The Kick Scooter: Short-distance and Intermodal Transportation NYCeWheels.com

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The Kick Scooter: Short-distance and Intermodal Transportation

Given that I am a proponent of efficient and elegant modes of transportation, I purchased a Brompton folding bicycle. The Brompton was to me the perfect balance between usefulness and portability: It rode like a full sized bike and took up minimal storage space; moreover, I would not have to worry about a folding bike getting stolen because I could carry it with me at all times. Thus, when the opportunity came up for me to try out a KickPed scooter, my curiosity was piqued.

My overall impression

I am of the view that the KickPed serves as a viable alternative for short-distance or intermodal transportation. Specifically, a kick scooter is suitable for distances that are too far to walk but too short to bike. A Kick Scooter is ideal for those "in-between" distance trips of 0.5 to 2 miles on relatively flat terrain. This seems to be the "sweet spot" for the scooter, in my experience. Moreover, to me, a kick scooter serves as one of the best methods of intermodal transportation to where one wants to utilize multiple methods of transportation in one trip to due to the fast fold time and small folded size and weight of the unit.

Size and weight of the KickPed

The KickPed comes in two sizes, the only difference being the length of the handlebar: the Large, with a 39 inch handle bar and the Small with a 35 inch handlebar. The manufacturer recommendation is that those 5 ft. 9 in. and under should choose the small and those 5 ft. 10 in. and over should choose the large. I am close to the borderline, being just under 5 ft. 9 in., and so decided to ride both of them to see what I preferred. To me, the smaller size felt like the better ride for me. The lower handle bar allows one the ability to bend down a little more and propel forward with greater ease and force.

The listed weight of the device is approximately 12 lbs. I have found this to be a manageable weight for carrying short distances through subway stops, for example. For reference, this weight is about half that of a folding bicycle (most folding bikes will be in the 20 to 25lb range). If you do find yourself needing to carry the KickPed Kick Scooter over longer distances, you can either roll it alongside you or sling it over your shoulder in the folded position.

KickPed Kick Scooter

First impressions

I found the Kickpedto be a very intuitive device to ride. The learning curve was minutes. You step on the platform, hold onto the handlebars, and then propel yourself forward using a kind of sweeping motion with one leg. One leg is on the platform at all times, and the other leg is the one that does the sweeping motion. For me, the best approach was to alternate the leg that was doing the sweeping motion regularly. It seems to be much like the motion of riding a skateboard. The benefit of a kick scooter over a skateboard is that the scooter has a front handlebar for balance and has a rear step-brake as well.

I also liked the appearance of the KickPed Scooter. The KickPedis done in a raw lacquer style finish, very similar to a raw lacquer finished Brompton bike. The handlebar is stainless steel. This scooter seems to be built extremely solidly. One gets the sense that the KickPed can take years of use with minimal maintenance. There are no gears or hand brakes to maintain. This simplicity leads to its durability.

In terms of initial ride quality, overall I was pleasantly surprised by how well the KickPed rode. I was riding on the uneven street surfaces of Manhattan and at slight inclines at times, and found the ride to be relatively smooth. The thick 2.5inch wheels certainly help to alleviate the potential bumpiness of uneven roads, although this comes at the slight cost of speed relative to thinner wheels.

This seems to be a fair trade off to me as there are many areas of Manhattan that have roads that are not particularly smooth. The KickPed navigated slight inclines and small hills fine, although I would say that scooting up a steep hill for prolonged periods of time may not be the most ideal situation. Much of the heart of Manhattan is relatively flat, so one would rarely run into the problem of having to walk the Kick Scooter up a hill.

After taking the KickPed out for a ride for the first time, I was quite impressed by the small size and good ride quality of the device. I was already beginning to think about ways in which I could incorporate the device into my day-to-day routines.

Further Impressions of the KickPed

- Speed: I would say that the scooter is approximately 2 to 2.5x as fast as walking. My usual trip to a grocery store 10 blocks away takes about 10 minutes walking and about 4 to 5 minutes on the scooter.

- Ride quality: Very good. The thick wheels making going over uneven road and small bumps relatively smooth.

- Where to ride: Legally, one is allowed to ride a kick scooter on the sidewalk. I have found this to be the best option for wider sidewalks with less foot-traffic in Manhattan. However, I have found that when I was scooting in the densely populated streets of midtown and lower Manhattan, it was easier to scoot on the street or in bike lanes; navigating around and in between a big crowd of people can be tricky at times. I felt very safe on the scooter.

Specific Uses:
  • KickPed StorageGrocery store: a Kick Scooter is great for short trips to the grocery store. It is small enough to be able to fit in a shopping cart too, so while you are actually in the store your hands would be free. I would bring a backpack and put my groceries in there after shopping, as it is not easy to carry bags and scooting at the same time.
  • Commuting to the East and the West sides of the city: In the case of one friend I know, he has a home office on 10th avenue and lives several avenues away on 5th avenue (approximately 1 mile away). While 1 mile may not seem like very much, there are times when he would just cab this distance because he did not feel like walking it. With the KickPed, this trip would be approximately 2 times as fast.

- Safety: Traditionally, safety is a common concern regarding Kick Scooters. Specifically, with thinner and smaller wheels, there have been reports of people finding that they fell forward on the scooter when going over cracks or bumps in the road. I feel as if the KickPed was designed specifically to address this problem. Among other things, its wheels are significantly thicker than most other kick scooters, which translates to a more stable ride. This comes at the cost of some speed, but in Manhattan, with many areas having uneven road surfaces, it seems to me that this is a fair trade. I felt very safe and comfortable on the KickPed on various road surfaces.

- Cost: The KickPed retails for $239.00 USD. I find this to be quite a reasonable pricing point for a device that is made in the USA and can save a person many hundreds of dollars on transportation expenses.

- Storage: The KickPed Kick scooter folds down compactly. I find that an easy way to store the scooter is to lay it flat on the floor; if that takes up too much space, then one can lean it up against the wall vertically. For me, I have found that the best way to store the scooter is by utilizing some form of vertical storage. I already had the Delta Cycle Michelangelo Gravity bike storage unit that I put all my bike equipment on. The KickPed fits perfectly on one of the pegs, as you can see below.

Conclusion

Brompton carrying Kickped In conclusion, I am pleasantly surprised and impressed by the KickPed scooter. I feel as if it can serve as a useful addition to one's travel tools. It serves as an ideal mode of transportation for those distances that are too far to walk but too short to bike. The KickPed is extremely portable and thus is practical for trips involving several forms of transportation as well. Ultimately, I feel as if when one weighs the costs vs. the potential benefits of the KickPed, it seems like a limited downside investment with the potential for serving as a staple transportation device for shorter distances. For an affordable price, you get a device that can quickly and efficiently take you around the City, saving you $5 per round trip if you were to have taken the subway (subway tickets cost $2.50 each way), or even more if you were going to take a cab. The price of the scooter is equal to 49 round trip subway tickets. Assuming you use the kick scooter once a week, the payback period is less than a year. These direct transportation costs savings can quickly add up to exceed the cost of the KickPed itself. Most importantly, the Kickped is just fun to ride!

Postscript and Other Pictures of the KickPed Kick Scooter

I biked with my Brompton to NYCeWheels to pick up the Kickped scooter. I then put the scooter in basket of my Brompton and biked home 3.5 miles with the below set up. The simple and tasteful raw lacquer finish of the KickPed even matched the finish on my Brompton.

Order a Kickped kick scooter of your own to experience it for yourself!