Riding an electric kick scooter puts convenience, independence, and fun into commuting. I got to experience this firsthand when testing the Mercane WideWheel Pro.
As a regular Top Bikes Philippines contributor, I get try out different motorcycles that are introduced to the market. But mind you, this tiny road animal is different and very challenging to get used to. Learning to ride an e-kick scooter comes with a little fear, especially if you have no background in riding regular scooters. Still, anyone can learn to ride it in the course of a few hours.
Here are a few tips and tricks I picked up while getting comfortable with this electric-powered two-wheeler for the first time.
1) Wear safety gear and grippy shoes.
Don’t be fooled by size or look—electric kick scooters are serious machines. Make every ride a safe one, and wear (at the very least) a helmet and a pair of gloves. Strap on a pair of knee and elbow pads for even more protection. You may not look stylish, but you’ll be protected when you fall, so you can rack up kilometers instead of injuries.
Another gear tip: Wear shoes with great traction. Shoes with vulcanized rubber soles are perfect. If you must wear your fashionista kicks (yes, style points), give the soles a good scuff. Wearing slippery footwear while riding a scooter makes you accident-prone.
2) Adjust the controls to you, not the other way around.
You shouldn’t struggle to control the brakes or contort your fingers to go faster. Two of the controls you need to master right away are the brake levers and the throttle. Your hands should rest naturally over these controls so that you can react quickly to new situations and avoid wrist pain or muscle fatigue.
‘Natural’ for me meant that my wrist had to be as straight as possible whether I slowed down or sped up. To get to that point, I adjusted the brake levers and the throttle so that they were perpendicular to the ground while I stood on the scooter. Taller riders will probably have to tilt their controls down to get the same wrist ergonomics.
3) Find your ‘footing.’
Riding a scooter is just putting one foot in front of another, right? Yeah, kinda. Before you ride, find out which foot stance that is. Scooter riders (and skateboarders and surfers) usually prefer a leading or front foot. People who like having their left foot forward have a ‘regular‘ stance, while people who ride with their right foot forward have a ‘goofy’ stance. Try out both. Trust me, you’ll know right away which stance feels more awkward.
And if they feel about the same, congratulations—you’re now the envy of many.
4) Use your feet to turn.
It’s obvious: You turn scooters with the handlebar. But what I discovered is that your feet can do just as much steering as your hands.
Drawing from motorcycling experience like I am? Think of your feet as doing the work your hips and knees do on the saddle; they keep you balanced and assist in turning. Now for a small experiment: Get going on your scoot. Shift your weight toward your toes, then shift it to your heels. You’ll find that you can turn in the direction you’re leaning even if you don’t move the handlebar.
5) Go easy on the throttle.
From cars to scooters, electric-powered vehicles are known for their instant torque. Feeling it for the first time is both scary and exciting.
Since we’re beginners here, take the time to get used to the throttle. Get on your e-kick scooter and slowly activate your thumb or trigger throttle. Feel how differently the motor reacts when you apply gradual versus sudden pressure. Memorize how to reach that point of complete control, that magic space where the scooter responds exactly how you want it to.
7) Practice makes perfect
Like playing an instrument, learning how to handle an electric kick scooter takes time and effort. As a beginner, forget about how awkward you look and feel. Practice turning, braking, and kicking off. And when you’re completely stumped on what to do, turn to Google for help (I certainly did).
Keep your speed slow at first. Once you get better at handling, practice rolling on wet ground, small twigs, and wide cracks. It’s uncomfortable, but you’ll thank your muscle memory when these obstacles come up in your rides.
I’ve also found out that many motorcycling riding principles apply to electric kick scooters. Countersteering to turn, looking where you want to go, leaning forward to accelerate, and shifting your weight back while braking all work just as well on electric kick scooters as they do on motorcycles.
With enough practice, you’ll soon be flowing through streets with your new skills and scooter. To do this without running into trouble, stay informed about the Land Transportation Office’s new rules and regulations for e-kick scooters to be released soon.