Self-balancing scooters are all the rage. Many people will be purchasing these scooters this year, and if you are one of those people, you have come to the right place! Today we are going to take a look at how to ride a self balancing scooter aka hoverboard. We are also going to go over some safety precautions that you are going to need to take in order to maintain your safety and the safety of others. Let’s get started, shall we?
The Art of Starting and Stopping
A hoverboard works with our bodies in order to both start and stop. When a rider is just learning how to ride, they are going to need to start by leaning very slightly forward. By moving the body very slowly in a forward motion the scooter will then start to slowly move in the same direction. This may cause you to feel a bit funny at first but with practice, you will be able to drive the scooter at much faster rates of speed, which is always fun!
Now you are going to need to learn how to stop and it is really much simpler than you think. By leaning back you can safely stop a self-balancing scooter. But you are going to have to account for your speed when doing so. If you are going really fast and you move backward quickly chances are you are going to end up on the ground. This can really be dangerous if you land on your head or neck. So make sure you slowly move back in order to safely stop the scooter. Once you have learned how to stop, now you can start having some real fun with your new self-balancing scooter. So why not get out of the house and get some fresh air while enjoying a ride on your new toy?
Now You Can Add Some Speed
Once you have got the hang of starting and stopping you will be able to speed up some. This is the fun part and you will have a blast as you zoom down the side walk. But remember you are going to need to think about safety first. Many areas have set speed limits for all motorized vehicles including scooters. So if you see a speed limit sign, always obey it. It just might keep you from getting a ticket or accidentally hurting yourself or someone else. Speed limit laws are put into place for a good reason; to protect the public.
Always Wear A Helmet When Taking Your Scooter For A Ride
When you are out enjoying your self-balancing scooter make sure to always wear your helmet. If you do happen to have an accident and you fall from your scooter, a helmet will protect you from brain injuries. Also, just like speed limit rules many areas have helmet rules that you are going to need to follow. But even if you are on your own property it is a wise move to wear your helmet.
Tips and Tricks
Start with Safety Gear
- You’ll need the following safety gear before you get on the board. Dr. Emily Dodwell, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, recommends a helmet, knee, elbow and wrist guards. If it’s your first time, use a spotter to help you.
- Always ride in a well-lit area with plenty of room for error. It’s easy to run into people or other objects if you’re riding in a small or cluttered space. Look carefully for sharp objects around you before you begin.
- Manufacturing and shipping can affect calibration. To test yours, lift one wheel and press the foot pad with your hand. Don’t stand on it yet! If the wheel spins and the self balancing scooter does not shake, it’s calibrated, and you are ready to learn how to ride! If the wheel does not spin or the scooter shakes, follow these steps to calibrate it.
- First, place the self-balancing scooter on a flat, level surface. Turn the power off. Press and hold the power button until it beeps. This takes about 5 seconds. When the lights flash, you are ready to ride! The procedure works for all brands.
Know how to step off
- When you’re excited, it’s easy to step on without even thinking about how you’ll get off. Make a plan for stepping off the self balance scooter before you start.
- Step backward to get off the board. This isn’t intuitive, and most injuries happen when riders step forward and fall off the moving board. It’s easy to lose control of the board when you step forward, and it can slip out from under you. When you step backward, the board will stop automatically, and you’ll land safely on your feet.
- Turn the board on before you start. Some boards automatically turn off after a certain period of time, so double-check before starting. When the power is on, the board helps you balance.
- Place one foot on the board. Lean your foot forward and backward to see how the new board responds. Using a spotter to help, place your other foot on the board. It’s normal to tense up as soon as you step on, but the board will be harder to balance. Instead, think of yourself walking up the stairs and relax. Breathe, relax your shoulders, and just stand on the board. There’s no need to move yet.
- Center your feet on the scooter with the widest possible stance. Placing your feet as close to the wheels as possible will improve your balance and control. Keep your weight equally between your heels and toes to prevent the board from tipping to the front or back.
- Good posture is essential. Don’t bend your knees, but avoid hyper-extending or locking them. Tuck your hips directly under your spine and stand up straight. Activate your core while standing on the board.
Don’t look down!
- Focus your gaze straight ahead, even while stepping on to the board. It’s tempting to look at your feet, especially when you’re concentrating on proper placement. However, looking down at your feet throws off your posture and causes problems when the board moves. Instead, look straight ahead at your intended target. Your body will naturally move with your eyes, and the self-balancing scooter will glide along smoothly.
Lean forward slowly
- Start by just thinking about moving forward. It’s natural to lean in the direction you want to go, and just a slight weight shift toward the front of the self-balancing scooter will move it.
- If the self-balancing scooter isn’t moving yet, slowly and carefully lean forward until the hoverboard begins to move. Don’t worry if you move in circles at first. The board will turn when you lean toward one side or the other, so finding the perfect balance to go straight takes a little practice. Continue using a spotter until you get the hang of it.
- To turn left, push your right toe forward slightly. Push forward with your left toe to turn right. After a bit of practice, it will seem like the board knows where you want to go before you do!
- For a sharper turn, pull back with the opposite foot just a little. For example, if you want to make a sharp left turn, push forward with your right toe while pulling back your left toe. With practice, you’ll even be able to spin in place.
- The hoverboard will move backward, too. Make sure the space behind you is clear. Lean back just a little. The board will move in the direction you lean. Remember, just a slight shift in weight is all it takes to move the board.
- Experts recommend practicing in laps, so you only turn one way at first. When you feel comfortable, try practicing a lap in one direction and the next one in the opposite direction.
- Stand straight up and down until the board slows and stops. Then, simply reverse what you did to get on the board. Shift your weight to your dominant foot and step off with the other foot. Use your core for control.
- Getting on and off the board is the hardest part. Practice this with a spotter until you are very comfortable. Don’t jump off the board.
General Safety Tips
- Some of the battery packs on the early hoverboard models made the news when they caught on fire. Fortunately, Underwriters Laboratories now certifies hoverboards for safety. Look for the UL standard 2272 certificate on your new hoverboard. Boards with this certificate use high-quality materials and are completely safe.
How fast does a self-balancing scooter go?
- Depending on the brand, maximum speeds range from 6 to 12 miles per hour. Check the maximum speed on your hoverboard before you start. Boards with higher maximum speeds require more space when you’re learning to ride.
Riding at night
- While hoverboards do have lights, they are close to the ground and used more for signaling than helping you see in the dark. If you ride at night, wear light colors and reflectors like you would on a bike. Consider using a headlamp to help you see clearly. Don’t ride at night until you’re very comfortable on your board.
Boards are safer than ever, but it still takes some practice to master the art. Use a friend or parent as a spotter and take lots of time to practice getting on and off the board. Use these tips and tricks for a fun, safe ride. Most riders learn quickly and can soon enjoy their hoverboards at home, in the park, or even to ride to work.