A little background on footbiking

Thijza Brouwer of the International Kicksled and Scooter Association has reacted with some heat to the recent Time Magazine article, “Kickbike and Enjoy It.”

A racer in the Netherlands for more than 20 years, she ought to know her history better than the Time writer, who stated that kickbikes (small “k”) were “invented in Finland in the 1990s.” Wrong, twice.

The accepted generic term is “footbikes” and, says Thijza, “We have footbike races over 45 years … in Europe.” (The large-wheeled scooters that now carry the brand names “Footbike,” “Kickbike” and others were a refinement of the ’90’s.) She suggests “Maybe Americans can write to Time magazine about this and they can do a follow up about sport. And not present [it] as a … new invention.”

Here’s some history from the Stepteam Kamperzeedijk (Thijza’s team, which was there at the beginning) website:

In the ‘seventies’ a few Kamperzeedykers started with long distance footbiking, just for fun. Soon the local sportclub SVK organised a ‘real’ footbike race for adults!

After 2 years also ‘scooter freaks’ from other parts of the Netherlands heard of the race and travelled to Kamperzeedijk. They participated and won! The Kamperzeedykers felt beaten and began long, hard, serious training sessions.

But … that much training and all that for just one race? … so SVK started a team which participated also in other footbike events! Since then the Selles-SVK team won many national relay (team) titles and has over 30 individual national champions on its memberslist.

Members of the KickbikeUSA Yahoo! group can see Thijza’s complaint here, if you didn’t already see it in your inbox.

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8 Responses

  1. Wow. I wish I could read the heat. We are not members of that Yahoo group that we didn’t know existed.

    Thijza set us very straight when we were introduced through Gary Schmitt at the WC’s in 2008. We decided after that conversation to align FootbikeUSA.com with the IKSAworld.com Association. They have a great association and work hard to grow and keep it current. She has been very instrumental in helping us keep our vision.

    I would also like to add that Kamperzeedijk is truly heaven on Earth (though Wanganui, New Zealand is a very close second!) even if you are not a footbiker.

    We may catch flack for another few years for naming our scooter, the Footbike, after the sport of footbiking. However, it has been said that the ‘second mouse always gets the cheese’. Even though the Time magazine article was slightly screwed, I mean skewed, it did result in almost 24 new footbikers out kicking around on a Footbike.

  2. Yeah, and if “footbike” is such a popular term, why is Thijza head of the International Kicksled and Scooter Association–Hmm? I’ll bet if the Footbike brand had been named the Quick-Step, this whole business would never have come up.

  3. Kamperzeedijk race was ofcourse not the first race in Europe. I think to be honest our team Kamperzeedijk was also not the first team in Netherlands. But we are the only team which surfived from that area.:) That is why nowerdays we joke to friend or family groups who come and take part in races we joke:…”a doesn’t matter what you do, how fast you are…your team is gone in 5 years anyway…”. (juts to motivate them and getting them to set the step and make their group club in to an official club (with a board).

    Because in Netherlands we have seen so many teams teams disapear during the years. That is way it is essential that footbikers all over the world startup clubs and join in to a national organisation. Otherwise our sport will not survive. Footbiking as transport will allways survive, but sport is something different. It needs a structure.

    so people get kicking. We need the right PR and spread the right info.

  4. IKSA started using Scooter as name, because that is the official name in the dictionary. Thing is almost all languages have a clear name for the footbike, except the English. They have an unclear name for it. And that gives us as sport worldwide not an advantage. That’s why in a newsgroup years ago people were asked what would you feal to be the right name for our sport. And that’s when footbike appeared. Years later the French who designed a brand took the name.

    To change a name for a sport takes time. But in order to brand our sport and make international surving we need a clear name. Scooter is not clear enough it gives a unclear identity. People identify it with motorized.

    The name IKSA is going ot be changed in future. Footbike will appear in it. Maybe not yet in 2010, but waite and see. We have all to gather think about our sport and promote it the right way.

    Embedding a name takes years. But slowy we are getting there. So the footbikes sold in US under the name footbike could be cold J-footbike? Jeff…:) just kidding. See you all in France??? in Lyon? just catch a plane and get there in May. Start of eurocup also welcome to none Euros. And as we Dutch have in our soul. We don’t live in Netherlands, we live on earth. We own everything and nothing. So it’s just global party in Lyon. My English is not that good, but my French is even wurse, but we manage to get there. It is going to be 10 hour trip. Same time to fly from US to Lyon. So what the hack.

    I ame coming end of summer to NY. Maybe we can organise a footbike race there. I ame also member of the NY footbike newsgroup so who knows.

  5. In Australia we currently only have Kickbikes available to us. When registering our national association with the Australian Government we also laboured over the name. It would have been easy for us to call it the Australian Kickbike Association but that would have created confusion with the “business” of selling kickbikes and promoting a specific brand.

    At one stage we even thought of calling it Speed Scooting until we discovered that we would be denied access to mass participation bike rides because they thought we were either motorised or razer type scooters that their insurance would not cover.

    We also wanted to be sure that we aligned ourselves with the international associations around the world.

    After much discussion we opted for Footbike as the generic term and registered the Australian Footbike Association as the name of the national governing body for footbike racing in Australia.

    Thijza, thank you so much for all your efforts in helping to educate us as well as promote our sport worldwide. I don’t think any of us can truly appreciate just how hard you have worked and I would hate to think where the sport would be but for your efforts.

  6. I reread the Time Magazine article and I now think it was somewhat misleading. The first paragraph said that “kickbikes” were invented in Finland in the 1990s. The Kickbike brand footbike/scooter was invented in Finland around 1993, so that statement is true (if you ignore the small “k”).
    But the rest of the article mentions “kickbikes” (one footbike brand) when it should have said “footbikes” (the now commonly accepted generic term).

    It would be great to have one website devoted to providing accurate information about footbiking (and possibly kicksledding also) in the U.S.

    This blog is a good source of information, with links to many websites, groups, blogs devoted to footbiking/kickscootering. The “footbiking in the USA” Facebook group is also a good place for footbikers to talk about footbiking. Another place that has the potential to be a source of info is the USA Footbiking Yahoo group that I started a while ago. I am going to start posting more information there (race/event schedules and results, official and unofficial U.S. records, links, photos, etc.). The address is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/USA_Footbiking

  7. John–
    I had no idea that you started the YahooNewsGroup. And to think of how many times I asked you for tips on how to start FootbikeUSA.
    I am very pleased to see a discussion working towards a theme that results in an Association of Kicksports in North America. It is the only way to secure some legitimate placement into the opportunity of establishing the sport properly in the US. I think that the Gen3 models of the FootbikeBrand will be labeled in a way that emphasizes more of the unit itself…..then followed by…’built by Footbike’… just to let you know that we know, what you already know. However, I am fairly certain the name FastWheeledChariot may be going away from what we want to say.

  8. Cham Soc Da…

    […]A little background on footbiking « SCOOTER-SPORT.com[…]…

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