Kick Scooter: Three Lessons Learned So Far
As mentioned in an earlier post, I recently started riding a kick scooter. Nothing fancy, just an ordinary kids' scooter I found when de-cluttering out garden shed. Fortunately my - often clumsy - attempts to master the art of riding a scooter coincided with the period in which I am testing the OttoBock Genius X3. This gives me the opportunity to use various pre-programmed modes for the knee and see which one works best for me in a variety of different terrains. And while I haven’t spent a lot of time on the scooter yet, it’s time for sharing some of my initial lessons.
Things To Be Aware Of
Small wheels are a recipe for disaster
As with most cheap kick scooter, the one I am currently using has rather small wheels. That works fine-ish on even surfaces but is a real bummer when it comes to gravel roads, muddy paths or uneven ground. And I am not talking demanding off-road rides. I tried riding on pretty decent paths through rural Herefordshire and reached the limits of the wheels pretty quickly.
So, lesson no. 1: Go for bigger wheels. 20“ at least. Maybe even 24“ or 262 for the front wheel.
Handlebar breaks are a good idea
The scooter I use at the moment has no real breaks. You can slow it down by using your foot to push the rear mudguard down onto the wheel. Not ideal but I guess that works fine for people with two legs. It does not work for me. So I basically used two ways of bringing the scooter to a halt. Either using the leg that pushes me forward also to slow me down. By sliding over the ground until I stop. As I use my prosthetic leg for this it does not feel right. Or by just jumping off at full speed. Again, not ideal and while it’s great fun it does not seem the best way to master the art of stopping your scooter.
So, lesson no. 2: Get a scooter with two handle-bar breaks/breaks that are operated by hand. This is even more important when you plan to ride on dirt tracks and uneven ground.
Some scooters offer this option - either V-breaks or disk breaks.
A good socket fit is essential
As some of you know I have been facing numerous challenges with an ill-fitting socket for the last five or so years. I don’t wanna go into the details about that what and why and why haven’t you done more about it. But in essence, the fit of the socket is not tight enough so I often have the feeling the prosthesis is slipping off. Many of you might be familiar with the pistoling of an ill-fitting socket. While this is annoying, it is less of a problem when I am active out in the hills. When I walk, each new step pushes the residual limb back into the socket. The thing with riding a push bike is that the leg is active enough so that the socket wiggles itself loose with every step I do pushing me forward without the necessary downward force pushing the stump back into the socket.
So, lesson no. 3: - and this is obviously not limited to riding a kick scooter: Make sure you have a well-fitting socket. If not, place additional padding into the socket or add
additional seal-in rings/socks to compensate for the ill fit.
Okay, so much for now. I will see that I can test-ride a few other models - with bigger wheels and breaks. And I will try to link up with other amputees who have more experience riding kick
scooters, asking them to share their tips and tricks.
Post by Bjoern Eser. Bjoern is the founder of The Active Amputee.
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