What is footbiking?

What is footbiking?

  • It is an athletic activity using bicycle sized wheels on a sophisticated version of the typical scooter
  • A footbike is propelled with a kicking action similar to a small wheeled scooter or skateboard.
  • Competitively, Footbiking is an international sport.
  • There is a world championship every 2 years
  • Competition is held at sprint distances through marathon distances, with age group and gender divisions.

Why would I use a footbike?

  • Low impact activity yielding the same aerobic benefits as running or cycling. Typically at the same intensity, on level ground, a skilled footbiker will cover endurance running distance at a speed about 60-65% of running speed.
  • Employs one of the largest hip range of motion of any common land endurance sport.
  • If you train with others, a footbiker and a slower cyclist can train together at the same relative intensity and train together.  A fast runner can train with a slower runner on a footbike at the same speed.
  • Train with your dog.  Allow them to run at a higher speed while you kick along on a footbike.  There is a sport called Dog Scootering or Dog Mushing on a scooter.
  • No greasy chain or derailer to maintain.
  • Types of footbikes: racing, recreation, offroad, downhill.  Downhill footbikes often out rent mountain bikes at ski areas offering lift and downhill mountain biking.
  • If you are a runner, you can get the endurance benefits without the impact by periodizing training on a footbike.
  • Just plain fun.

Is footbiking difficult?

  • Balancing is slightly different, since you don’t have a seat between your legs to aid balance.
  • A footbiking difficulty scale might be similar to the same continuum as any bipedal locomotion. Example: stroll-walk-racewalk-jog-run- sprint.  On very steep hills walking the footbike will be more efficient than trying to kick.  A very fit footbiker can footbike up paved grades as steep as 10% or more, faster than they could run under the same circumstances.

What are the fitness benefits one can gain from footbiking?

One can gain the same cardiorespiratory benefits from footbiking as one can gain from any other activity, requiring a similar metabolic effort

Musculoskeletal development will be specific to the motions and resistance involved in propulsion.  Footbiking has one of the largest ranges of motion in the hip joint, of any land endurance sport.

Essentially, footbiking might be described as low impact running.

What kinds of footbiking are there?

I suppose  footbiking could be divided into a few categories that might inclue: dogscootering, road and offroad.   Offroad  might be further subdivided into variations of cross-crosscountry or like cyclocross, and downhill.  Of course, racing opportunities exist in several of these disciplines.

How fast can a footbiker go?

The world footbiking record for 400 meters, on a track, is 42.12 seconds.
The fastest marathons can be kicked around 1:17
High level footbikers can kick a 5 K on a 400 meter track in under 12 minutes.
Off road, think mountain biking speeds compared to road bike speeds.

How many styles of footbikes are there?

The range of footbikes available might be comparable to looking at a spectrum range of bicycles, from road bikes to offroad bikes. Some footbikes are designed for racing on ideal surfaces and at the opposite end is an offroad machine designed for basically downhill only.

What is Offroad or Backcountry Footbiking?

If I had to give a general definition of offroad/backcountry, I would say it is traveling in areas where the road surface is unpaved and rarely accessible by typical motor vehicles.  I suppose that could cover the spectrum from back roads, crushed stone packed bike paths to ski slopes.

The type of footbike one might use will primarily be determined by one factor. What type of terrain will you be rolling over?  Unless we have several types of footbikes, we will probably have to make some modifications to handle less than relatively smooth surfaces.

The easiest modifications for a road footbike for offroad use, or to widen the range of terrain one can ride, will be, tire size and type, and bottom tube protection.

First, I believe all footbikes should have some type of frame tube protection on the bottom.  That could be as simple as adding something to prevent metallic abrasion to, as complex as, adding more mechanical protection to deflect impact when rolling over stones and roots.

Next, would be to assess the type of tire that will be best suited to the terrain one will be riding over.  Factors such as rim to tire compatibility; frame to tire clearance; and type of tread will have to be considered.

The other consideration would be to purchase an all terrain footbike, that would give one the widest range of terrain riding access.