Here's my 2 cents on this topic (following each quote)...
>I switch legs, but still not very good at switching while riding, need to stop and switch every half block or so. Just keep practicing with other leg.
I switch whenever I feel like it; if one leg gets tired or if I'm leaning one way or the other, use the leg that is on the inside of the lean.
>Still have my A5, but always interested why people like xootr better, and whether worth an upgrade. Still a fan of the big A5 wheels in Brooklyn/Greenpoint.
The A5 wheels are 8 inches in diameter, The Xootr wheels are 7 inches in diameter. The radial difference is only a half an inch and that's not enough to make a big difference.
>I think the wider deck you got would be easier with 2 feet side by side, or the foot switch. Front brakes still make me nervous.
2 feet side by side is inherently unstable; once you try to kick. Instead, stand with one foot infront of the other; you can do that with a Xootr, but not with an A5.
Front brakes are awesome and there is no tendency to do an "endo" with them. If you had a Xootr, you would know and it's too bad A5's don't offer them.
>I often want to lift one hand up to scratch my nose or something, but am afraid to.
A5's steering mechanism does not have any caster, so it is inherently unsafe to ride with one hand. I ride with one hand on a Xootr that has a castered front wheel on a regular basis but only for short distances and only on visibly straight and smooth areas. I'm not stupid and don't have a deathwish.
>I realized very quickly that the vibrations are not simply a minor nuisance but actually quite painful. I tried an assortment of gloves but they did not work very well.
If vibrations are painful, there are 2 reasons why. The first is because you are riding over the rough parts of the sidewalk, so it may seem simple, but just steer toward the smoother areas. And the second is, when the cracks are unavoidable, is to simply hop over the cracks with the front wheel. That is, pull a small wheelie as needed and you will reduce your vibrations greatly. Btw, the back wheel does not impart vibrations to your handlebars; only the front wheel does.
Instead of a glove, I changed my Xootr grip to a BMX grip and have been vibration free and don't need to wear a glove. The only time I did wear a glove, it was freezing cold and while my hands didn't freeze, I did get blisters on my palms.
>I also noticed that my stationary leg, in my case my right one, was becoming strained after a while. Based on testimonials, it seemed important to alternate which leg
>you kick with. I found that this was much easier said than done. When I switched feet, I felt very unstable and could not really scoot very well at all. I ended up giving up
>and staying with my right foot as the stationary one the whole time. This made my right leg very tired. Is it normal for switching to be very awkward in the beginning? I
>would be interested in hearing how others got past this.
It is normal to be awkward in the beginning, but you should not give up and should switch feet on a regular basis. Try practicing on a flat and smooth parking lot, switching feet on EVERY kick, one after the other until you feel comfortable with both feet kicking and standing alternately. You don't have to suffer a stationary and sore foot.
>I agree that your hands will feel better as you gain confidence and develop a more loose and relaxed grip.
I disagree. I think it is counter productive to have a loose an relaxed grip if you want to skip the cracks with wheelies and if you do wheelies, you won't feel the vibrations anyway, so you don't need to have a relaxed and loose grip in the first place. Also, a relaxed and loose grip is just asking to take a fall, since if you encounter a larger crack than anticipated, you might lose that grip and without a firm grasp, you WILL FALL; I guarantee it.
On a final note, I find that after 12 years of riding many Xootrs, I constantly scan about 20 feet ahead of where I'm going and then shift my vision along the ground back to immediately ahead of me and then back ahead 20 feet. By doing this on a constant basis, you can monitor the smoothest path to take, while avoiding any pedestrians, fire hydrants, trees, etc. Then when you add small wheelies when needed, you will surely be the George Jetson that you want to be.