Sharp observers of Switzerland's leisure trends can't miss the booming number of scooters on the city streets. However, it's not just the urban trendsetters who are taking to the roads: Switzerland's outdoor sports fans are also getting in on the act.
Sales of lightweight, foldable scooters, also known as trottinetts or kickboards, are really taking off. The Swiss manufacturer, Micro Mobility Ltd, whose Micro-Skate Scooter is the most common model on the streets, has expanded production to keep up with demand.
Micro Mobility pitches its scooter to an adult market, as an environmentally friendly, and seriously fashionable, way of getting round town or even the office. The Swiss are big fans of two-wheeled transport of all kinds, so it comes as no surprise to see sturdier versions of the urban scooter taking to country roads and even mountainsides.
Travel agents and rental shops countrywide are increasingly including scooters in their packages, as their popularity grows. Titlis Rotair, a company based in the Engelberg region of canton Obwalden, currently has 60 available for hire, and says the tourists love them.
The large scooters, or "Trotti-Bikes", complement their usual range of mountain bikes. They are designed for use on gravelled tracks, and the company says they appeal to those who prefer not to go off-road on the steepest slopes, but who still want to try something different.
However, mindful of those customers who favour extreme sports, Titlis Rotair also offers "Devil Bikes", a hybrid of scooter and mountain bike, with wide tyres and no pedals. They are designed for use both on hard snow and on rock tracks, and pick up breakneck speed on the way down.
For those who prefer a much more leisurely pace, scooter excursions in smoother surroundings are on offer. In Huttwil in the Emmental region of canton Berne, the local tourist office organises scooter trips along the area's cycle paths, and even includes bus transport back to base.
by Jonathan Fowler