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Sightseeing on a Kick Scooter - Traveling with Mikey

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 2/4/2011 - www.Littleviews.com ]

Mikey Knackerson kick scooting at the Rock of Gibraltar>>   I met Mikey Knackerson over a year ago by participating in the online NYCKickScooters Group - Yahoo! Sports Group. Through that group, I became convinced that kick scooting had the potential to spice up travel, but just prior to buying one, I broke my arm, delaying my purchase for over a year.

When I did begin sightseeing by kick scooter, I experienced a joy unlike any I've ever experienced while traveling. Likewise, Mikey and his family have experienced the same joy, but they started over a decade before I even knew that adult kick scooters existed!

Mikey, a mechanical engineer who works for the US government, travels all over the US and to many foreign countries, visiting military bases on business, and tropical resorts on family vacations. A few of his destinations have included New York City, Washington, DC, Norfolk, Japan, Hawaii, Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, and the Dominican Republic.

In the beginning, Mikey just used his kick scooter to commute to work. By the time his children were old enough to reach a handlebar, they became enthusiasts, too. Together, as a family, they would scoot around their neighborhood, picking up groceries and other goodies. It took a few years, however, before everyone embraced scooting while on trips.

According to Mikey, in the early days of family travel, he would scoot ahead of the family as they strolled, doing reconnaissance for restaurants, stores, and special sights. Once he located a destination, he'd scoot back and guide the others to it.

Actually, Mikey wasn't all that much of a hustler. While his family trudged along, he'd scoot ahead to a shady spot and relax there while waiting for them to catch up. When they did catch up, he'd scoot ahead and repeat the process.

Well, after several instances of this, his family noticed that he was always relaxed and rested, while they were exhausted from what turned out to be some serious hiking, rather than casual sightseeing.

Mikey Knackerson kick scooting by the Himeji Castle in Japan

By the time the Knackersons visited Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, everyone packed a scooter and off they went sightseeing as a family. Today, they cover more sightseeing territory in a much more relaxed way than they ever could by foot.

Fortunately, traveling with Xootrs is fairly easy. The overall length of a folded Xootr is about 2.5 feet. It fits inside a 32-inch suitcase, as shown below.

Example of an Xootr kick scooter packed in a suitcase

It should be noted that kick scooting is more like walking with an assist, than it is like riding a bike. While both are portable vehicles, kick scooting can be leisurely ridden on sidewalks and pedestrian paths, while biking requires the road. It is illegal in many communities, in fact, to ride a bike on a sidewalk.

Although kick scooters aren't carts, some items can be hung over the handlebar, making it convenient to carry extra items, such as a sweater, snacks, or a small bag of souvenirs. For convenience, I lash things to my handlebar and its pole by using various sizes of STRAPits, which are available on Amazon.

Note that travel by kick scooter also enhances taking pictures because it lets you quickly travel from place to place, providing more views of surrounding scenery.

Mikey Knackerson kick scooting by the Great Buddha of Kamakura in Japan

The Knackerson's, who live in San Diego, visit New York City frequently, as their son, Corbin, attends Graduate School at New York University (NYU). Strange as it may seem, given New York City's crowds, it is a perfect city for kick scooting because its terrain is mostly flat and there are so many interesting sights to see. Serious commuters ride their scooters on busy streets. Tourists, however, wisely stick to sidewalks and paths.

Mikey has personally ridden along the Hudson River, around the New York University campus, and through the Financial District, Battery Park, Chinatown, Chelsea, Times Square, Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center, and Central Park. We all recommend that you try this, too.

He, like many members of the NYCKickScooters Group - Yahoo! Sports Group, has met Dorlene Kaplan, the group's founder, who kick scoots daily in Central Park. For those of you familiar with Rick Steves' tour videos, visiting people like Dorlene is a "nice way to meet the locals."

Dorlene Kaplan and Mikey Knackerson kick scooting in Central Park

To experience the joy of kick scooting, adults should invest in adult-sized kick scooters, such as a Xootr or KickPed. Small women, however, might find inexpensive scooters designed for tweens or teens equally comfortable. Of concern to everyone is floorboard size, chassis strength, handlebar height, the ability to execute alternate-leg kicking, and the ability to rest both legs comfortably on the floorboard when coasting or braking.

Corbin Knackerson in Times Square, New York City

Additional considerations are the distance from the floorboard to the ground, which determines kick comfort and power, and tire width, which determines how a scooter handles on rough surfaces. That said, owners often customize their scooters. Mikey, for example, uses BMX rubber grips, rather than standard Xootr grips, and bicycle-style caliper front brakes.

The best aspect of kick scooting is that scooters can be easily ridden by young children and very senior citizens (into their 90s!), alike. This makes group scooting a delight and provides a lot of entertainment value, whether at home or when traveling.

Photos: Mikey kick scooting at the Rock of Gibraltar, at Himeji Castle in Japan, and at the Great Buddha of Kamakura, also in Japan. Dorlene Kaplan and Marianne Knackerson kick scooting together in Central Park. Corbin Knackerson kick scooting in Times Square. Also shown is a folded Xootr in a suitcase.

Questions? Just ask!

Mikey Knackerson - maknak@yahoo.com
Karen Little - karen@littleviews.com

Article by Karen Little in collaboration with Mikey Knackerson. Photographs courtesy of Mikey Knackerson. First published on www.Littleviews.com on 2/4/2011. All rights reserved.

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