We’ve all read about the benefits of carpooling or biking to work to lessen our carbon footprint and impact on the environment. If you are looking for an alternative option for commuting, a kick scooter may be an ideal and enjoyable way to go.
Kick scooters are good for commuting, but there are pros and cons to consider, such as the route you are taking and the length of your commute. Your commute should be relatively short — generally, around two miles or less. If you live in a mostly flat-surfaced environment and will not encounter steep hills or uneven terrain, a scooter can be a great choice.
Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of a kick scooter for commuting, as well as some key considerations before you make a purchase.
Kick Scooters: An Unlikely Alternative Street Vehicle
When we think of kick scooters, we often think of little kids riding up and down the neighborhood block, propelling themselves as fast as they can with the power of two tiny feet.
But kick scooters are not only for kids. With the current and ever-increasing concern over emissions and the impact that motor vehicles have on the environment, a kick scooter can be a great alternative and one of the simplest ways to avoid carbon emissions altogether.
The benefits of riding a kick scooter are not limited to environmental health but significantly improve your own health as well. Just think about the amount of time and money you’ll save by avoiding the gym every day in exchange for a workout on your way to work.
We’ll get into the benefits and a few disadvantages to be aware of shortly. First, let’s review what a kick scooter is, how it works, and why these alternative street vehicles may be the next best commuting choice.
What is a Kick Scooter?
A kick scooter is a lightweight, human-powered “street vehicle” that is often called a push-scooter or simply a scooter. These scooters are not the same as an electric or gas-powered scooter — with a kick scooter, the energy you’ll use will come only from the food you eat.
For the most part, you’ll be doing the work in getting your scooter moving, in combination with a bit of physics when it comes to propelling yourself forward.
Kick scooters are often used for recreation, but there are quite a few reasons to utilize them for other purposes as well. They are simple to use and operate, lightweight, and incredibly convenient — often, more convenient than a bicycle, especially when it comes to commuting.
Kick scooters are made of plastic or aluminum, and, in general, they have at least two wheels, sometimes three depending on the design. Scooters designed with three wheels aid stability, but, most often, you’ll see kick scooters with two wheels — one in the front and one in the back and in a range of sizes.
Manual scooters are incredibly easy to operate. You’ll need to hold onto the handlebars while placing one foot on the base of the scooter. Ideally, you will want to place one foot in front of the other for the best balance.
You may find that placing your left foot on the scooter while using your right foot to propel you forward is a more comfortable choice.
However, depending on whether you are right or left-handed, the opposite may be true. It is entirely your choice, and the decision is only with regard to what feels most comfortable, while also giving you the most power with every push.
With scooters gaining popularity for both children and adults alike, there are quite a few new technologies that aid in steering and control. Some scooters are specifically designed for commuting adults, versus those that are intended for children and recreation.
Regardless of your purpose for riding, there are more advantages to a kick scooter than you may realize. If you’ve recently found yourself coveting a scooter you planned to buy for your kids, you aren’t alone — there are lots of reasons to get one for yourself, too but make sure to know the difference between cheap and quality scooters.
Breaking Down the Pros and Cons of Kick Scooters
As with anything, there are certainly both advantages as well as disadvantages for using a kick scooter to commute, whether to and from work or for a quick trip to the coffee shop or restaurant in town.
We’ve mentioned a few key considerations already, such as how long your commute is and where you live, but there are a few other pros and cons to consider as well.
Eight Advantages for Choosing a Kick Scooter
There are numerous advantages to commuting with a kick scooter, including the fact that they are lightweight, convenient, and provide a few unexpected health benefits, too. Below, you’ll find a convincing list of pros to riding a kick scooter.
1: Kick Scooters are Lightweight, Weighing between 5 and 15 Pounds
If you are planning for a short commute, and you will not be taking any other form of transportation, perhaps the weight of your kick scooter is less of a concern, but it’s one of the main advantages to kick scooters over bicycles.
Kick scooters are a lot easier to lift than a bulky bike that can weigh 20 to 30 pounds, and many models are actually foldable, too. You can probably grab your scooter with one hand while balancing your morning coffee, which makes its lightweight frame a substantial advantage.
If planning to use your scooter to commute to and from a bus or train station, you’re going to want something lighter since you’ll need to lift it and carry it up steps and down platforms. In some locations, public transportation does not allow bicycles.
