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Monday, March 22, 2010

Zipping About San Francisco Via Motorized Barstool

Posted By on Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge Larry Smith's sweet, sweet ride - JOE ESKENAZI
  • Joe Eskenazi
  • Larry Smith's sweet, sweet ride
San Francisco native Larry Smith doesn't have to go where everybody knows his name to find a barstool waiting for him. He takes one everywhere -- in fact, we caught up with him zipping about Mission Bay on a motorized barstool he says can achieve speeds of 30 mph.

The 55-year-old sailor and carpenter says he's been building his own gas-powered barstools for 25 years; he used to race them at Jack London Square in Oakland against other folks who saw fit to install a high-powered motor on backless seating devices.

click to enlarge 'With a bocephus sticker on his 442, he'd light 'em up just for fun...' - JOE ESKENAZI
  • Joe Eskenazi
  • 'With a bocephus sticker on his 442, he'd light 'em up just for fun...'
Smith's seat is a high-quality oak barstool; it's powered by a a 6.5

horsepower, overhead valve engine of the sort one would normally find

on a go-kart or minibike. Assembling his motorized stool cost him about a grand, he says. And if you're relatively mechanically inclined, it's fairly easy to do.

Smith estimates he gets around 50 miles a

gallon and could break city speed limits if he wanted to -- but he rarely does.

"It's scary to go 30 miles an hour on a stool," he notes.

When the light changed, Smith shot off like a dart. He told us to visit him at his favorite waterfront bar and he'd buy us a beer. No word on whether he gets a discount there for saving wear and tear on the barstools by bringing his own.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" is a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly, which he has written for since 2007. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers... more


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