Scooter? That’s something for children! Matthias Stanke encounters this attitude more often in men who accompany their wives to his shop in Celle, about 45 kilometers north-east of Hanover. The shop is appropriately named “Kick Scooter Love”; and Stanke offers more than 30 scooter models for adults. “Many men come in with a smug smile,” says Stanke. “When you see how your wife moves quickly and safely after the first trial rounds on the scooter, you want to try it out yourself and get a taste for it.”
This morning he advises Maria-Elisabeth Schmidt, who came to Celle with her sister from Wolfenbüttel, 70 kilometers away – scooter shops are still a rarity in the country. Schmidt is looking for an alternative to cycling because her shoulders and neck always hurt when cycling. After a good hour-long lecture with information such as “scooters must always use the pedestrian path”, the practical part begins. Put your foot on the step in front of you, start with your strong leg while gaining momentum and alternate regularly with the other leg, bend your upper body forward while driving – some of the instructions that Schmidt heeded when trying out different models. Salesman Stanke observes the customer carefully – and gives tips: “You can swing your free leg further back and pull your knee higher forwards to get more momentum.”
Training for the core muscles
After some time, Schmidt, who is interested in scooters, has specific questions: “Can’t you raise the handlebars?” She wants to know. “No, it is set at the standard height,” replies Stanke and adds: “You have to train your core muscles, then you won’t have any problems preventing it.” Finally, Schmidt is satisfied with the third model. It’s made of steel and slightly heavier than the first two. “It doesn’t jerk as much when driving, I find that very pleasant,” she says and decides to buy it. The steel scooter costs 380 euros. The other models are significantly more expensive.
Kick scooters for adults – these are models with a wheel size of at least 16 inches that do not have a motor. Most of the time the front wheel is slightly larger than the rear wheel. The lower the footboard is attached, the less stress is placed on the hips. “Air-filled tires are better for the joints than hard tires,” says Stanke. Aluminum scooters are lighter, while steel scooters are more resilient when riding. And in contrast to most aluminum models, they are also available as folding scooters. Hand brakes for the front and rear wheels are attached to the left and right of the approximately one meter high handlebars. Luggage can be attached to the handlebars using all kinds of accessories. Stanke: “Most of my customers are 50 years and older, have physical disabilities and want to do something for exercise.”
Henrik Behrens is professionally involved with this group of people. The occupational therapist from Peine often treats people after a stroke and also uses scooters. “It always depends on the individual case. A certain degree of stability and coordination skills must be available,” says Behrens, who has already recommended the purchase to many patients. The scooter is a great training device to strengthen the leg muscles and promote coordination. The scooter can also be helpful for endurance training, depression and the onset of back pain. “It can also be an alternative to jogging if you have problems with your joints,” he says. The movements on the scooter are easy on the joints.
Back pain is no longer an issue
Martha Priesemann also switched to a scooter three years ago. Severe pain in the shoulder and neck caused problems for the 68-year-old when cycling. With the pedal car, these have now disappeared. “The back has to work a lot more on the scooter than on the bike, the body becomes more mobile,” says the woman from Sehnde near Hanover. Not only does she feel more agile, but also more mobile. She says she can take her 16-inch scooter with her on the S-Bahn for free. “It is much easier to carry in the train stations than a bicycle. I recently took the train to the Deister and the almost 40 kilometers back on a scooter.”
She covers a good 4,000 scooter kilometers a year. The most important thing when riding a scooter is changing both legs, she says. During the journey, you have to constantly change your standing and swinging leg so as not to overload one side – the 68-year-old Priesemann doesn’t have any problems with that: “It’s like dancing Cha-Cha-Cha, you turn one foot on it Brett and the others out. “
She reports on other advantages of using a scooter: Because she travels a little slower on a scooter than on a bicycle, she gets more of the environment and nature. Driving on the pedestrian path is also more relaxed, since you don’t have to use the street like you used to when there are no cycle paths. And when it rains, you don’t get as wet as you do on a bike thanks to the upright position. The scooter is low-maintenance and hardly in need of repairs. And then the scooter can easily be used by family members or friends without having to readjust a saddle. Just on and go! She has meanwhile also convinced her husband of these advantages, with whom she likes to go on long excursions through nature – each on his own scooter.
Controversial topic of e-scooters
There are also variants of scooters available: A kickboard, for example, has two wheels at the front and one wheel at the back, both of which are usually much smaller than a scooter. The handlebar does not end in a crossbar, but a round knob. This combination of scooter and skateboard is also controlled by shifting body weight. The situation is similar with the so-called stunt scooters: They have very small wheels. And they are mainly used by young people as sports equipment, for example for jumps in skate parks.
As much as users like Martha Priesemann praise their scooters, the mood changes abruptly when it comes to one topic: e-scooters. The small electrically powered scooters have been on the road in more and more cities for a little over two years; Rental companies like Tier, Lime, Dott or Voi had hoped for a huge market and many municipalities were almost overwhelmed with their vehicles. “I find it absurd that they are being praised as the ultimate in transport, with which you can cover the last mile,” complains Priesemann. “These parts block the footpaths. They are not climate-neutral, but use electricity. And they have to be collected in vans, which is environmentally harmful.” All this effort is unnecessary. “If you have to hire a scooter, then it should be,” she says. But without an engine. There are now also classic scooters with motor support, for example for hilly landscapes.
An overview of rental companies and dealers can be found at www.tretroller-magazin.de. However, you have to expect a certain waiting time for many models at the moment – many components are made in China, and deliveries from there often arrive late.