Zipping About San Francisco Via Motorized Barstool

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.

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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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