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March 2017
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KICKBIKE

KICKBIKE

The kickbike is the result of the evolution of the scooter; it has a larger front wheel that has a diameter of 28”, that is, the size of a normal bicycle wheel. Together with mechanical changes, this feature gives the scooter a new, modern and captivating design, a new structure and better aerodynamic characteristics, therefore it is possible to reach higher speeds and use this bike for competitive and sporting means.
No longer just a past time for kids, the kickbike is a mode of transport that can be used in various ways, for getting from one place to another in a different and environmentally friendly way, as well as keeping in shape and doing exercise of various levels of intensity, and it is a real competitive sport. In fact, the IKSA (International Kicksled Scooter Association) made kickbiking an official sporting discipline with various relay, sprint and resistance races covering distances of 200-1000m, 10-50km and even 60-250km. What is more, there are also cross country, downhill and even mass tour competitions for this sport.

Origins and popularity
The kickbike (also known officially, but less successfully, as a footbike) was invented in the early 1990s by Hannu Vierikko from Finland, however it is thanks to the intuition of a young man called Alpo Kuusisto and his very successful communication campaigns and promotion about this discipline that this practice has become so widespread and so popular. During the summer of 2000, Kuusisto undertook a long trip across the streets of Europe with a kickbike, visiting Holland, Germany, the Czech Republic and Italy, that is, all the countries where kickbiking is practised, making fans aware of one another and sharing the experience and project. In Holland, Kuusisto met Thijza Brower who, at a later date, took care of the organisational and advertising structure for Holland.
In Italy, Alpo Kuusisto met Federico Torti from AVIS Ivrea and, in the last few years, he has worked intensely with Elidio Viglio to promote scootering in Italy. Pleased to have finally discovered that scootering was also practised in other countries, AVIS Ivrea committed to creating a group for organising a European calendar for the following year. It is thanks to the International Kicksled and Scooter Association that this discipline spread from Europe to other parts of the world.

Sporting achievements with a kickbike:


Maximum speed on level ground without spoilers
39 km/h
Maximum speed reached going downhill without spoilers
81 km/h
1000m (1km) record1min 0.5 sec
10000m (10 km) record 20min 6 sec (average of 33 km/h)
Marathon (42km) record1h 20min 3sec (average of 31 km/h)

Using a kickbike means carrying out an action that mainly involves using the cardiovascular system, especially if carried out outdoors. Furthermore, it stimulates various muscle groups, mainly building up the muscles in the legs (calves, semitendinosus, hamstrings and buttocks), much like the muscles used when running, whilst the muscles worked in the leg that stays on the scooter are very similar to those worked when cycling (calves and quadriceps). The legs change position every 3-6 kicks depending on the steepness of the track. Lifting the leg upwards during the activity to overload and increase the kick also means that the lower abdominals are worked, and, since the driver can easily adjust the driving position, the buttocks, arms and shoulders are continually worked.

Technical aspects
In general, the most common kickbike models have different sized wheels: normally ,the back one is 16-24 inches, but others can even be 26-28 inches big, thus the same size as the front wheel (which varies from 26 inches for off-road competitions to 28 inches for road kickbikes). The materials that these bikes are made out of vary depending on their use, the type of workout and competition; there are frames in steel, aluminium and even carbon fibre, as is also the case for bicycles.

The kicking
This is a technical movement that involves pushing down on the floor to push the scooter. Maximum rotation of the hip is required to do this and flexion of the knee and ankle. The leg that kicks and the one that stays on the scooter carry out different actions, however these roles are reversed every 3-6 kicks depending on the slope, therefore both legs benefit from both types of flexion and rotation, creating a highly fluid and sequential movement.

The leg on the scooter
Whilst the other leg kicks, the leg on the scooter carries out an important stabilising action that should not be underestimated. In fact, this leg runs the risk of getting tired before the kicking leg if the roles are not swapped regularly. At the beginning of the ride, the leg should be straight and the foot should be slightly flexed with the heel just off the foot board. All of the weight rests on this leg, which also has to deal with vertical and horizontal forces generated by the kicking actions and consequential movements of the body. The muscle work (static and isometric contractions) is mainly carried out by the quadriceps, even though other muscle groups are also worked (tibialis, calves and abdominals). The leg on the scooter should be straightened at the end of each kicking cycle.

Optimising the kick
In order to make the kick more efficient, the vertical movement that occurs between the foot board and the ground needs to be reduced (many athletes tend to lower the foot board and place brackets between the fork and back wheel). The kickbiker should also try and minimise the movement of the body (forward and backward movements) by stabilising the position with the shoulders and arms.

As with all sports, some rules should be followed when doing kickbiking to start well and not take any unnecessary risks:

• Always wear a protective helmet;
• Identify which is your better kicking leg;
• Practise changing over the kicking leg;
• Make sure the scooter rides well on the ground;
• Be careful of obstacles in the road, such as ramps and pavements;
• Learn how to change direction;
• Learn how to get on and off the scooter easily;
• Wear comfortable clothing.


Lastly, remember that, according to the highway code, kickbikes cannot be used on roads.

KICKBIKE

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