Thursday, 12 April 2012

Footbike: kicking in the urban jungle.

After this post about my first impressions on riding the Footbike Trail offroad, now the review (should I really use the term "review"?) on the Footbike Trail continues with some thoughts on footbiking in an urban environment.
My footbike trail.
First of all, I want to say that both my native city and the city where I spend 4 days a week due to work are not the best places for footbiking. Basically, there are no flat roads, you are constantly uphill or downhill. This is the main reason why I was so hesitant before buying a footbike.
Well, after a month and something of use, going uphill is not as hard as the first days: maybe I got trained to the kicking movement, but now going moderately uphill has become quite ordinary. As long as you change the kicking leg often, it can be done. I have to say that actually going uphill on paved roads is way easier that on gravel roads or offroad. When steepness increases too much, jumping down and running is quick and easy. Again, probably it's the training from using the Footbike quite daily as a commuter, but I noticed that I am progressively kicking more and running less: acclivities that looked like impossible to kick the first days are now easily climbed (ok, it's always harder than on a bike, but that's part of the game).
In the city and with cars around, the most important thing is to be aware that you are not on a bike - you are much slower, so reaction times have to be different.
Another thing that I noticed is that during my first days of footbiking my trajectory seemed a bit zigzagging, probably because of the kicking move itself. With a little training now I can go straight like on a bike. Anyway, it is something to pay attention to, if there are cars around.
Where there are no pedestrians and on suburban roads, going on sidewalks comes natural especially if they are large. Going up and down the sidewalks' steps is very easy, just make a step instead of a kick with your kicking leg and lift the front wheel a little (paying attention to the bottom of the frame, obviously).

The overall impression on using a footbike in an urban environment is that it's much slower than a bike, especially in a city like the one where I live, but it's way more manoeuvrable where roads become narrow and crouded. It becomes like walking, but faster.
Maybe if you think you'll use it mainly on paved roads, the Trail model is not the best, as the front suspension absorbs some power (exactly as mountain bikes compared to road bikes).
Anyway, footbiking gives a great workout also if you use it in the city AND it's a lot of fun.

No comments: