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Kick Scooters! ...a Review of the Stride Glider
Kick Scooters! ...a Review of the Stride Glider
September 25, 2007
You know I love the all-body action.
I can't hardly sit down in a canoe anymore---I have to stand up and pole (in shallow water) or paddle with a long, stand-up paddle. It's so I can get my whole body into it. I like the dyno stuff. And you know it's better for you.
I suppose XC skiing is to blame. It's true all-body action---everything goes everywhichway to get you down the trail.
Bicycling and regular paddling are, sadly, a couple of the most restricted-range activities out there. But they have their upsides. : )
The kids have been enjoying Razor scooters more than bikes so far in their lives. But we have a dirt driveway. And their gramma lives 1.5 miles away down chipseal roads. Razors don't work either place. And would Razors have worked even if the road was smooth? They're great for compactness and for the short hop. But for a longer jaunt? C'mon, a big wheel is better.
I looked into the situation and found a 12" wheel Kent scooter for $50 that I got for the kids. They really like it. Click to see Scooter! (If you use that link, OYB gets a kickback.) It's tons better than a Razor for our needs. But it has high friction knobby tires. I see that EveryBicycleTire.com sells semi-slicks for $15 (http://www.everybicycletire.com/Shopping/c-9-12.aspx). I bet they'd HUGELY improve this scooter, while still being fine on dirt.
I've studied this kick stuff before. I like speedskating which led me to Nordic touring---lake skating. Which led me to kicksleds and sparks. These are like little dogsleds without the dogs, like skis with a chair bolted to the top. You stand on a runner and kick. They're a big part of Nordic culture---they use them for shopping and to go to school in Scandi countries. They usually have a combi ski/skate and can be used on ice or snow. They even race em. I made one for Henry (story here in ski section).
Well, these Nordic people have also developed several breeds of kick bikes or kick scooters. For adults! These things can fly along at 15-20mph.
The main thing, though, is they're fun. They're zero impact. ...And like my other fave activities they're ALL-BODY ACTION! You swing your leg, your hips and use your upper body for stability. You can easily change feet.
Now, kickbikes usually cost about $350---most are made in Europe. They're like a, say, $800 bike in quality, but minus some of the frame, the seat and the gearing components. They use regular bike brakes.
I found only one USA-made model: the StrideGlide. And it's made right near here in Owosso!
I'm reviewing and testing one right now. It's great! With its 20" wheels it glides a WHOLE LOT faster than the 12" Kent.
Here's a 7-second YouTube micro-video I took showing me just scooting by. The next vid is far cuter!
Tera, the company rep lady, says their scooter is unique in that it offers better knee clearance than others. Plus room for both feet on the platform. Plus the convenience of same-size wheels. The other Euro brands seem to use a 700C up front, small wheel in back, with a knee-biting frame hump and room for one foot---not as much fun on downhills. One US company makes much stouter one that's a dirt scooter. Both of these US scooters are selling well to folks who use them with dogs. I bet the skijor (dog ski) people use these in the summers.
Interestingly, we're finding that the Stride Glider is not too big for our 7-year-old---yet it rolls so much better than anything else! It extends in stem-height to fit any adult, too. (I find that I hardly need to raise the bars.) Lucy, in particular, has a very nice scooter style with a free-floating leg-swing that she couldn't get on a scooter...
Here's another 7-second video, of Lucy doing her thing, *up a hill*...
Tera said a neat thing about scootering is that it encourages perfect posture. You're not bent over as on a bike. You stand with the ideal convex curve to your back. It's fun how you swing your leg so far forward (I don't think you do this on a Razor). You can also swing your leg really far and high back. There are lots of tricks you can do, too---and maybe the plump wheels come on strong here. But we mostly scootered for blocks at a time.
I swapped in a pair of lighter road wheels and it got a lot lighter and faster. A great upgrade! Even though it's chromoly, the scooter weighs 27 lbs stock---but it's only 24 lbs with the fast wheels. There's a definitely noticeable difference between wheelsets---the stopwatch says it's a 10% difference for me. For the kids it's even more noticeable. Lucy was 33% faster with the light wheels! The heavy wheelset could in fact tire out a kid on a mile-long scoot---while the light ones keep rolling with very little effort.
The Stride Glider comes with plump semi-slicks---these seem best for dirt use or rail-trails. With soft/rough dirt, just let some air out. (They rolled nice on a sandy 2-track trail I took it on.) Knobbies are also available but I suspect they're best for true offroading. We found that the skinny light 20's worked fine on our dirt drive.
I found that I was grabbing the Stride Glider even to go get the mail out at the street. It's much easier to use than a bike. You're walking up to the scooter, then you're kicking away---without changing your posture. You don't even step up much onto the platform. Walking, then gliding. --It's like inline skates that you don't put on. You get nice range of motion plus it's totally stable.
The kids are using it every day, to go visit friends and such.
Tera said they're coming out with a model where the bar and stem fold back down along the base---that sounds handy. It actually took up more room, in a way, than a bike, when we took in our minivan. But with wheels off, it was quite compact, and tidier at that point than a bike.
The company rates the bounce-load capacity for this scooter at 350 lbs with a static capacity of 1000 lbs. I'd like to see a Sport Model added to their line-up with a frame that is a few pounds lighter and which came stock with lighter, narrower tires and wheels...and which is perhaps an inch closer to the ground. That's my hunch for a faster, easier-to-use scooter.
Well, if you order a scooter from these folks, tell em I sent ya!
Here are some other great kickbike resources:
*A great listing of available adult scooters: http://www.electric-bikes.com/kickers.htm
*The original: http://www.kickbike.com
*A French site with a variety of adult kickers, especially racing models! http://perso.orange.fr/jcborg/FootBiker2.htm
Here they are. Well, the prettiest ones, anyway. This list is missing a fascinating Brompton folder, a classic MB1 mt-bike, a Robin Hood 3-speed, a red Nashbar road tandem (which I added a Tag-along to so I can take both kids out!), and a Vision recumbent…