Kickbikes: a new weapon in
Runner Matt Carpenter uses his new Kickbike, a high-tech skate-board/scooter, to cross-train and to go to the grocery store.
Photo by Jerilee Bennett / The Gazette
It uses the same muscles, yet is lower impact and it really re-creates running for them, says Fricker, a long-distance runner himself.
In fact, a Kickbike workout uses even more muscles than running, Fricker says. The Kickbike is propelled by pushing off with alternate legs in a motion very similar to running.
Carpenter views his Kickbike as another toy to add to his collection.
Thats the neatest part for me, keeping it fun, he says. This is fun for me because you get such a crazy workout. Going uphill on that thing is almost harder than biking or running.
Its kind of like you go up like youre running and you come down like youre on a road bike.
The Kickbike was developed in the last 10 years in Finland by physiologist Hannu Vierikko. In Europe, organized competitions include a Kickbike division nearly every weekend, according to Fricker.
America is just catching on, but Fricker expects the process to be rapid.
Kickbikes have been distributed in the United States and Canada since early July. After a little more than two weeks, 250 Kickbikes had been shipped out, at least one to every state, he says.
Were already talking to race promoters throughout the country, and we have races planned in Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs for next spring and summer, Fricker says.
The adult-sized scooters sell for $349 plus $20 shipping, but Carpenter says he can get a small discount for his customers. (Note from Matt: This information is out of date. They are now $299 and there is no longer a discount for mentioning my name. In fact I never had any customers as it was just a referral program in 1998 when this article was written.)
How can they charge so much for a scooter? It is most likely that scooters from your childhood were not made of high-tech bicycle components like aluminum alloy handlebars and a full-sized bicycle wheel in the front. Fricker says Kickbikes use Trans X components, which are found in many high-end mountain bikes.
In addition to being a great workout, the Kickbike is also a good way to get around.
I use mine to go to the grocery store, Carpenter says. He also says if he were in college, he would use a Kickbike to get from class to class. Apparently, Kickbike manufacturers have thought of that as well: They make book baskets that attach on the front.
Unlike bicycles, Kickbikes do not have chains or gears and so are very clean and lack the dreaded bicycle grease. They are also compact, weighing 19 pounds. Fricker says two can fit in the trunk of any car.
When Carpenter says the Kickbike delivers a good workout, he isnt kidding. Over hilly terrain, 20 minutes on a Kickbike is equal to about 1 hour 15 minutes on a road bike, Fricker says.
But for those not concerned with calories, the Kickbike is lots of fun, kind of like a high-tech skateboard/scooter.
Its the perfect thing for all those garages where theres kayaks and baseball bats and bicycles, Carpenter says. Its just one more tool to stay fit.
Check out the Kickbike International Website at http://www.kickbike.com.