Skate parks aren’t just for skateboards anymore. Have you noticed the scooter crew hitting the concrete slopes and pulling off some amazing tricks? If your little daredevil is ready to give this exciting sport a try, we’ve got the inside scoop on the sport as well as where to buy and how to build pro scooters, tips and tricks and the best places to shred around Seattle.

scooter-razor

photo: John Mitchell

Pro Scootering 101
Before your little daredevil can try some killer tricks, he or she will need a pro scooter (hint: it’s lighter and more flexible than a regular scooter and specially designed to allow for cool aerial maneuvers). And one of the best things about pro scooters is that you can build your own custom ride! All the components are sold separately, so you can put your scooter together piece-by-piece and parts are easy to replace when they wear out. So how do you build a pro scooter? Here’s what you need:

scooter-diagram

photo: Helen Walker Green

Deck and Bars
The most important parts of a scooter are the deck and bars which are really going to affect your kiddo’s riding style and the ease with which he or she can do tricks. Most decks are made out of aluminum (they’re light weight) and great for performing stunts. A deck includes the flat part of the scooter the rider stands on and the “neck” of the scooter (where the bars are inserted). Hint: scooter bars are made out of either chromoly steel or aluminum. Aluminum bars are the lightest so they make performing tricks easier, but they’re also easier to break; steel bars are heavier and better for beginners.

scooter-wheel

photo: Helen Walker Green

Wheels, Bearings & Forks. Oh My!
Of course, you gotta have wheels to tear up the park! And you’ll need bearings to keep those wheels spinning smoothly. Pro scooter wheels come in three different sizes (100mm, 110mm and 125mm). The bigger the wheels, the faster you’ll go. The fork holds the front wheel onto the scooter and lets the rider steer. And wheels are a fun way to change the look of your scooter. They come in all kinds of cool designs!

scooter-shop

photo: Helen Walker Green

Headset and Clamp
It’s really important to set up the headset properly because it holds the scooter’s fork, deck and bars together. If a headset is well maintained it will give your kiddo a smooth and reliable ride. The clamp provides compression—pushing the headset down onto the fork. You can get double, triple or quad bolt clamps. Hint: the more bolts in the clamp, the more compression and better handling.

scooter-grip-tape

photo: Helen Walker Green

Grip Tape
Just like skateboards, scooters need grip tape too because it helps give young riders stability on their scooters. It’s also the cheapest and funnest scooter accessory! Available between $4 and $10 with some awesome graphics, it’s an easy way to customize your ride.

scooter-wheels

photo: Helen Walker Green

Brakes
Scooter brakes aren’t just for stopping in an emergency, they’re for doing tricks too! Freestyle scooters have flex brakes that make the ride smoother and tricks easier.

scooter-decoy-bowl

photo: John Mitchell

Grips and Bar Ends
Grips are the soft handlebar covers, just like on a bike. The bar ends go into the end of the handle bars and any scooter rider will tell you that brand new grips look cool, but aren’t comfortable. They’re much better when they’re soft and worn in (a good excuse to get shredding at the park pronto).

scooter-jefferson

photo: Helen Walker Green

Safety Gear
The teenagers and grownups at the skate park often set a bad example by not wearing helmets. Us parents know better and hopefully so do our kids (and we like to think they’ll still be wearing helmets when they’re teenagers – even if we have to hide behind a tree in the park to spy on them). To protect little noggins, a helmet with a multi-impact design is best, like the Triple Eight Brainsaver or the Pro-Tec Classic. We’d recommend knee pads and elbow pads, too.

scooter-mothership

photo: Helen Walker Green

Where to Buy
It’s best to go to a pro scooter shop when your little rider is just starting out. There are two in our area, both owned by scooter riders who are passionate about their sport and want your kid to have a good experience and are happy to share all their scooter know-how. We recommend visiting both and checking out ALL of the scooters. Pro scooters range in price from $200-$400 (and of course, you can spend much more if you want to). Once you’ve been a “scooter parent” for a while, and find yourself spending more and more time at skateparks, you may become somewhat of an expert and have the knowledge to buy parts online and build your own scooters. Scooter dad Steve, from West Seattle, enjoys building scooters for his son so much, he’s on his seventh one!

Mothership
7529 Beverly Blvd., #2,
Everett, Wa 98203
425-903-4440
Online: shopmothership.com
Hours: Mon.-Fri.;11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Pro Scooter Shop
14750 N.E. 95th St., Building 7
Redmond, Wa 98052
425-968-5058
Online: proscootershop.com
Hours: Mon., noon-5 p.m., Tues.-Wed., Closed; Thurs., noon-8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., noon-5 p.m.; Sun., 1 p.m.-4 p.m.

scooter-decoy-razor

photo: John Mitchell

Is Your Scooter Dialed?
Once you’ve got your scooter, you’ve got to keep it dialed. To find out if your scooter is dialed, drop it from a few inches above the ground onto its wheels—if it rattles or makes any noise at all, it needs to be adjusted. Psst… a pro scooter is a precision piece of equipment that works best when all the components are well taken care of and running smoothly.

scooter-closeup

photo: Helen Walker Green

Tricks
There are tons of scooter tricks and some can be learned really quickly—which is awesome for kiddos with little patience. From bri-flips and tail-whips to kickless rewinds and finger whips. The simplest trick is the bunnyhop—you pull up on the bars and jump with your feet to get both wheels off the ground. The manual is a scooter version of a wheelie—lean back and balance on your back wheel, then try to keep riding. Kids will also learn lots of tricks from other scooter riders in the park and pretty soon they’ll be landing double backflips and super willies!

scooter-trick

photo: Helen Walker Green

Best Skateparks for Scooting
The Seattle-area is spoiled for choice when it comes to skateparks. Our Red Tri scooter riders recommend Delridge in West Seattle (super big bowls), Jefferson Park and Lower Woodland Park (Green Lake) but there are tons more. Check out Concrete Disciples for the deets on skateparks worldwide!

Delridge Skatepark – West Seattle
4458 Delridge Way S.W.
Seattle, Wa 98106
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?ID=450

Jefferson Park Skatepark – Beacon Hill
3801 Beacon Ave S.,
Seattle Wa, 98108
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?id=114

Lower Woodland Park Skatepark – Greenlake
5201 Green Lake Way N.
Seattle, Wa 98103
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?ID=292

scooter-air-jump

photo: John Mitchell

Is your kiddo a scooter nut? Tell us his or her favorite tips and tricks in the Comments below!

— Helen Walker Green