust me, both are tempting.
The aforementioned F-1 sounds are part of the GPS system that talks to you in a dazzling array of languages, guiding you down the streets while identifying important bits of architecture and history as you whiz past, and the friendly voice of our GPS ( a British lady) removes any fear of getting lost.
Inserted at just the right time, the recorded Formula 1 sounds coming from our car didn’t add a bit of speed to our 30 miles an hour, but I can finally say I have at least made a pass on part of a real F-1 circuit.
In the frenetic traffic of any downtown European city, Gocars are continually dwarfed in performance and size. Half as high as a city bus tire, much smaller than a Smart car, it didn’t have the power to move across traffic and we had to go circumnavigate a particularly nasty roundabout like Chevy Chase in European Vacation. But it will go where cars won’t, especially alleys and tiny pedestrian malls just like a regular scooter, and it allows you to find bars and restaurants you simply wouldn’t have time to find on foot.
Beyond user-friendly with a single speed throttle grip, local traffic seems to accept you as one of their own, even if you really are just playing in their streets. And that is how I would describe this thing; playing. You are on an adult vacation, enjoying all the tourist things we do as adults, and the Gocar makes you feel like a kid on his first bicycle. Initially checked out for just an hour, we kept it the entire day, managing to see the nooks and crannies of Barcelona not possible or practical any other way.
You have got to try one of these when in certain US and Europe cities. An absolute blast.