It’s different than cycling. Obviously. The challenge, after cycling the world 5 years, had vanished and I searched for a new demanding way of transport and travel. Because our society allows me, I discovered something so amusing as the kickbike… and I knew instantly, intuitively, that I would love it.
For me, being Dutch, a bicycle is just a way of transport. It brings you from A to B and where ever one needs to be in relative distance.
A bicycle, in general, can easily be boring. Not so when you take it to a next level and cycle the world. Or, as Geo did, on a single speed Paraguayan bicycle over tracks fine as beach sand. Therefor, a bicycle either taken to cover enormous distances or trying to achieve the impossible, is great. Otherwise, I find it rather dull.
So, the idea of a kickbike was born. Inspired by another woman, I knew I would love this. But I didn’t want to start such a new venture right before we would go on a motorbike tour through South America. Instead, we started it right after our motorbike tour, when we were tired of riding 150cc powerful motorbike. That was a mistake.
I advice you to start kickbiking when you have plenty of time to prepare and when you are able to build up slowly the exercise of kicking a vehicle, especially when the kickbike is loaded.
We wanted to choose between a Yedoo and a Kickbike. Yedoo is Czech made and Kickbike is from Finland. We choose Kickbike since we ordered it in the USA, which has similar prices to Europe. Yedoo is much more expensive in the USA.
After continuously cycling for 5 years around the world, after not being interested in long journeys on a bicycle but rather shorter trips with more intensity, a kickbike seemed to fit the request. For me, at this point, a kickbike is more fun than sitting on a bicycle and simply spin the pedals. Kickbiking has the entire body more actively involved than a bicycle and with only one gear -your own leg capacity- it goes slower. The fun sits in the smallness of the vehicle, the narrowness of the frame and the swiftness one is able to make turns (especially without front panniers, that is). Its a sort of silly and naughty mode of transport, more for a child than for a grown-up.
I like the possibility that when the grade gets too steep -on a kickbike the slightest grade is immediately felt- one stops kicking and walks. Getting on and off the board is a natural movement, as the feet are very near the ground when standing on the board.
That there are no pedals hitting your calves makes walking a pleasure. For me, not sitting on a saddle is a relief too. But of course, long distances such as with a bicycle are not possible, or at least a serious endeavor.
Fully packed our average speed was 11 kilometers per hour and we made about 20 to 30 kilometer a day. Though, when I kickbike on my own I am somehow much more determined, making up to 65 kilometer with an average of 13 so far. I guess practice helps and of course, my set up is lighter. However, this is still subject to change until I have found the best possible way of packing.
When we started, kickbiking gave me a light ache in all the joints. It brought me a light muscle pain in the calves and I did feel the balls of my feet. I had a general stiffness in my elbows and the back was to be felt as well. It all feels as if I did some sport, perhaps like swimming or aerobics for hours on end. Though, we kick on average 2 to 3 hours, it feels as mild exercising for a full day. Untrained bodies are immediately able to kickbike. After being used to the kickbike, you will most probably only feel a light ache in the upper legs and a slight sensitivity in the lower part of the feet.
A kickbike does not allow for much gear to pack. In our hurriedly preparations -we had three days to prepare from assembling to buy all the gear- Geo managed to attach a rack above the back wheel, but it is not connected to the frame so it can handle only a little bit of weight (about 4 kilograms).
On a kickbike you will inevitably attract a lot of attention. People might smirk, some are figuring out where the pedals exactly are, staring so hard as if they would materialize. Others will stop as they think you are having a flat tire, why otherwise would you walk? People in the USA were all positively outing their surprise, as Americans are known for their enthusiasm. Some yelled ‘I love your bicycle! Sick!’ Germans will usually just look and think their own thoughts, unable to read. So, one must not be compelled by attention.
In short, kickbiking is a perfect in between movement for cycling and walking. Walking with a fully packed kickbike, and pushing it over hills, is easier than with a bicycle, yet more cumbersome as would you go on a through-hike and ultralight backpack set-up.