We all ride kick scooters for various reasons. Some ride a kick scooter for recreation. Others will use a kick scooter to commute to work when the distance isn’t too far. (Usually 2-4 miles away). Or, bring onto public transportation when a folding bike is too bulky and heavy to carry up and down stairs. Plus, kick scooters are fun, affordable, and easy to ride. DON’T BELIEVE ME? Ask anyone and they will tell you, that it can be very easy to keep your balance on a kick scooter once you get the hang of it.
How do you keep your balance on a kick scooter when you’re a newbie?
Just like when first learning how to ride a bike, it takes a little practice. Some people may find learning how to ride a kick scooter difficult, especially if they’re having problems with their balance. But the majority of kick scooter riders, commuters, etc. find that it’s very easy to ride a kick scooter.
The key to keeping your balance on a kick scooter comes down to the following:
1. Find the right kick scooter
At first, most kick scooters can all look alike. They all have 2 wheels. A deck to stand on. Steering to dodge obstacles and make turns. And a back brake to stop. SIMPLE! RIGHT?
In theory, finding a kick scooter to commute or ride recreationally is very simple. Just go to any store, including your local Walmart, and pick out a cheap kick scooter.
Yes, this kick scooter will work just fine if you plan on just riding around the block just for fun. But, if you plan on using if for longer distances or commuting daily. This kick scooter will not hold up well. And will also not ride well enough to use for serious scooting.
A kick scooter has to meet a lot of strict criteria when being used by an adult for commuting.
It must be strong enough to hold the weight of an adult. And be sturdy enough to withstand the daily wear and tear that it will be subjected to. There’s nothing worse than buying a kick scooter only to have it keep breaking every few weeks. Or needing to be replaced every 3 months. Why not spend the extra money on a real adult kick scooter that will last 5-10 years, or more?
An adult kick scooter has to also fit properly. The deck should be large enough to fit adult feet, so that you can switch kicking legs frequently to avoid getting overly fatigued. And not too high above the ground.
The steering should be stable and responsive so that you can quickly avoid obstacles, such as potholes and sewer grates. But still allow you to easily keep your balance, preventing dangerous crashes.
Wheel size and rolling resistance is another very important factor to consider. Larger wheels make it easier to ride over cracks, small stones, and maintain higher speeds. Also, look for kick scooters that use higher grade compounds on their wheels, such as Xootr scooter.
And make sure your kick scooter has both a front and back brake to allow faster and safer stopping.
2. Learn how to ride a kick scooter slowly
As I’ve already mentioned. Learning to ride a kick scooter is very easy. In fact, if you can walk, you can ride a kick scooter.
At first, riding a kick scooter might feel twitchy and unstable, due to how the wheels are smaller, and aligned compared to a bicycle. But after riding for 15-20 minutes, it will feel as if you’ve been riding for years.
The way to learn how to balance on a kick scooter is to first ride it in an empty parking lot or driveway. Pick somewhere flat, with no obstacles. And kick slowly and smoothly. Take your time to get use to the steering, brakes, and deck size.
As you get better at keeping your balance, you can gradually increase your speed and riding distance. Just make sure you wear a helmet.
3. Control your speed
It’s very easy to get overly excited when riding a kick scooter for the first time. Riding a kick scooter is a blast, and makes you feel like a kid again. Just don’t ride a kids kick scooter.
You can get so excited that you don’t realize how dangerous riding a kick scooter down steep grades can be. The wheels due to their small size, can get caught in potholes, cracks, and lose control from riding over rocks.
Riding fast down steep hills, or kicking aggressively to go fast can cause you to lose control. And experience a severe crash.
Take your time when kicking, and try to avoid riding down too steep of hills. If you must ride down a steep hill, control your speed by rapidly hitting the brakes. Avoid applying the brakes steadily, as they can overheat and fail.
4. Don’t ride your kick scooter in snow or rain
In dry weather, a kick scooter is fun and relatively safe as long as you watch where you’re riding. And watch out for pedestrians and traffic.
When it’s raining and snowing, kick scooters can become very dangerous. The smooth wheels will lose traction, causing the scooter to slide out from under you. And the brakes stop working completely.
WORD OF ADVICE: Don’t ride your adult kick scooter in anything but dry weather. And avoid riding over leaves as they can cause you to lose control.
5. Always keep both hands on the handlebars
Adult kick scooters have smaller wheels, narrower handlebars, and a unique geometry. These combinations of characteristics can make them very responsive when steering.
This responsiveness can cause your kick scooter to be very twitchy when riding with one hand. Or, to easily loose control when riding over anything but smooth surfaces. All it takes is one rock or uneven surface, combined with only one hand to cause a horrific crash.
Keep both hands on the handlebars at all times, and be aware of what type of surfaces you’re riding over.
6. Ride on the road
Unless you ride a larger kick scooter designed for off-road use, stick to riding on the road. Smooth surfaces if possible.
Most kick scooters (especially the one’s that fold up) have thin, small wheels. These types of wheels are fast and efficient when ridden on the road, which they are designed for.
Off-road, they can get stuck in mud, in between rocks and roots, and cause you to take a hard tumble.
STICK TO RIDING your kick scooter where it was designed to be used. That’s on the road and paved paths.
Conclusion to how to keep your balance on a kick scooter
A kick scooter is a fantastic way to commute in an urban area, or ride recreationally. They are fun, affordable, and easy to ride. At first they might feel twitchy, but with a little practice, it’s very easy to keep your balance on a kick scooter.
CHECK OUT OUR KICK-SCOOTING GUIDE: HERE
AND SCOOTING WITH JONATHAN KELLEY: HERE