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Kickbike scooting : Kickbike Walking

I don't know how I got to this -- another novel/out there -- consideration but I was reviewing 'barefoot running' science -- such as it is. I was thinking barefoot kickbiking because barefoot is an easy jump on.

No shoelaces to worry about.  

But when you review the barefoot running rationale there's really no point to go barefoot on a kickbike as your foot strike is not  heel based. It's way up front and a lot lighter than a runner's stomp. So injuries on a kickbike from pronation or twist ankles or achilles tendonitis or whatever are zilch.

So for kickbiking I wear my beloved Dunlop Volleys  (and will continue to wear) -- and mine are from the cheap end of the catalogue: purchased from Big W or Target.

The irony being that for barefoot runner wannabes the Volley is recommended as a transition or beginner shoe.

As for more general wear I have monitored my experiments and $ outlays and find that the Volleys will cross train' both on the kickbike and in the water and still last me maybe one year at a stretch with several pairs in use. The only drawback -- as with any shoe -- is those odd times when you get the shoe heel caught under the scooter's back wheel. This usually grinds the shoe back or rips the canvas.

So do I want to go barefoot....? Why? Also as a diabetic maybe it's not a good idea afterall. In fact it is a contraindication.

But the whole question got me thinking about my continuing preference for light simple footwear and barefoot is as light as you can get.

But then, since I've used this an an excuse to read  Christopher  McDougall's barefooter's bible -- Born to Run -- I've got to think a bit more about what I'm doing on/with a kickbike -- and why I abhorred all the cross trainer hype that are used to sell these scooters.

I know I have talked about this before -- the difference between EXERCISE and RECREATION -- but I am now much enamored with the perspective being offered from HIIT adherents like Chris Highcock -- who's HillFit I've discussed before.  

Hillfitery has been a bit of a major revelation for me.

It's about doing less but doing it well and then seeing, in my case, kickbiking as primarily recreation without having to make demands of the scootering.

That said I now do interval sprints on the kickbike and am now experimenting with a 40 second exertion followed by a 20 second coast x 8 times -- rather than angsting over distances. It's like hill climbing. I have 'interval music' in my mp3 player and sprint full on along a straight, wide, and low traffic road. Since it is so flat here my sprints are my make-believe typography topography. 

These intense pushes really focus my attention on my technique -- such as getting as much drive a I can from each kick. Then a few minutes later , sprints completed, I'm back in recreational mode.

This is how the option of barefooting came up in my head: foot strike. But as I say, it's a false issue on a kickbike as you do strike so lightly compared to running.That raises the question of 'natural kickbiking' -- like natural running -- and begs the other question of how much does kickbiking impact on your walking or running gait and style?

Since you don't kickbike like you run...but what if you run or walk like you kickbike?

That may seem silly but just for an experiment get up and walk around the room like you are pushing a kickbike as though you are scootering. Then break back into 'normal stride'.

Note the difference and how your pelvis is aligned in with each move. Your gait is wider and your hips are rockier left and right. You are a little shorter and there is more work demanded of the abdominals. You also walk with less immediate strike or weight falling directly on the heel.

So is this good for walking or not?

I wonder...

If I wanted to walk better or differently all I'd need to do is whisper to my brain: "switch to kickbike mode". And since kickbiking gives you such a cute ass --- well maybe if you wanted to strut the walk this is the way.
Out in the laboratory: I spent a good part of  yesterday walking in kickbike mode for maybe 4-5 km. I had no difficulty keeping it up as the simple directive 'kickbike mode' ruled my brain. The drawback however, is that today I feel I have been hit by a truck. Maybe too much too quickly? Experiment or not. Is my walking posture bad and my kickbike posture better?
I'm reading: Esther Gokhale at the moment and she has some interesting concepts about natural ways to move which seem to support this gait.* In my past lives I was an exponent of the Feldenkrais Method as well as a Tai Chi practitioner.  So Awareness Movement  is a subject  I'm familiar with and am keen on.

But then after plying through such an inspiring read as the one that McDougall offers in Born to Run I have to wonder how much transposition is possible to engineer Born to Scoot. 

If I was going to take up running again I'd never consider pounding the pavement as fun. But beach running or trail running is something else. 

I used to run everywhere before I fell ill -- to and from work, across town, along so many secret routes and shortcuts. It was my way of embracing a region...and getting around. While I now walk hither and yon the complication is that you can only walk so far in any one hour. Now I kick scoot when I can and proceed forward in above jogging pace . So kickbiking/scootering is a great trade off from running especially if you begin to scoot over weight. 
My current weight is a full 20 kgm heavier than my lowest running weight -- 30 years ago. Pick up a 20 kgm weight and try bouncing that on your knees!
Those extra kilograms bearing down on your knee or ankle while you pound asphalt is a bad business. They do say that exercise is not a sure fire way to lose weight -- contrary to all the hype of course. It may be worth 20% of the weight loss ratio. Even on caloric expenditure you are better off lifting weights:
In terms of calorie expenditure riding a regular bike at about 16-18 km/hr. will burn about 450 cal./hr. The calories burned on a footbike at the same speed will be about 700 cal./hr. Of note: walking will burn about 300cal./hr. (link)
But then there are other issues that suggest that it is preferable to utilize your kickbiking for many more reasons than  fat reduction. Kickbikes  for instance make for great cardio.

However, what I'm also trying to get at here is a consideration of kickbiking for movement awareness and posture change. 

I'll tell you why this is so much of interest to me: I began my recent exercise focus walking with a cane and while I later swapped the cane for one then two trekking poles -- my next adaption was to get my self a scooter. This was a homemade heavy thing cannibalized from two BMX bikes -- but with superb glide. I chose to scoot primarily because I didn't think mounting a bike was going to be so easy. So I'd put my walking stick on the handle bars (for later post-dismount use) and scoot off.

It was liberating.

And now, here  I am, several years later without crutches or canes of any sort, running up stairs, dancing and considering trail jogging...

The cane created a me that was bent over. The trekking poles forced me upright. The scooter lengthened my stride and pulled my body upwards....and gave me back mobility I had lost.

In like mode, and for all foot users, here is an excellent exploration of form from the Natural Running stable:
Stability and Mobility for healthy Running

*What Gokhale calls 'Glidewalking' -- " a series of smooth forward propulsions, challenging the muscles of the lower body and sparing the weight-bearing joints throughout the body" -- parallels much of the kickbike scoot. The key difference is the fact that the kickbiker is astride a device and the legs go out on consecutive sides so you won't get, while riding, a straight line foot fall. However I notice that if you throw your leg forward while walking -- in a true kickbike swing -- there is a medial shift before the foot strike. But as Gokhale notes in her book when you start doing this 'walk' you get buttock pain. You bet.Those gluteals  are working for you big time.


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