Scooter Technique And Renaissance Contrapposto Pose

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Lario Park, again, in Irwindale, CA, on my Xootr scooter to work on my scooter technique, hoping to run into Father Spencer and Carol in the lunch crowd at the trailhead, with no luck.

It’s hot today, in the upper 80’s. No wind

As I set out, I decided to focus on my scooter technique. For the first time ever. What, exactly, am I doing to make it go? And what muscles feel like they’re doing the work?

You’d think that the muscles in the leg with the foot that’s doing the pushing on the pavement would be the ones experiencing fatigue. But I realized that the leg that gets tired after a few scoots is the one I’m standing on. And it hit me that the leg gets tired because I’m in a crouch throughout sequential kicks. Like a prolonged partial deep knee bend. On one leg. Of course it’s going to get tired.

So I modified my scooter technique

Rather than doing a constant partial knee bend on the standing leg while doing multiple scoots on the scooting leg, I tried standing up straight on the standing leg after each scoot with the other leg. Bend. Scoot. Stand. Bend. Scoot. Stand. I found it a lot less fatiguing.

Next, I looked at the foot that was doing the scooting. I’d found myself doing a handful of scoots, then taking it easy for a few seconds, then doing another handful of scoots… sometimes getting up to four bunches of scoots in my usual 20-scoot half-unit.

I wanted to see if there was a way I could do each 20-scoot half-unit at a constant pace. I discovered that if I wasn’t getting tired in the other leg, it was relatively easy as long as I didn’t try to scoot at too rapid a tempo. Sort a of leisurely one-legged walking tempo, gliding along at six or seven mph.

And what about coasting downhill with both feet on the floorboard?

Standing flatfooted on both feet, it turns out, is fatiguing. It’s easier to stand on one foot on a straight leg, with the other leg a little bent, as in a High Renaissance contrapposto pose. And switch back and forth.

Michelangelo’s David, in the Uffizzi Gallery in Firenze.
Michelangelo’s David, in the Uffizzi Gallery in Firenze.

Same pose as that of Michelangelo’s David, in the Uffizzi Gallery in Firenze.

Coasted downhill today in the same pose as that of the cowboy subject in artist Cecile W. Morgan’s 2019 painting
Coasted downhill today in the same pose as that of the cowboy subject in artist Cecile W. Morgan’s 2019 painting

To put it into our contemporary time frame, I coasted downhill today in the same pose as that of the cowboy subject in artist Cecile W. Morgan’s 2019 painting, Contrapposto #2. A California Xootr scooter cowboy! That was me, today.

Don’t forget to check out my website at

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Jonathan Kelley
Jonathan Kelley, 80, was born in Boston, and educated at Exeter and Princeton, then Harvard Medical School, after a year teaching English in Cali, Colombia. He was a Navy anesthesiologist during Viet Nam. He spent the middle decades of his life working in a community hospital in Northern California. Besides his career in medicine, he’s a chef, pianist, and actor in his artistic life. In the kitchen, he specializes in croissants and cooking with coconuts. At the piano, it’s boogie woogie and Joplin rags. As an actor, he’s done fourteen seasons in a Mexican Christmas play in Los Angeles, plus the occasional movie role, as in the soon-to-be-released feature film “Amor en 266 Millas,” where he plays the hippie patriarch of a desert commune in the Antelope Valley. He has two books available on Amazon, “Counting Backwards from 100: My Life as an Anesthesiologist,” and “Short Stories by Jonathan Kelley.” Searching for improved balance and leg strength at age 77, Jonathan came by chance upon a Xootr scooter. Jonathan’s wife is the lovely Puerto Rican actress Gloria Laino. Their mix is like Puerto Rican arroz con gandules served next to New England style cranberry sauce.

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