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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" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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