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Inline Skating Newsletter Article

Adapting to Wheel Life

By Liz Miller

Scripted for an Australian Community TV program to be launched in 2006

When I bought my first pair of skates back in 1992, I had no idea how much the time spent learning to enjoy them would change my life and my lifestyle!

Working on crossovers in 1992In the beginning, like most everyone else, I was pretty wobbly. By practicing a couple of times a week, I soon felt more coordinated on flat pavement. But it was still several more months before I could properly brake. There were no books or lessons at that time and I had to figure it out for myself. That’s when I found myself writing and publishing my own book to help other beginners: Get Rolling, the Beginner’s Guide to Inline Skating.

A year after that I became a certified inline skating instructor and have been teaching people in the San Francisco area ever since.  Now, giving my students the gift of braking is one of the most satisfying things I do! 

Living the inline lifestyle

On sunny summer days, I pack my lunch and clothes in a backpack and roll off to my job 8 miles up the bike path from home. My company has a shower and lockers where I can store my skates during the day. In the winter when it’s too dark or cold to commute, I can take a quick lunchtime roll in the noontime sun.

I live in a pretty small town, and it's fun to run errands on skates. I visit the post office to pick up my mail, roll right into my bank to make deposits, and do the same to pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy. Some stores let me inside on my skates, but others ask that I remove them first. No problem!

My original interest in inline skating came from a love of alpine skiing. I'd read an article claiming that using ski form on skates translated to excellent skills on the hill. Well, that didn't happen after my first year on inlines but once I mastered slalom turns on the pavement, my snow skiing improved dramatically, and still is today!

Skating these simple lifestyle activities makes my life more fun, healthy and exciting. But when I'm really feeling serious about fitness, I put on my 5-wheel skates, grab a water bottle and sunscreen, and hit our local converted rail trail for a 15 or 20-mile roll. I often find it hard to believe that something that feels so fluid and graceful could actually be burning calories and giving my heart a good workout. And I've always found much joy in physically participating in the beauty of nature, rather than just observing it.

Chasing the horizon

Liz exploring the Jed Smith trail in SacramentoMy first inline adventures were seeking out more bike paths I could explore on skates. In fact, I ended up writing my second book about what I found. California Inline Skating is now an online tour guide where I’ve published my notes and ratings on 300 great skate tours. That book led me to a job with Zephyr Adventures, where I found myself guiding inline tourists in Holland and teaching Learn-to-Skate camps (now known as Camp Rollerblade) in the US.

There are more ways to enjoy skates than I have tried or that you might imagine. Do a Google search on any of the bold terms below and you'll see what I mean.

Going beyond the skate touring that I do, most people know about aggressive skating, where young skaters perfect their aerial, stair riding and grinding skills on ramps, rails and any other available hardscape. Roller hockey is very popular with kids and adults alike. But did you know that there are both roller basketball and roller soccer leagues?

One company invented a special wind sail that harnesses the wind for the skater holding on. Another perfected a toe-pic for an inline frame on a figure skating boot to help with artistic jumps and spins. There are off-road skates and special long-frame skates for record-setting downhill races. Who knows what’s coming next?

That's what I mean about life-changing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Other March 2006 Stories

bulletred picture How Many Lessons? - Most beginners are eager to know. The answer depends on whether you have lived an active or non-active lifestyle. Find your answer in my new chart.

bulletred picture My Great EsSkate to Miami Beach I joined close to 400 other snowbirds for a weekend of fun, sun and friendship while cruising the streets with a police escort.

bulletred picture Technique: When the Going Gets Rough Lean forward, wide stance, get loose, stiffen up? How to handle dicey surfaces with aplomb.

bulletred picture Palm Springs - Golf Course Bikeway Skate alongside the greens and admire the fountains, ponds and views across the Coachella Valley.

bulletred picture Get Rolling Skate School '06 Reserve your spot now for one of my Danville, Alameda, Richmond or Fremont lessons scheduled for April through October.

bulletred picture Helping Me, Helping Others It's time I thanked those who make it possible for me to deliver great service to my students and Web site visitors.