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The fastest mode of transportation on Grounds

Veo — My favorite zooming method

The Veo — it is every college student's magic carpet, minus the singing and flying. You see them everywhere in Charlottesville. They are our equivalent of the Hogwarts broomstick. But as everyone quickly learns, mastering a Veo? Not as easy as it looks. It's all fun and games until you're trying to dodge squirrels while texting. Any regular Veo user knows there is a fine line between making your 8 a.m. and becoming a contestant on “Wipeout.”

Let's talk joy — cruising down McCormick Road on a Veo, wind in your hair, phone dangerously in hand, AirPods blasting, trying to Snapchat the experience. It is like you've suddenly become a crowned royal of Grounds. On a scooter, you don't just ride the sidewalks — you own them. 

And let us not forget about the efficiency. With the sprawling nature of Grounds, walking from one end to the other can feel like a marathon. But with a Veo, you can cover that same distance in a fraction of the time. Need to get from Nau Hall to the Physics Building in five minutes flat? No problem, just hop on a Veo. You’ll be there in a flash. 

But with great scoot-speed comes… the inevitable slapstick comedy. Because let’s face it, a speedy Veo and a narrow sidewalk can turn any college kid into a makeshift stunt double. Between the hustle of the crowds, that one pothole you always forget about and those squirrels with their daredevil tendencies, you're bound to have a few close calls.

Picture this — you’re zipping along, feeling invincible, when suddenly a student steps out from behind a tree, phone glued to their face, completely oblivious to your presence. You swerve to avoid them, nearly colliding with a nearby trash can. “Crisis averted,” you think to yourself, until you hear the unmistakable sound of a car’s screeching break. Heart racing, you take a deep breath and carry on.

That is not the only danger Veo riders face. With the hills and valleys of Grounds’ topography, going downhill on a Veo can be exhilarating — but going uphill can be a challenge. And while the Veo's electric motor can help with the heavy lifting, sometimes it's just not enough. You find yourself panting and sweating as you push the Veo up the hill, wishing you had gone for a more traditional mode of transportation — like walking.

Then there is what I like to call “Veo Duo Deluxe.” You have seen them, post-weekend antics, two students trying to save a buck by playing a live-action game of Tetris on a single Veo. It is like watching a tightrope act at a circus, only way less graceful and 10 times more panic-stricken. They oscillate between looking like they're about to take off and faceplant.

And don't even get me started on the “Hunger Games — Veo Parking Edition.” Sure, there are “designated” Veo parking spots, but good luck finding one that is not already occupied by an army of scooters having a tailgate party. You would think squeezing into those spots would count as a college credit. And the circling? It’s like a nature documentary — you, the hopeful vulture, spot a space opening up, only for a sneaky jackal — or a fellow student, same difference — to zip in and snatch it. May the parking odds be ever in your favor!

Yet — amidst the high-risk game of “Will I or Won't I Topple?” — the Veo craze at the University is still alive and kicking. Why, you ask? Well, it’s the unmatched thrill, the wind in your hair, the momentary delusion that you're in a low-budget superhero movie — navigate smartly, and the world, or at least Grounds, is your speedy oyster.

Next time you spot a flock of Veo riders sweeping by, perhaps reenacting a scene from “Fast & Furious: Scooter Edition,” don’t just see the near misses and acrobatic saves. Recognize the sheer joy and audacity in their eyes. Maybe you will get the itch to join in. Just a pro-tip — squirrels? They are the true road warriors here. Give them their space.


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