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October 16, 2007

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I had the same reactions you did to Astia and Xconomy. As for Trikke: I hear the white supremacists are holding out for the Trikkke.

As usual I love your coverage of the names. When I read Zafu I'd gotten a similar first impression - snafu. Then I wondered if Za was slang for fitting, bras, or something. ...like maybe it was going for a kung-fu reference...

Anyhow - my real reason for writing this is to comment on the Trikke itself. I cannot believe that anyone would actually ride this for recreation. It isn't because it wouldn't be fun... it's because the way you ride it is by swerving back and forth - taking up about three or four times your width. In DC you'd be clobbered by either a truck or biker inside of two minutes (depending upon whether or not you chose to weave in traffic or on a bike path.)

It's worse than Roller Bladers with their legs stickin' out. This is your whole body impeding traffic.

No thank you.

Tate: As far as I know "Za" isn't slang for anything. But I'm willing to be corrected. I emailed the company a couple of months ago, asking for the story behind the name. I never got a response.

As for the Trikke, I agree that it sounds very risky. But learned about it from a satisified customer. Not a young hotdogger, either--a serious-seeming 40-something guy.

Nancy,

Random stranger here (found your blog through Jon Carroll).

My guess is that "Zafu" comes from the term used to describe the puffy pillows that people sit on to meditate. Perhaps because you need to be comfortable to sit on one of those pillows for more than a couple of minutes, and therefore you need jeans and a bra that fit right? Yes, yes, I know, it's the naming equivalent of backronyming, but it makes a good story!

(Incidentally--my mom calls her zafu a "zaftig," and, sure enough, it is a particularly puffy example of its species.)

Rebecca: Thanks for the interesting suggestion! I remember hearing of zafu pillows once upon a time; I never would have connected them to Zafu.com, however. At least it's a story and not just a random word. ("Zaftig" may be an even more apt association for Zafu.com--I wonder how many customers would describe themselves that way!)

I'm one of those 40-something satisfied Trikke customers [actually, I'm 50 and this article was written on my birthday when, coincidentally, I just received my Trikke from UPS]. Trikkes follow a predictable course--it's just not in a straight line. Trikkers know how to go straight when passing and being passed--i.e., they are courteous. And they know how to use their handbrakes as well. Crowded (car) traffic isn't where Trikkes are best. But any bike lane or wide sidewalk, any uncrowded street or plaza will do. And why would you want to? Because it's like skiing or rollerblading, only smoother and safer. And you get a full body workout while seeming to put less effort into keeping your momentum up. As one Trikker put it: "you get a free ride".

One other minor point: Trikkes generally require about 2 times their width for a fun and satisfying ride--very similar to rollerblading.

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