5 Things to Know Before You Go Outdoor Roller Skating

5 Things to Know Before You Go Outdoor Roller Skating

If you recently bought a pair of roller skates hoping to squeeze the last bit of sunlight out of summer, there are a few things to know before you take your skates to the pavement. Even if you’re a regular rink rat or a recent derby recruit, skating outside is a totally different (and more challenging) experience. Take note of these tips and tricks for staying safe outdoors and having a blast while you’re at it.


Gear Up

You’re probably tired of hearing it over and over again, but the importance still rings true — you need to wear the correct protective gear, especially if you’re skating outside. If you choose not to wear knee pads and you fall indoors, well, you’ll get pretty banged up but it won’t be catastrophic. If you’re skating outside, an unexpected fall without proper protection could cause serious harm.


Practice Stopping

There’s a reason learning to stop is one of the first strategies they teach you in roller derby, and just like wearing the right gear, it’s ten times more important when you’re skating outside. Being unable to stop inside just means you’ll run into other skaters. But speeding through an intersection or over a curb can be much more dangerous. Learn to stop on different surfaces — concrete, asphalt, tiled floors — and different angles to make sure you’ve got it down before it becomes necessary.


Fall on Purpose

This may seem counterproductive, but practicing your falls before they happen incidentally can save you a lot of aches and pains. The good thing about falling outside is that although there are more obstacles that could cause you to fall, there’s also a lot more options for safely stopping and falling. A light post acts as a great place to catch your balance and grassy patches make for a much better bail-out than concrete faceplants.


Check Your Wheels

If you’re just learning to roller skate, or you’ve only been skating indoors before, the wheels that came on your roller skates originally are probably not the most optimal for outdoor skating. Because of the difference in surfaces, wheels that come on indoor skates tend to have a harder durometer with minimal shock absorption. The rougher terrain outside requires a softer wheel for a smoother ride.


Momentum is Vital

We’ve already established that outdoor terrain is much bumpier and obstacle-ridden than an indoor rink. One thing that many new skaters fail to realize is that hitting one of these obstacles while you’re going too slow can be far more difficult than just speeding over it. Of course, you do want to be careful and stay within your skill level, but in the same way that a car needs momentum to get over a speed bump, you need to gain a little bit of speed to get over an uneven sidewalk crack or bump in the road.


All in all, don’t get discouraged. You may feel a little clumsy at first, especially if you’re used to easily gliding across an indoor floor. But skating outside can be extremely rewarding. Plus, the additional difficulty improves your indoor skating tremendously. Put some time into practicing these hurdles and you’ll pick it up easily!



Credit: Photo on Pixabay


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  • Outdoors Staff
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