(Post by Leigh McAdam)
Have you heard about the new winter bicycle? Otherwise called the kick sled. It’s a relatively new sport in Canada but very common in northern Europe. I had the chance last week to try it – on the paths and sidewalks of downtown Saskatoon.
What is a kick sled?
Imagine two skinny runners attached to a handle bar at about waist height. That in essence is a kick sled. The runners have a rubberized spot to rest your foot and keep your balance. Some have seats – an especially useful feature for transporting small children – and it’s possible to harness a dog to the sled and attach a brake.
I tried the version in the photo above. It only weighs about 25 pounds and the handle bar height is easily adjusted. Although there isn’t a built in coffee holder – yet – just hook the handle of your mug over the handlebar and you’re good to go. The mini kid’s version is in the photo below.
I went out with Johnathon Storie from Escape Sports for about 90 minutes. And that was plenty. It’s a workout if you’re moving quickly.
The sport is a little bit like cross country skiing with the leg action and a little like sledding with the glide. What I loved about it was the fact that it was an easy sport to pick up; you can go as fast or as slow as you like and when there’s a downhill you can hop on and just enjoy the ride.
Jonathon and I headed out from the shop onto the city paths and down to the Meewasin Trail which runs along the South Saskatchewan River. There wasn’t another soul in sight – probably because it was so cold – but you heat up quickly kick sledding and I was hot and overdressed in the -25C temperatures. Really.
You don’t need much snow to go kick sledding and if fact if there’s too much snow you can’t go very fast. If there are patchy areas with pavement showing through that doesn’t stop you either. In Norway I’m told they don’t actually scrape the snow off the sidewalks. They allow it to stay so people can easily kick sled to work or take their kids to daycare. What a fantastic way to get around!
Kick sledding offers a fun way to get an aerobic workout. That may be one of the factors at work as Johnathon tells me they have sold a lot more kick sleds this year compared to past years. The sport is still in its infancy in Canada – so it might be awhile before passing motorists ignore you. We received a lot of looks!
I highly recommend trying it. The school kids I saw at the Wintershines Ice Park sure were having a blast and I enjoyed myself immensely. Rent one for an hour and see what you think of it.
Leigh McAdam, Calgary, Canada
Leigh thrives on change and travel provides that. She has explored the world, a grand total of 53 countries (all continents except Antarctica). She is a photographer and travel writer in search of compelling images and stories that capture the essence of her adventures. Currently, she is working on a book featuring the Canadian outdoors. Check out her blog HikeBikeTravel or contact her on Facebook or Twitter.Tweet