Wheels on my feet

All this week it’s been sunny in the afternoon. From my rather nice window seat at the new offices in Leeds I have wished that I was out skating. So on Saturday I did just that.

It’s been quite a while since I put my in-line skates on and got out into the park. It wasn’t too long before they felt familiar. The first thing that I noticed is how grippy tarmac is compared to the sports halls that I’ve become used to skating in. At derby practice I’ve been working asymmetric plough stops – doing those on tarmac took a little bit of testing to get the balance right, but I managed it with my right leg braking. (Didn’t try left leg – favouritism.)

I skated for about 90 minutes and then went and had tea my mum’s – an unexpected bonus – cottage pie! Then I headed over to Whitcliffe Mount sports centre. A handful of the Dead we’re going to the roller disco! This was a 7pm start and we paid a little extra to stay for both sessions, finished at 9.45. There wasn’t much dancing and as there was a track marked out we may have engaged in some blocking. There was also a line of cones, which is always a draw :-)

Today was practice. We had a new bod start and also a guest from Deathrow Hull! I stepped out of some drills – looking after myself! So, another two hours on wheels, bringing the total this weekend to a little over six hours.

Very pleased!

Blades vs Quads?

So this weekend I trekked to People’s Park carrying two rucksacks – one for by inline skates and one for my quads. As new boy I felt I should really get some practice in. I also wanted to compare them.

The first problem was that the whole of the elevated section where I usually skate was still snow covered. Fortunately the path around the fountain was clear and dry, so I made do with that.

I started off in the quads. This was the second time I’d worn them and they still feel heavy and clunky. Cornering feels ridiculous and they wheels are very noisy on tarmac. I practised t-stops, on my my good side and my bad side! Cross-overs a little, though I didn’t fancy landing in the fountain if I got it wrong. I also tried stopping with the toe stop. I think I’ve sussed the secret of not falling over, but time will tell.

Then I switched to my inline skates. My heels felt very low! I have found this when switching between my Salomons and my Hypnos; my heel feels lower in the latter. However, the mild panic that I’d never cope with switching between the two soon passed and I was gliding about just like normal.

So, are the quads heavier than my inlines? Well yes, but only by a little bit. I weighed them, as you do, when you’re a bit OCD. The quads weigh 1.564kg each, inline skates 1.533kg each. I also weighed my aggressive inline skates. They come in at 2.137kg each! Perhaps they should be my training boot?

And the noisy wheels? This is all to do with wheel hardness. Further reading revealed that my quads have 95A wheels – normal for indoor use. My inline skates have 84A wheels, designed for concrete.

I’m looking forward to my second derby training session, which is tomorrow evening, indoors :-)


Lots of skating

leaves_on_the_lineI’ve managed to get out and skate five days in a row this week (though only for 20 minutes on Tuesday before the ground was too wet). It’s sunny today, so this looks like day six. Yesterday evening was wonderfully autumnal.

I’m also there with the paperwork that will let me teach skating. By 27 September it should be sorted. Hope this weather lasts a few more weeks at least. If you’ve never skated then you should try it – it’s fun!


When we did the ICP course (way back in April now) we were given names of a few companies to try for insurance. Well, having spoken to both, one won’t provide cover, the other seems very friendly.

So I’m recommending Into Sport, based in Leeds. Phone number for them is 0113 232 0704.

Teaching Practice

I spent some time today practising to start to teach skating. I still need to get insurance sorted out, but I’m hoping to afford that this month. I’m a little nervous about teaching and so I’m looking for some guinea pigs who want to learn to skate. I’m offering four free lessons for up to four people. Are you interested? Do you meet these criteria?

  • Can’t skate (rollerblade) but want to learn
  • Live in or around Halifax, or can make it to Peoples Park at the weekend
  • Own a pair of recreational skates (with heel brake), pads and a helmet
  • Are prepared to commit to four one hour sessions
  • Might even practice in between sessions

(I may need to add more criteria, depending on what the insurance policy says.)

If you are interested then please send an email to steven@sk8hx.org.uk

ICP Vision

On Friday evening Mo and I went skating at the YMCA – as usual.

A lady there asked me how to go backwards. Well, what could I say?

When people, usually kids, have asked me that in the past I have recounted to them how I learnt. We have laminate floors at home – good for skating. I learnt “backwards” by pushing myself off the kitchen wall. Then I got so I could push myself back using my left leg as support leg and right foot slightly toe-in. Repeated this with the left foot. Then started to wiggle my bum and eventually got it.

But that was then.

Now I’m ICP qualified I could see so many things that needed to be fixed. I advised her that she practice going forwards before she tried to go backwards. (She kept on trying, as her friends could do it, and she managed a little.)

My perceptions have been changed. I found myself correcting my own mistakes and felt frustrated at being confined to travelling one way round in such a small space. I saw children falling, windmilling their arms as they landed with a bump. I wanted to shout “stop” and show everyone stage 1, just so that they could skate without falling.

I need to get outside more and I need to get some teaching done.

Learning to skate (again)

I’m sort of in the middle of trying to learn how to teach in-line skating to beginners.

I’ve skated myself now for about five years. I love it and I want others to enjoy it too. So last year I considered getting ICP1 level certified. The Inline Certification Program is an international organisation that is “devoted to the development of professional inline skating instructors”. I only considered it last year, but didn’t do it. I am now though, and I tell you something – it’s tough!

After the two hour evaluation session I found that I had loads of bad habits. Now I’m putting in loads of practice trying to fix them. Next weekend I’m down in London again for the course proper – two days of intensive skating.

I’ll post back on how I do…