Ever get a rock stuck between your rear wheel and the brake pad? Ooo, I hate when that happens! And it’s usually when I’m braking on a steep downhill or speedily approaching a traffic-filled intersection. If you have ever been there, you know how desperate this situation can feel. Here are some techniques that may save your skin.
- With weight shifted to the non-braking skate, forcefully slap the brake skate’s wheels backward on the pavement to force a reverse spin and dislodge whatever has immobilized that skate.
- Roll-step if possible to a safe place where you can sit down and dislodge the little devil.
- Bail to the shoulder which will reduce your speed and cushion your fall.
While I am all for trail maintenance, some repairs that might not be a problem for other trail users become downright dangerous to the wheels of inline skaters. Beware of these three types of zebra striping on a bike path:
- shiny hard patches become as slippery as ice on a very hot day
- thick black patches become soft and grabby on a very hot day
- aged patches where a gaping crack has reappeared, aligned perfectly to engulf a set of wheels
Rocks and debris
One of the best things about using inlines outdoors is that the wheels just roll right over small sticks, gravel and leaves. Still, it’s a good idea to scan the trail surface as you skate, especially when braking. Anything on the trail that is visible or casts a shadow 20 feet ahead should probably be avoided. Remember to be extra vigilant in shade or when the sun is directly behind because there wont’ be any telltale shadows.