2: Kick Scooters Are Also Small
In addition to being lightweight, scooters are small — much smaller than bikes, and with that in mind, much easier to store, whether at work or home.
Scooters generally fold to a more compact size, making it a lot easier for you to stow it away underneath your desk during the workday or in the corner of your home, especially if you live in a small apartment with limited space.
Similar to the first advantage of being lightweight, if you do need to commute from your apartment to a bus or train, a small, foldable scooter is pretty easy to take with you and fit into a tight space, such as underneath your seat or in an upper compartment.
3: They’re Faster than Walking
This one might go without saying, but in the general sense, anything with wheels is going to get you where you want to go a lot faster than walking. A kick scooter is a lot more fun, too, which is another added benefit.
While your kick scooter is going to get you where you want to be a bit slower than a car, depending on traffic, at least you won’t be stuck in a jam or at every red light on your way to work, which will make your day a lot less stressful at the outset.
4: There Is No Need to Charge a Battery or Add Gas to Ride
Kick scooters do not require any gas or battery charge, given you are only using your feet to propel you forward. You’ll likely find that you’ll need some extra energy, so don’t skip breakfast if you’re planning to use your scooter to commute, but it’s all the energy you’ll need.
And because there’s no gas or battery charge involved, you’re helping the environment and reducing emissions, too.
5: Kick Scooters Are a Safer Option
Because kick scooters are not powered by a motor, there is a limit to how fast you can go. Of course, you’ll want to be careful on small hills — you can gain a little bit of speed, probably around 10 miles an hour or so. Just remember that the brakes on a kick scooter are not intended to slow you down abruptly.
In general, kick scooters are safer than electric scooters and even bicycles because you’ll be moving slower, which means bumps and falls will be less impactful. You can also ride on the sidewalk or the road, but you should always be sure to wear a helmet, regardless of where you are riding.
6: They’re a Lot Cheaper to Buy and Maintain than Some other Options
On average, a kick scooter will run you somewhere between $50 to $100, as compared to bikes or electric scooters, both averaging about $300 or more — some models upwards of $600.
If you aren’t looking to pay a lot of money, a kick scooter is the way to go. When it comes to maintenance fees, your scooter is not going to require a substantial investment for tune-ups or replacing parts.
7: Riding a Kick Scooter Helps You to Develop an Active, Healthy Lifestyle
It’s pretty safe to say that any mode of transportation that requires you to use your own energy versus that of a battery is going to provide some significant health benefits. Kick scooters are no exception.
You’ll often read recommendations from the experts that say you should exercise around 150 minutes a week, equaling about 30 minutes a day. If you are commuting with a kick scooter, and it takes you about 15 minutes each way, you’ve just reached your daily requirement.
In doing so, you might even discover that, in time, you’ve lost some weight, gained endurance, and found yourself more toned and physically fit.
Riding a kick scooter works your leg muscles quite a bit, so be ready for some sore hamstrings, glutes, and quads as you begin. The soreness will subside over time, but the health benefits will remain.
8: Kick Scooters Are Fun, and They Require Little Maintenance
One of the most exasperating aspects of owning a car is that you’ll inevitably find it will break down at some point. A warning light will unexpectedly pop up on your dashboard, sending you to the automotive and leaving you with a nice fat bill to pay.
The same is true for electric scooters and other motorized vehicles. There are batteries that will need replacing and other electric parts that will inevitably need repair.
A kick scooter avoids all of these issues. With no battery to maintain and very little maintenance necessary, your kick scooter will stay in optimal condition for quite a long time, and that makes them a lot more fun to ride.
Disadvantages to Choosing a Kick Scooter
Of course, with advantages, there are inevitably a few disadvantages that come into play as well, and it’s essential to look at both sides so that you can make an informed decision.
We’ve already hinted at a few disadvantages, but we’ll go through them in more detail below so that you can decide if commuting with a kick scooter is the right decision for you.
1: If You Plan to Commute Far, a Kick Scooter Might Not Be the Best Choice
Earlier, we said commuting with a kick scooter is ideal if you are looking at about two miles, maximum. Anything longer than that is going to make your ride pretty tough and, overall, pretty tiring.
Because you aren’t going to be able to pick up significant speed on a kick scooter, you’ll also need to factor in the amount of time it will take you to get to your intended location.
