Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Top Seven Mistakes of Beginning Inline Skaters

By Robert (also does lots of idiotic things!) Burnson

It looks so easy. ... You just put one foot in front of the other and roll. Just like walking. ... Yeah, right. But remember, you weren't born walking. You had to learn how and in the process you spent a considerable amount of time on your backside. ... Learning to skate isn't quite as difficult. But to save your backside -- and a lot of other sensitive areas (like your ego) -- avoid these common mistakes of beginning inline skaters:

1) Wearing Skates That Don't Fit

So you are going to use Uncle Bob's size-12 skates on your first day out on inline skates? ... Forget about it! You wear a size eight. You'll be swimming in those monsters. You'll be so wobbly you'll have trouble standing, let alone skating. Aside from that, you'll develop blisters and spend most of your time on your backside. Do yourself a favor: Start with skates that fit!

More: Start With the Right Skates

2) Going Down Hill Without a Prayer

Going down hill is such fun! All you do is point your skates in the right direction and roll. Whee! ... Whee! ... Kaboom! ... Lots of beautiful skating relationships have been destroyed by rushing into hills too quickly. New skaters must practice hill abstinence. Just say no — to hills!

More: Down Hill Danger

3) Skating Without Protection

Would you have a serious conversation with a philosophy major without reading Foucault? Not without a shotgun! So don't even think about hitting the pavement without your protective gear. It will save you lots of skin and might even save your life.

More: Wear Protection or Mr. Bumpy Will Chomp You!

4) Too Fast Skates

Big wheels, low-cut boots ... sure are sexy. But are you out of your mind!

More: Buying Your First Skates

5) Marathoning on Your First Day

Yeah, yeah. You're a champion. Right. I've heard the song. ... But don't think that you are going to skate 26 miles on your first day out. ... Unless of course, you like spending quality time with Mr. Pain!

More: How Can You Tell If You're Ready?

6) Being a Trail Bozo

There are rules of the road -- even on the bike trail. Ignore them and you are likely to get flattened --- or turn an innocent Dachshund into bratwurst. Know the rules before you hit the trail!

More: On Your Left ... A Trail Guide

7) Becoming an Unstoppable Object

You sure look pretty standing there in your shiny new skates. But once you start rolling, you're going to look like Gumby unless you know how to stop. ... And I don't mean rolling to a stop as that Hummer violates the crosswalk. I mean stopping on a dime -- or some approximation. Short-lived skaters roll to a stop. Long-lived skaters make their brakes squeal. Burn rubber, baby!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Learning to skate backwards

The easiest way to start, is _slowly_. Build up in stages.

Moving in this ==> direction

Stage one:

A simple roll backwards on flat ground, letting skates go apart, then back to the middle. Don't try and lift feet off the ground at any time.
                  ___..___                ___..___
Right foot ---'''' ````---..---'''' ````---..

Left foot ---....___ ___....---'`---....___ ___....---'`
`' `'

Stage two:

Keep one foot steady (if you are better at right-handed cross-overs, this should probably be your left foot) and do more exaggerated shorter movements with the other foot. Push the foot out quite hard (with toe pointing inwards slightly) while putting most weight on the other foot. I find it easier to use the front wheels on my pushing foot. When pulling the foot back in, do not try to lift it, just pull it in slowly. Don't try to create motion from the inward pull. Motion should be from the out-push only.
                 ,--...         ,--...          ,--...
Right foot ,' ```--...,' ```--...,' ```--...

left foot -----------------------------------------------

Stage three:

Swap feet over.

Stage four:

Push with alternate feet.
                 ,--...                      ,--...
Right foot ,' ```--...............,' ```--.............

Left foot ''''''````````. ___--'''''''''```````. ___--
`--''' `--'''

Stage five:

Move feet at the same time
                 ,--...          ,--...          ,--...
Right foot ,' ```--...,' ```--...,' ```--...,

Left foot ___--''`. ___--''`. ___--''`. ___
' `--''' `--''' `--'''

Stage six:

This is where you start trying hills, corners, crossovers, stairs, or whatever else takes you fancy.

Skating in London's Royal Parks

St. James and Green Park:

    No skating is allowed at all in St. James or Green Park, as the paths are considered too narrow and too heavily used.

Regents Park:

  • Skating is allowed until 09:00 hrs on the footpaths, with the exception of the Avenue Gardens, and Queen Mary's Gardens, where it is prohibited at all times.
  • Skating is allowed from 1800hrs until the park closes on the Broadwalk between the North Gate & Chester Road on a track designated and marked for the purpose.

Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens:

  • Skating allowed on part of the Broadwalk, Mount Walk, along part of the North side of the Serpentine, Rotten Row (with bikes), and bike path from Diana statue by Queen Elizabeth Gate, to Cumberland Gate, and the Albert Memorial Road (with bikes).

The Royal Parks Revised Code of Conduct states that:

Skaters in the Royal Parks should...

  • Skate in single file along cycle tracks
  • Keep to the left on cycle tracks
  • Skate in a manner & at a speed appropriate to the conditions
  • Give way to pedestrians at all times, and take care around the horse rides
  • Indicate in which direction they intend to overtake
  • Give pedestrians a wide berth
  • Keep to the areas marked for the purpose
  • Obey instructions issued by a police officer or a member of the Royal Parks staff

Skaters in the Royal Parks should not...

  • Perform jumps, tricks, dance steps or spins, where there are pedestrians, or at all on cycle tracks
  • Skate backwards anywhere in the Royal Parks
  • Perform slalom, or take part in hockey or other games, except in the area set aside for the purpose on the Albert Memorial Road in Kensington Gardens
  • Exceed a speed of 15mph at any time
  • Hold on to a moving vehicle

If you want somewhere indoors in London, check out the Skating in the Park website.