Kick Scooter Kicking Techniques
Before considering what kick scooter kicking techniques to use after you invest in a scooter, take into account your shoe size, the scooter’s deck size (width and length), its type (small urban scooter, 12-inch commuter scooter, or foot bike), and your purpose in riding it.
No matter what type scooter you buy, the smaller your shoe, the more deck width is available. When deck width is limited, you need to learn various foot swapping techniques as described in the videos that follow. Foot swapping minimizes standing leg fatigue by letting you switch standing legs without having to stop the scooter to do so.
When more deck width is available, it is possible to stand on it with your feet side-by-side, in which case, foot switching is not necessary. Given the difference in deck widths and shoe sizes, there is not one technique that satisfies everyone, even if everyone purchased the same scooter.
The illustrations below demonstrate the different ways riders can place their feet on different deck widths.
In the illustration below, I’ve used the Xootr Venus deck, which is curved into three zones, as an example of how different widths “fit” different shoe sizes. The “xray” image lets you see how different deck widths appear when size 12 shoes are placed side-by-side on top of it.
Riders who wear size 12 shoes and above must determine whether the deck length of a kick scooter being considered is long enough to accommodate the length of their shoes. If not, no special technique will help them ride, outside of standing on their toes.
Small Urban Scooters
People who ride small urban scooters tend to stand upright, taking more weight on their bent “standing” knees when kicking. They find lower deck heights, such as 2.75-inches or 3-inches from top-to-ground preferable. A deck height of 4-inches from the ground on a small urban scooter is the maximum recommended by Let’s Kick Scoot.
Note that small urban scooters often have longer decks than those on foot bikes. This extra length usually lets riders find some space on their scooter’s deck to rest their second foot, if only a little bit. On some foot bikes, with no extra length, riders place one foot on top of the other when cruising (not kicking).
Watch the following video and notice how upright this “small urban scooter” rider is, then contrast his stance to the more aggressive foot bike rider stances you will see later in this article.
Basic Foot Switching
The foot switching techniques in the following video can be used on any type of kick scooter. It is not, however, a requirement. Shorter decks require more precise foot switching movements, while longer decks have a bit more wiggle-room.
The next video demonstrates a number of good foot switching techniques. Note, however, that hopping foot-to-foot should be avoided unless the rider accepts the risks involved.
Comments – Funbob Kickpants (Bob Dymond of Columbus, OH, USA) discussed the video that follows:
You really couldn’t pick a better “roll model” than Alpo “the animal” Kuusisto. His style has evolved around the use of this specific design of footbike. His body contracts and expands like that of a running quadroped.
Be mindful that other champion scooterists employ a variety of techniques that are also effective. Although Alpo’s high kicks develop tremendous power, they can be modified to adapt to various physiques and conditions. A popular technique is the pendulum kick used by Dutch riders on the windswept dykes. Both techniques demand that you utilize the backward transfer of your weight, and precise timing of the ankle-snap through the push. Those supple ankle movements work like the wrists of a pro tennis player; maximum power at point of contact.
He would tell you not to get grooved into one movement, but change it up and experiment with different styles. I owe a mountain of gratitude to guys like Alpo, whose demo videos helped me to make huge strides of progress in a short time. And all these men and women are so approachable, excellent ambassadors of their countries and the sport.
Comments – ScooterJerry, (Jerry Szubin, an urban power rider) also contributed to the discussion of foot switching on a foot bike:
I realize now that this was what I was doing back when I first discovered the power of raising the knee, but I hadn’t taken note of the way I was raising my body up as well. For me this just confirms why some of the videos of racers show them lifting themselves up onto their toes. It makes a lot of sense to involve the whole body when you want to generate optimal power.
One more thing I’ll add. When I got into the “rhythm,” it felt really great – a pleasurable sensation of everything working together – a sort of “sweet-spot” of efficiency and power. When the wind died down for brief intervals I really sailed.
Racing and Aggressive Foot Bike Riding
What is aggressive scooting all about? The last two videos in this article demonstrate the sport of kick biking, its speeds, and its kicking techniques.
To discuss this article, join our Forums and comment on the Let’s Talk Technique topic.
Article and illustrations by Karen Little, with reference to information posted in our LKS Forums. Videos were recommended by Forum members. Questions? Contact Karen at Karen@LetsKickScoot.com.