Most of our readers aren’t even familiar with FootbikeUSA, but they know what a scooter is. If you didn’t have one as a kid, you probably knew someone who did, and enjoyed your share of kicking one around the neighborhood. When the folding aluminum ones got big in the 90s, kids of all ages (meaning, adults who are kids at heart too) got into the act again. Of course, those little wheels had their limitations, not the least of which was low speed, minimal comfort, and a rear brake that was overwhelmed by riders over about 50 pounds. Despite their lackluster performance, about eleventy billion were sold.
Enter Footbike, the Adult Performance Scooter. The concept was simple enough – take the original design parameters (first patented in 1921) and improve on every single aspect. Then make it even better. And insanely affordable. Throw in
massive doses of fun. Watch this low impact running machine morph into a product adopted by all sorts of athletes, from cyclists to runners to skaters. Offer different models for an amazing amount of versatility. The Express (not pictured) is priced so just about anyone can afford it, and is perfect for sports rehabilitation, recreational kicking, or plain old fashioned fun while getting exercise. Move up a bit to the Street model, and you’ve got a Footbike that does everything the Express does, but with a bit more performance. Suddenly, commuting to work or school, or even kicking on a tour doesn’t seem out of reach. Want to play dirty? There’s a Trail model, designed for off-road use. With a suspension fork right off a mountain bike, and a skid plate underneath, it’s ready to rock and roll on some dirt paths and trails. And because with every sport, there must be competition, Footbike offers the Track. Yes, a racing Footbike, which is all about speed. What else would you use to compete in the World Championships of Footbiking? Seriously, it’s a big sport outside the US, and Footbike is doing their best to make it a household word stateside.
Here’s the best part though. Most Footbikes will suit riders from 4 feet tall to a bit over 6 feet tall. And operating instructions are the same for all models: Stand on it. Kick. Repeat. When your standing leg tires, switch legs. Repeat as necessary. As long as you can balance, you can kick it.
But why not just ride a bicycle? There’s a variety of reasons, but I’ll just cover some of the big ones.
- First and foremost, not everyone is comfortable on a bike. Whether it’s the seat itself, or getting the proper fit, or even the fear of not being able to bail out in a crash, some folks simply don’t like riding. But they’ve all waited in line for the restroom, or the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland, so they know how to shift their weight from one leg to the other.
- Next, gears intimidate people. How many times have you seen someone mashing the big ring, because they have no idea what those crazy shift levers do? It’s true.
- How about price? Yes, it’s subjective, as some people think that department store or Xmart bikes really are bikes, and not toys. For the price of the most basic Footbike, ($110) you could buy an Xmart “bicycle”. But a real bicycle, one with shifters that shift properly and stay adjusted, and brakes that stop effectively and without squealing, cannot be had new for less than a couple of Benjamins. (Mrs. Outsider’s Giant Boulder was purchased new from our LBS at the shocking markdown of $229, but it has the most basic of componentry)
- Finally, there’s the fun factor. No special equipment or clothing is needed to have fun on a Footbike. Sure, you may get better performance out of shorts or tights, but really all you need to have fun is shoes and a smile. We do recommend some sort of pants and a top as well though.
Check out www.footbikeusa.com for more details on their full line.
Additional resources: The International Kicksled Scooter Association has a website (www.iksaworld.com) that is a great starting point if you’d like to learn more about this sport.
For all you speed freak/tech geek readers that can’t resist shiny toys, check out this carbon fiber model, from French company Zockra: