Some cold nasty weather has descended upon the Northeast this past week. While I am as much a proponent of 4-season cycling as any employee of a bike shop, walking the walk (biking the bike) becomes a little harder when your sloppy weather ride gets stolen, as mine did a year ago (if anyone has paid $15 for a single-speed red Centurion with Ashtabula cranks it is probably mine). So with no bike and somewhere to go one day after work last week (cheapskate that I am the thought of burning $2.25 on a Metrocard swipe makes me cringe) I turned to NYCeWheels’ cache of loaner kick scooters. Specifically, to our KickPed test scooter.
Despite the fact that I have worked four months now in a shop specializing not only in electric bikes and folding bikes but also – hence this blog post – kick scooters, I will admit that I have not scooted aboard one of these nifty conveyances any significant distance since my childhood days patrolling my neighborhood on a General Sidekick kick scooter of the pneumatic tire variety back in the late 1980s. Boarding the KickPed was like experiencing the sum of almost 25 years of kick scooter innovation and advancement in a single scoot.
Gone are the days when kick scooters are just for kids. The KickPed – in a densely packed place like New York City especially – is a legitimate and very convenient means of transport. I took a route downtown that combined some street scooting (mostly on the quieter crosstown streets), a few bike lanes, and in spots even sidewalks. With the KickPed there’s a slight trade-off of speed compared to, say, a Xootr kick scooter, but given the sloppy weather (on account of which I was also very glad to have a fender!) I was playing it safe anyway.
I’m not sure there’s any other kick scooter I’d rather ride, at night, in an urban environment than the KickPed kick scooter. With its long wheelbase and beefy hard rubber wheels I could hop a lip in the road when necessary, not wipe out if I suddenly came upon a raised manhole cover or pothole. The KickPed is also as portable as they get. The deck features a cut-out that allows you to carry the KickPed closer to your body when folded, but doesn’t sacrifice any deck stability when scooting. And the fold is quick and easy – just pull up on the sleeve and fold the handlebars down. Then your means of transport takes up no more space than a folded umbrella.
I ended up scooting all the way from 84th down to 14th Street, a solid 45 minute scoot. In addition to being quite a bit of fun kick scooting is also something of a workout. A coworker of mine likened riding a kick scooter to cross country skiing and given the winter weather, the analogy felt just about spot on.