Archive for August, 2010

Meet Staci Stance, Model

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

After over 15 years of teaching inline skaters, I have honed the instructions in my lessons to a toolkit of the most effective words and demonstrations. But once the lesson is over and my students have gone home, I can’t give feedback and tips about how to get the most from their skate practice sessions. On the trails, I see skaters who have no idea that they could be going a lot faster or farther with just a couple of  minor adjustments to their skating posture.

Plastic artist model demonstrating heel brake stance
Staci Stance demonstrates heel braking

I now have a willing (if improbably proportioned) model to demonstrate the most common ineffective skating postures alongside the desired ones.

In future postings, you will see Staci Stance in the proper skating ready position and braking stances (good and bad). She will also model the scissors, the basic “A-frame” turn, and a variety of striding postures. Her lack of protective gear can be forgiven because she is not wearing wheels on her feet!

It is my hope that these photographs will inspire my readers to evaluate their habitual skating stances and see if there is room for improvement. Of course I will add links to related instruction articles on to guide anybody who is interested to improve.

Idaho Silver Country Skate Tour

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Imagine five days of great people, great scenery, and the best inline skating trails you could possibly imagine! I was fortunate to be one of three guides for the August 2010 Zephyr Adventures Idaho Skate Tour in northern Idaho’s Silver Country.


On Idaho's beautiful Trail of the Couer d'Alenes


Bridges span rivers and lakes on this converted rail trail

Last Sunday, twenty eight active folks from across the country and beyond — ranging in age from their 30s to 70s — jumped into two large passenger vans with skate gear in hand. Those who had just flown in found themselves rolling on the tree-lined Fish Lake Trail in eastern Washington state within a few hours of landing. This short 7-mile route with a swimming lake nearby made a perfect first-day trail.

The next day we rolled on the Centennial Trail from Idaho into Washington. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we covered the western, central, and eastern sections of the 72-mile Trail of the Couer d’Alenes across Idaho’s northern panhandle.

Because Idaho’s smooth-as-silk trails pass through a car-free landscape of lakes, rivers and pine forests, everybody was pretty much guaranteed to have a spectacular vacation.

I believe they did! But see for yourself in this 13-minute video by Dan Kibler.

Manhole cover declaring Wallace, ID the center of the universe

Nobody can prove Wallace, ID is NOT the center of the universe (click to enlarge)


A skeptic checks out the center of the universe

Northern Iron Horse Trail Update

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Today we skated the Iron Horse Trail section that extends from Rudgear road to Monument Boulevard and back. (See a complete write up of Iron Horse Regional Trail North on We started near the upgraded staging area at Rudgear, with its benches and a water fountain, completed in late 2009. Lots of happy trail users were out enjoying the beautiful morning in Walnut Creek.

On this northern portion of the Iron Horse, the surface is generally in good condition except for one section alongside Walnut Creek which continues to degrade. The wash-boarding is bad enough to knock a skater down or to throw a bicyclist off her bike. It’s about time the city or the park district did something about this growing hazard.

The biggest change now is near the Pleasant Hill BART station, where a beautiful new pedestrian bridge has been built over Treat Boulevard.


New bridge under construction in Walnut Creek CA

The Trail near the BART station is smooth and nicely landscaped. The new apartments nearby are a welcome addition to the area. It is nice to see smart urban infill in action.

When this post was originally written, skaters had to watch for a path just north of the bridge construction where a 90-degree turn to the right returned to the regular trail. Because the turn wasn’t well signed, Dan went straight and rolled off onto a gravel path. Fortunately, no mishaps or road rash resulted from that! And now, of course, the bridge is in use, making the detour unnecessary.

Enjoy your skating on the Iron Horse – we are!