Why scoot when you can walk, run or cycle? [Part the First: The question of speed.]

I negotiated a watershed moment recently when I  considered  getting a bicycle.

You know what a bicycle is, right? It is a two large wheeled contraption with foot peddles and a seat. To make the peddling easier you often add a set of gears.

But when I meditated on the prospect  of cycling rather than scootering I decided  to stick with the scooter.

Why? What possible advantages has a scooter over a bike, or for that matter, has a scooter over  other means of getting about town?

A considered  answer is possible and over a few posts I want to address that question.

#1 The question of speed

I haven't collected my own experimental data, so if you want to challenge these figures please do so. I wanted  to use generic (even anecdotal) figures , not the sort of speeds that can be attained by athletes but ones that synced with everyday activity.

Base Speed --  Casual Walking: 2.5-3.5 mph/4-7 kph
Walking from A to B without actually working hard at it, is your first transit option.
Up Tempo Feet Speed -- Jogging: over 6 mph/9.6 kph
Jogging begins at about this speed and how fast you run is a matter of your preference and capacity.
Scooter/Kickbike -- Cruising Speed: 9.3-12.4 mph/15-20 kph
You can reach speeds of 30-40 kph on the flat with a kickbike; but a general everyday average  for large wheel scooters (over 12" or 8" diameter too?*) is probably in this ballpark range.
Cycling -- Generic Average -- 14 mph/22 kph
Cycling speeds can vary of course depending on so many factors but 22 - 40 kph is maybe a  sort of median range . 
So if we use walking as the base transit  speed, we get these sort of relativities.
  • Walking: 1
  • Jogging: 2
  • Scootering: 3-4
  • Cycling: 4-5
So scootering is 3-4 times faster than walking, but slower -- by   15 %  (at least)-- than riding a bicycle.

Other factors determining transit speed.
You'll find many figures that exceed these data speeds, especially  when collected at competition events. But in the real everyday world the major impacts on speed are going to be:
  • Topography 
  • Traffic conditions
Obviously a bicycle with a default gearing ratio and a series of other  gearing options is going to handle the challenge of climbing at faster speeds than either a kickbike/scooter, a jogger or a walker and do that climbing  with less energy outlay. 

However, a scooter with its easy hop on/hop off option means that it can shift from road to pavement quickly and easily without any major danger to pedestrians or rider. (I'll deal with this property much more detail in a later post).

So in summary --for real world application --
If it takes you 20 minutes to walk to the shops, on a scooter you can do it in 5-7 minutes. Just step on and push off. You'd get there quicker on a bike but you'd need to mount and dismount the contraption and begin your journey from a standing start. You'd  need to keep to the road and stay in traffic and if you wanted to change  to the pavement you would need to dismount and crank up the peddling again, and dismount every time a pedestrian came too close.  If you had to climb steps (such as over a railway line-- my everyday challenge), the bike will be much heavier  to carry than a scooter....
* Wheel diameter is a working  'speed' comparative factor I hope to return to.


Post a Comment