Rollerblading attempt #1

One thing I like about myself is my desire to try new things.  The more new experiences you can work into your life, the better you know yourself and the more closely you are acquainted with the world in which you’re living.

Today I discovered that I can walk on my hands.  Hooray new physical achievements.  This convinced me I had the core muscles in place to try rollerblading, so I went out after work and purchased a pair of rollerblades.  Now I’m committed!  Hooray new outlets for cardio!

Things I learned through this new experience:

1.  Don’t think something is easy just because a five year-old can do it backwards.

2.  Lace up your skates tighter than a redneck’s blue jeans.

3.  Some dogs think that if a human being is moving faster than a slow walk that it must be play-with-the-human time.

4.  Saving money by not investing in knee/elbow pads and a helmet, though frugal, was perhaps not my most erudite moment.

So, all you people with functional inner ears…give me tips for the next time I go out on how to make this enjoyable pastime work a little more smoothly.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Yellow Hatman

    You’re asking the wrong questions. It’s not “How do I keep from falling?” You should be asking “How do I fall properly?”

  • Susi Bocks

    ouch! hope you are ok?

  • xero ankh

    i laughed at this. rollerblading is like breathing for me. i think a lot of it has to do with just moving and keeping on moving. of course, i don’t remember a time when i couldn’t rollerblade, but…

    you can do it! :P next, you should try iceskating or skiing. or snowboarding.

  • Mike Brownstein

    If you’re looking to learn how skate backwards, the best way to start is to do the following:

    1) Start on a smooth surface. Falls will hurt a little less.
    2) Stand on your skates with your knees bent-over your toes.
    3) Make a “C”-shape with your right skate, then do this with your left skate.
    4) Remember that you want to do this controlled so don’t go all-out at first. It takes some getting used to, but it really isn’t all that hard once you do it a few times.

  • Emily Byars

    I could rollerblade much earlier than I could ride a bike (age 6 vs age 23). I’m so used to rollerblades that when I go ice-skating with friends I have to request the hockey skates instead of the “girl” skates.

    My tips:

    1. Learn to fall backwards. Your butt has much better cushioning than your knees or palms of hands.
    1b. Knee pads and wrist guards. I’ve never had much use for elbow pads. I guess you may want a helmet, but definitely the wrist guards above all else.
    2. YES lace your skate up tighter than anything. They’ll help support your ankles and make it easier to stay upright.
    3. WD-40. Give your wheels a liberal squirt. You’ll coast for blocks.
    4. To get used to balancing on your wheels, try the lemon. Wedge your blades outward, push forward, and wedge them inward, making a lemon. It keeps both blades on the pavement at all times, but you’re still moving forward.

    Ummm… I guess that’s it. I’m going to go do laundry now.

  • Emily Byars

    OH ALSO: to stop, I suggest either memorizing where your brake is (lame) or dragging one blade perpendicular to the forward facing one. Hockey stop ftw!

  • Steven

    From my experience-

    1) The grass is your friend. If you feel yourself falling, aim for green. Trust me, it helps.

    2) Wrist guards. Wrist guards are the single most important piece of safety equipment for blading. When you’re on a bike, you can flip over the handlebars so a helmet is more important. On rollerblades, though, your center of gravity shifts, and the natural instinct is to reach out to catch your fall. The most common rollerblading injury, to the best of my knowledge, is broken or sprained wrists. I rarely wear knee or elbow pads, but I ***always*** wear the wrist guards.

  • Jeremy

    JT -

    Long-time lurker here, but this one made me laugh, so I had to finally stand up and say ‘hi’.

    The first time I attempted roller blades (got a wild hair one Saturday and went and bought a pair), I too was too frugal to “splurge” on the knee and wrist pads. Dumbass move deluxe! I was doing ok, got my confidence up a little, and started going faster down the middle of our quiet suburban street. Suddenly, I hit a seam in the road (the kind with a thick bead of tar protruding from the crack) while coasting, with both skates parallel, standing straight up tall. As soon as the front wheels made contact with the seam, the skates stopped…um…skating…, but the rest of my body didn’t get the memo. I ate pavement big-time. I skinned my knees up so bad that I had trouble walking for a week, and I couldn’t bear to wear long pants because I couldn’t stand for anything to touch my skinless kneecaps.

    Anyway, I don’t have any advice, because I still suck at rollerblading, but I concur with others here: buy the safety gear.

  • Jen Carrier

    1. Take it slow and get safety equipment. Your body won’t bounce back like a 5 year olds.
    2. Find a flat place with smooth concrete that is relatively unpopulated and practice until you get your sea legs.
    3. Constantly scan the ground for impediments. Learn how to pick up your feet to step over things that might stop your skates.
    4. Practice a turn stop as well as the heel brake. It looks fancy and can be very useful. That turn stop saved me a few times in New York from deranged cab drivers.

  • Russell P.

    Was that you in the pic? Did you really fall?