Thoughts and experiences on Footbiking?

Opinions on footbikes as a training tool?

  • Great, just like cycling

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    4

PaulAtreides

Triple-Digit Post Count
Lately, I've been very interested in getting a good footbike for everyday use in the city (instead of public transport for 0.5km - 6km distances). I'm looking to buy a model like this

Why not just buy a bike?
- In Switzerland (where I live), a footbiker is legally a "pedestrian holding a toy" which has huge advantages over bikes in terms of legally available routes, plus significantly lower chance of being injured by motorized vehicles. It's also mountable and dismountable within a split second.
- I have a form of Dyslexia combined with ADHD (not joking here) which for some reason causes me to fall off bikes all the time, even after years of everyday practice, so I gave up on that. I know this won't be a problem with footbikes, because as a kid I used to have a 2-wheel-kickboard on which I could ride and do all kinds of stunts without ever falling, pretty much all day, every day and I loved it.
- Fewer moving parts and fewer parts in general, therefore cheaper buying price, lower maintenance and tuning costs compared to a bike.

Opinions on footbikes as a training tool and sport?
Only last week did I discover that there is a competitive footbiking scene, but somehow I can't find a lot of information on training methods and world championship videos pop up every now and then with almost no views, It's either a tiny niche or demographic that doesn't use the internet all that often (senior citizens?).

So my question is, what are your opinions and experiences on footbikes?
As a training tool and in general
 

PaulAtreides

Triple-Digit Post Count
As for my own opinion:
I think it might easier on the joints than walking or running. Somehow I can't imagine it to even be possible to go past 70% HRmax, except when dismounting pushing the thing uphill.
If that's correct, it may be alright for 1-2h of easy cardio, but not for interval/VO2max training.

Which in turn, would mean that it's a good form of fun and easy means transportation, but better off seeing it as just that and instead train cardio by more proven methods like Rowing / Viking Warrior conditioning.
 

Oscar

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I don't have ahy experience with these. I do have some experience with skateboards, and they should be somewhat similar exercise wise.

I think you are spot on that I will be difficult to raise your heart rate and keep it high for a long time. But it can work great as easy cardio. Walking is also great as easy cardio, but for commuting it has the disadvantage that it is too slow.

If you like it and you can do it, go for it. Let's say you do 1 hour of footbike 3 times a week, with average HR 120, for 2 years. I'd say you'd be in pretty good shape. you can do your higher intensity some other way.
 

Chrisdavisjr

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
it's a good form of fun and easy means transportation, but better off seeing it as just that and instead train cardio by more proven methods like Rowing / Viking Warrior conditioning.
I think you're right. It does look like fun though; I had a bike like that when I was very young and I had no idea they made them in adult sizes. If I were to ride one of those to work it'd probably get stolen so I think I'll stick with walking everywhere and KB swings to cover my cardio bases.
 

PaulAtreides

Triple-Digit Post Count
I tried it today and I immediately fell in love with it. Bought it and rode it home from zürich to basel (admittedly, most of it was by train, not just gonna ride 75km by kickbike with no experience on a late afternoon ;) ).

I haven't done the metrics yet (heartrates, speeds and all that), but I can already tell
1) It has a very steep learning curve
2) It's way more intense than I thought. With my still imperfect technique, keeping up with bicycles somehow feels a lot like something between kayaking and heavy KB swings, since the stride must more explosive with more speed and you still need to tense the body to exert maximal force into the ground.
3) taking it on the public transport is cumbersome and costly. Use either kickbike or public transport.
4) one disadvantage compared to bikes is that it can get stuck like obamas car did in ireland, not sure how to describe it:
5) mounting and dismounting is so quick and easy, it's barely noticeable, 0.3-0.5 sec. Falling is almost impossible, when it gets serious you will most of the time land on your feet and stop the momentum in a few quick steps.

At least for my level of cardio, I think I can easily go to 85 if not 90+, by kickbike hillsprints, prolonged kickbike sprints in general. Also seems to be fine with my back and sciatic nerve issues (which is why running is not an option for me)

It's also incredibly fun, so on my way home I kind of overdid it, probably went 170-190bpm or something. I will keep you posted with some metrics and might dig out my Gopro to get some POV shots.

Maybe I can get someone in my area with high level cardio to test it and measure his heartrate (wrestlers, marathon runners, cyclists, etc.). I really want to know if it can even bring "pros" to the 80-100% HRmax range, and get the knowledge out there, as I couldn't find much aside from adverts (which I categorically distrust most of the time)


Anyone here with great endurance from the Basel/Lörrach area who wants to take my baby for a ride "in the name of science"?
 