On average, it takes nearly 20 to 25 minutes to walk a mile. With a scooter, you can cut that time in half, but you will definitely want to plan accordingly — likely somewhere around 10 to 12 minutes per mile.
2: If You Are Really Tall, a Kick Scooter Might Not Be as Comfortable
Another consideration when it comes to distance is purely the comfort of the ride. Most kick scooters, while adjustable, require you to crouch down to reach the handlebars.
If you are very tall, staying in a standing, overly crouched position for a longer duration of time isn’t going to be very comfortable. The taller you are, the more discomfort you may experience.
If your commute is very short, it’s probably not a big deal; otherwise, remember that most kick scooters are going to require you to bend a bit even at the highest setting.
3: They’re Not Meant to Be Fast, and They Can Be More Tiring than a Bike
Like we said earlier, your kick scooter is human-powered. It’s only going to go as fast as you can propel your foot forward. Repeatedly doing so will eventually tire you out, especially since you need to stand on your feet the entire time versus with a bike where you can sit.
This is another reason why kick scooters are ideal for short commutes, or even in combination with an additional transportation mode, but likely not optimal for longer rides or if you need to get somewhere quickly.
4: People Might Chuckle at You
By the time you get to adult age, you might not care too much about what others think of you as you roll down the street on your kick scooter.
But the reality is you probably don’t see too many adults in their 20s or 30s rocking a kick scooter on the way to work — not yet, anyway. Whether or not that matters to you is your choice, but just be prepared to be known as the “weird” guy or girl with the scooter.
A kick scooter may not be as cool as a bike or skateboard, but who’s to say being “weird” is a bad thing, after all?
5: Terrain Matters When It Comes to Kick Scooters
If you take a look at your commute and realize that you’ve got quite a few steep hills in between your home and work, or whatever other location you plan to scooter to, a kick scooter may not be the best option.
To put it plainly, using a kick scooter to go uphill is fairly miserable. If you need to get up a hill, you’ll probably need to get off and walk or push your scooter.
Conversely, if you are going downhill, you’ll want to be extra careful. The brakes on kick scooters are not designed for steep declines, and you can pretty easily fall and get hurt.
Additionally, if the road isn’t flat and is rather rocky or you’re looking at taking a bike path with your scooter, you might find that you have a hard time. While there are models made for more uneven terrain, the wheels are smaller on kick scooters, and they’re just not capable of covering really rocky or bumpy roads.
Adult Kick Scooters: A Few Styles and Choices
While they may not seem super cool just yet, there are quite a few selections and new technologies when it comes to adult kick scooters. There is a wide range of designs and styles — many with different purposes and characteristics to fit your particular needs.
Big-Wheel Kick Scooters
Some kick scooters have a larger wheel at the front that allows for more durability and stability during your ride. If the road you are riding is a little bit bumpy, a scooter with a larger wheel might be your best bet. These also seem to be a good choice if you are on the larger or taller side.
One example of a large wheeled scooter is the Hudora 230 Big Wheel Kick Scooter. Most agree that it’s one of the most comfortable and durable kick scooters on the market, while still being lightweight.
Another big wheel scooter option is the Mongoose Expo Adult Scooter. With larger tires, it is ideal for both sport and commuting and is better suited to handle small bumps that you may encounter on the road.
Traditional Kick Scooter Models
Other kick scooter models that have traditionally smaller wheels are also a great choice. Those with lower aluminum decks are perfect for campus travel or getting to and from the local coffee shop.
While these are not suited for questionable terrain, they are easily portable, foldable, and adjustable. One such model, the Micro White and Black Adult Kick Scooter, is known for its shock-absorbing handlebars and smooth, quiet ride.
Another model that offers some unique benefits is the Hudora 205 Adult Folding Kick Scooter. It’s recognized by many to be both affordable as well as durable. It also has a carrying strap that allows for even more portability when traveling.
No matter what kick scooter you choose, the most important consideration is a style and brand that will work best with your needs, as well as what will provide you with the most comfortable ride.
Whatever your choice for commuting, avoiding a car and opting for something more eco-friendly is well worth the investment, and the benefits of riding a kick scooter are substantial.
Taking into account things like the distance of your commute as well as the roads you will be riding on is important. Once you’ve done some research to help you find the model that is right for you, you’ll be well on your way to a new way to commute.