Are cars for suckers? Given the huge expense of vehicles in the U.S. and cultural shift due to the Coronavirus pandemic you might think that. I do. And I own 2 cars. If you don’t want to own a car or at least be less reliant on it, a kick scooter might be for you.
As a person that lives in an urban area I am lucky that many amenities are within reach, but that doesn’t mean they are easily within walking distance. I own a bicycle but find it a bit unwieldy for short trips and given its weight of 33 pounds it’s too heavy to cart around up stairs, push up hills, etc. Enter the kick scooter.
I recently purchased a Razor A5 Prime kick scooter. It’s a manual scooter that weighs only 10 pounds. It’s easy to carry up stairs and rolls very well on smooth surfaces. So far, I find it great for trips of 2 miles each way.
Here’s my unboxing video and first test run of the scooter:
5 Ways Kick Scooters are Awesome
Compact – the scooter is compact and lightweight. This makes a huge difference carrying it and mentally it feels like less baggage. You can also bring it inside businesses fairly easily.
Exercise – because the scooter is manual, you need to kick and it does give a good exercise session. I think it’s easier to maneuver than a bicycle and maybe a little less strenuous.
Fun – kick scooters are fun. They move differently than bicycles and turn in a really fun way like skateboards. It’s almost like sailing / tacking if you’ve ever sailed. On smooth pavement they roll so beautifully and almost feel like they are moving on their own. Can adults commute on kick scooters? Won’t you look funny or people stare at you? I’ve found people are generally happy to see you on a kick scooter. They aren’t too common so I think people respect that fact that you are “green” and a novelty for now. Also, don’t care what anyone thinks. Truly noteworthy people rarely care what anyone thinks of them. This was a common theme I discovered in reading Tim Ferriss’ Book Tools of Titans.
Cost Savings – You don’t need to pay for gas, maintenance, or insurance for a kick scooter. Not even a gym either if you don’t want to! Kick scooters are cheap… the best adult commuter scooter I bought was only $130 USD. If it gets stolen no biggie. I would be more concerned and anxious parking a $2,000 bicycle outside an establishment.
More versatile in Cities – kick scooters are treated like skateboards / runners in some cities. So that means you can legally ride on sidewalks and face oncoming traffic when you ride. Bicycles can usually only ride on streets going with traffic. (Check with your town for rules in your area.) When you have options like small side streets you can shorten your commute versus a car and avoid traffic.
Kick Scooter Cons
The kick scooter is great, but it does have a few cons.
Rough Roads – Rough roads and uneven sidewalks and pavements can make it more difficult to ride than a bicycle at times. Rough pavement can really slow you down and some cracks in the pavement will require you to hop off the scooter. In Houston, the roads and sidewalks are rough and in poor condition. In fact, they are worse than third-world roads and sidewalks. Still, I make my way.
Slower than a bicycle – this is somewhat debatable depending on what kind of bicycle you have. I would say in the city with traffic lights they are nearly the same speed so long as the road is smooth. With horrible roads and sidewalks I am getting around 7mph, which is a worst-case scenario. Much faster than walking, still.
Weather – if you live in a humid or hot environment scooting can be difficult. Short trips are recommended in that case. I am planning to get a larger powered scooter for longer trips and hot weather.
Weight Restrictions – can you have a kick scooter for heavy person? How heavy are you? I’m 185 pounds / 83.9kg and have no problems on the scooter since it is sturdy metal. I don’t think over 250 pounds / 113.4kg would work because of the folding nature of the scooters and the jarring from uneven road surfaces… remember there are no suspension components on kick scooters… they take the full impact of rough roads and you feel it when holding the handlebars. Read the weight restrictions on specs for the scooter. Some expensive ones are larger and have higher weight restrictions.
Stylish clothes usually only come in sizes for fit people… sometimes products are only for a certain group of people. I think if using a kick scooter is something you want to do and you are overweight, it can be a great motivator to get fit first (try my intermittent fasting technique). Make it a goal. Decide today that you will lose weight to make riding on a kick scooter a possibility for you.
In all, I need more experience using the kick scooter, but so far, so good. I also purchased a Segway / Ninebot helmet to go with my scooter. I feel like if I’m using a scooter I should have a helmet that people are used to seeing with scooters. It’s lightweight and comfortable and will allow me to mount a GoPro camera for YouTube videos.
I think the best way to think of a kick scooter is to add it to a mix of transportation methods. I like biking, walking, and even taking the bus at times. Listening to audio podcasts and audio books allows me to enjoy a longer commute and the exercise gives me peace of mind knowing that I am doing something healthy for my body.
How are you getting around town? Have you used a kick scooter? What’s your experience been? Explain in the comments.
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