Good news for anyone who’s ever wanted to mix the inherent danger of the trampoline with the thrill of getting nowhere slowly, while simultaneously wondering whether their skeletons should be in more shards. Sweden-based startup Cangoroo is planning to “deploy hundreds of pogo sticks” to “select cities” in the U.S. and elsewhere, CBS San Francisco reported on Friday, in what appears to be some kind of sinister plot to undermine the military readiness of the nation’s knees and shins.
Much like companies behind the piles of dockless scooters now littering the country, Cangoroo has an app that allows users to unlock and rent pogo sticks that previous riders have left laying around. They call this a “micro-mobility” service. Cangoroo’s website currently advertises going rates of $1 to unlock one of its pogo sticks and and 30 cents a minute after that.
According to The Next Web, CEO Adam Mikkelsen insists that Cangoroo is real, not a prank, despite it being owned by ODD Company, a branding and communications firm that has produced “viral stunts” in the past. Mikkelsen told the site that Cangoroo is simply trying to differentiate itself from competition like e-scooter startups Lime and Bird, with the company repeatedly emphasising that they are not joking in a separate addendum to their launch press release:
With a lot of initial questions along the line of “is this for real?”, we feel the need to underline that Cangoroo is 100% real. Our choice of shared pogo sticks as our first product is a planned out strategy in order to stand out in today’s media landscape and build an engaging brand in the generic “last mile transportation” category. That the team behind Cangoroo is also running a communications agency, we see as an important competitive benefit for the future of the business rather than something we try to hide from stakeholders. Naturally, we’ll soon be announcing complementary, more daily commute-focused, products to our fleet (more similar to the largely popular e-scooters and with a genuine focus on sustainability and health).
According to CBS, “Cangoroo officials” say they are planning to deploy pogo sticks in Malmo and Stockholm this summer, after which they will move on to the streets of London and San Francisco. Mikkelsen told CBS that somewhere between 100-200 Cangoroo-branded pogo sticks could be deployed in San Francisco by the end of summer or the fall, and that the company is developing test versions of other products:
Additionally, Mikkelsen said that Cangoroo is currently working on prototypes for other micro-mobility vehicles as alternatives to e-scooters.
The pogo sticks, he said, could be used to get around, but could also be used as a fitness product, as it counts each jump to keep riders motivated.
“We’ve been following the micro-mobility market and seen the demand. However, we also found that existing players are very generic when it comes to brand loyalty and making a statement and contributing to something beyond taking you from point A to B,” he said, emphasising the sustainability and fitness aspect to the pogo sticks.
Note that reports of injuries from e-scooters have become so widespread that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recently felt the need to warn the public that they need to remember basic safety precautions like wearing helmets while riding them.
Cangoroo does advise all riders to wear helmets on its website, but its rules also include “no highways” and “no passengers”, which immediately conjures the image of some dumb idiot pogo jumping down a highway while another idiot clings to their back.
Under another section on whether users are “allowed to operate Cangoroo under the influence of alcohol or any other substances,” the company writes:
We highly recommend you to use Cangoroo when you’re sober and to wear a helmet. When using a Cangoroo, you’ll be high enough on life itself.
“We don’t have specific details about this company but we will review any new transportation service to ensure compliance with existing laws,” San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman Paul Rose told CBS.
A post to Cangoroo’s Instagram page appeared to hint that the company also has plans in Paris, though Huffington Post France noted late last month that deputy mayor Emmanuel Grégoire has warned that if this is not a joke, the pogo sticks will “go straight to the trash.”
In any case, if you happen to be visiting San Francisco late this summer or in the fall, we highly advise that you do not turn around any corners without first checking to make sure you’re not about to get stomped.