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Bret S.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
If it gets you from A to B, you don't fall off and you get some cardio benefit why not? Training in HR zone 1 or 2 for an extended period is very beneficial. Getting the HR up to 80% or 90% with it is unnecessary and sounds a bit dangerous.
 

Antti

More than 2500 posts
I don't have the experience myself, but if you're a lighter man you can just get a smaller one to use when you'd like to use the public transport as well. I had a friend who used one for his commute and it worked very well, and it was easy to just sling it over the shoulder when not using it. The small ones aren't that expensive either, though I'm not sure of how long they last typically.

Around here some of the hospital staff use footbikes/scooters/whatever they're called.
 

PaulAtreides

Triple-Digit Post Count
If it gets you from A to B, you don't fall off and you get some cardio benefit why not? Training in HR zone 1 or 2 for an extended period is very beneficial. Getting the HR up to 80% or 90% with it is unnecessary and sounds a bit dangerous.
I agree, it is unnecessary and rather dangerous.
The high numbers I mentioned in my last post were more of a "proof of concept" than anything else, to see if the footbike was compatible with interval training protocols as they are often used in concept2 rowing. And "I kind of overdid it, probably went 170-190bpm or something" was just my curiosity&ego getting the better of me, I wanted to see what it's capable of, not something I intend to do on any regular basis for now.

For the last 2 days, I've been testing it for day to day use (drive intuitively, measure via HR belt, take note). 0.75-2h per day, at an average of 150bpm (~75% HRmax), peaks of 190 (uphill, +90% HRmax).
I will have to learn some patience for the uphill parts, as I understand going +90% every day isn't the healthiest thing in the world.

Or maybe my HRmax calculations are off? according to Tanaka's formula, it's 192.6 (208 - 0.7*22years), but I went past 195 when I was doing Kenneth Jay's 36:36 protocol at age 21, and my gut feeling tells me I went 200 and beyond (210-ish ) in BJJ many, many times at ages 19-21. I always felt fine afterwards. Well, I was almost throwing up after what was probably 200-210bpm in BJJ, but I was always able to do it again 1-2 days later, always making progress.
 

offwidth

More than 5000 posts
I agree, it is unnecessary and rather dangerous.
The high numbers I mentioned in my last post were more of a "proof of concept" than anything else, to see if the footbike was compatible with interval training protocols as they are often used in concept2 rowing. And "I kind of overdid it, probably went 170-190bpm or something" was just my curiosity&ego getting the better of me, I wanted to see what it's capable of, not something I intend to do on any regular basis for now.

For the last 2 days, I've been testing it for day to day use (drive intuitively, measure via HR belt, take note). 0.75-2h per day, at an average of 150bpm (~75% HRmax), peaks of 190 (uphill, +90% HRmax).
I will have to learn some patience for the uphill parts, as I understand going +90% every day isn't the healthiest thing in the world.

Or maybe my HRmax calculations are off? according to Tanaka's formula, it's 192.6 (208 - 0.7*22years), but I went past 195 when I was doing Kenneth Jay's 36:36 protocol at age 21, and my gut feeling tells me I went 200 and beyond (210-ish ) in BJJ many, many times at ages 19-21. I always felt fine afterwards. Well, I was almost throwing up after what was probably 200-210bpm in BJJ, but I was always able to do it again 1-2 days later, always making progress.
For many people HRmax 'calculations ' are probably good enough.
But if really want an accurate number you need to test it not calculate it.
 

PaulAtreides

Triple-Digit Post Count
I don't have the experience myself, but if you're a lighter man you can just get a smaller one to use when you'd like to use the public transport as well. I had a friend who used one for his commute and it worked very well, and it was easy to just sling it over the shoulder when not using it. The small ones aren't that expensive either, though I'm not sure of how long they last typically.

Around here some of the hospital staff use footbikes/scooters/whatever they're called.
I tried some of those as well, they're awesome. However they don't come close in terms of stability, speed, efficiency and offroad capabilities. As I intend to use the footbike instead of public transport to save time and money, not combined with public transport, I think I've made the right decision.

I think my last post was kind of confusing: I had to go to a shop in another city to buy it, and I don't own a car, so I had to take it on the train. I might take it on the train for less than 10 times per year to do some downhill "mountain biking", so I can live with that.
 
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