In my day-to-day life as a work-at-home mom of 3, I do a lot of walking. We live a good distance from the school and my kids are varying ages, so there are a lot of back and forth trips. Quite often, I’m walking home alone after delivering children to their respective destinations, and I think I’ve just discovered the secret to making those trips not only more efficient, but also way more fun.
Manufacturer: Kickbike Ontario Ltd.
Price range: $362 – $775
The Kickbike is a scooter-bicycle hybrid designed in Finland. Like a bicycle, it has large, air-filled tires and hand brakes. What is doesn’t have is a seat and pedals. Which means you stand on it as you would a scooter and use your legs to propel you forward.
So why not just get a scooter? Well, there are a lot of reasons, but the main one is that the Kickbike travels greater distances at a much faster speed thanks to the larger wheels. That fact alone makes it a far better choice for anyone wanting to use it for commuting or exercise.
But how is it better than a bike? Since many people would be deciding between a Kickbike and a bike, this was the biggest question that I had to wrap my mind around. All it took was a couple of rides around my neighbourhood to find the answer.
The Kickbike — I was riding a City G4 (yes, the cute one with the basket on the front) — is lightweight and easy to maneuver when I have to lift it (say, to take it down from my porch). There is no chain or derailleur for my clothes to get caught in, nor do I have to worry about what I’m wearing (so if it’s a skirt day, so be it, I can still ride without issue). Anyone with any kind of injury preventing them from mounting a bike can still use a Kickbike, too — you just step on and don’t have to lift up your leg. This easy on-off feature also makes it simple to transition from riding to walking at a moment’s notice, which is important when I’m keeping track of at least 3 kids at the same time. I’m not going to lie, there’s also the added bonus that Kickbikes are incredibly cool-looking, but I suppose image probably shouldn’t factor too much when choosing a mode of transportation.
There is a technique to the kicking, but it’s easy to learn (there is a video and description here) and lots of fun when you get the hang of it. The biggest adjustment I had to make was learning how to change the kicking leg, which prevents muscle fatigue. Once I got the hang of it, though, it was easy and definitely made riding more enjoyable.
Although there aren’t Kickbikes small enough for my littlest children (not yet, at least), the Freeride was a perfect size for my 9-year-old and would surely last him many years. We even had smaller adults riding it without issue, so given how well-made and sturdy the frame is, it would likely be in the family for a long time. The longevity factor is important to consider because Kickbikes are certainly much more expensive than scooters, and even some bicycles. As an added bonus, though, should there ever be a problem, it could be addressed at most bike shops.
I love that the Kickbike is such an excellent way for parents to get a workout while playing or commuting with their kids. Kickbikes can be ridden almost year-round (it might be best to leave it at home on the snowiest days) and are perfect for taking the kids around the neighbourhood. Active parents will also be happy to learn that Kickbike riding expends more calories than bike riding and increases heart rates easily for an intense cardio workout.
I hadn’t seen a Kickbike in person until the day I borrowed them, but after my husband, son, and I rode them for a week, it’s safe to say that they will surely be popping up everywhere once people discover how wonderful they are. Besides, everywhere I rode people would stop and stare, sometimes even asking if they could try it out (I was, of course, happy to oblige). Seeing the smiles on their faces when they kicked off and felt the wind in their hair was enough to tell me that Kickbikes are here to stay.
Our review was made possible thanks to Rodger Knight at Kickbike Ontario who loaned us a City G4 and a Freeride to test.