By Liz Miller
am often approached by inline inventors seeking my opinion, and sometimes
my support, for new inline technology. Some designs are intriguing. But
I must confess, others make me laugh.
Bruce Honaker's patent pending non-reversing
wheel technology seemed funny at first (see his original video), but he convinced me to let novice skaters be the judge. So I solicited
opinions from Get Rolling site visitors and learned that this innovation
strikes a chord with many potential inliners. Their eager responses
(below) led me to accept Bruce's offer to hand-craft a prototype pair
of skates in my size to test. Unfortunately, they are not available to skaters yet, but are definitely available for licensing to a qualified third party.
Liz tested: "It works great!"
Update 8/2008: See my YouTube demonstration on my own local hill.
I did a brief indoors test the day the skates arrived and was very impressed
that the non-reversing technology worked as described. I tried to backward
swizzle and they didn't even budge. Tried half a
spin (requires one skate to go backwards) with no success—as expected.
However, I could stride forward, make basic turns and even apply the
heel brake with absolutely no hindrance. Wow! And in Dan's opinion,
an "ingenious" design. The best part is
that it can easily be removed by the skater once he or she feels confident
enough to learn more advanced skills.
The following weekend I loaned the skates to a student whose own inines
were so poorly made, they were hindering his progress in the beginner
lesson I was teaching. That particular location has
certain "gentle" drainage slopes that challenge any first-time
skaters who face the wrong direction in the wrong place. My non-reversing
wheels tester completed every drill so successfully I forgot he
was on special skates. I think he forgot, too. He neither complained
nor raved about the skates; he just completed a successful lesson.
My final test was on a significant hill in my Danville neighborhood. Going
down, it is steep enough to require braking or slalom turns to avoid
hitting the fence separating our neighborhood from the next. Skating
up, not only was I able to roll to a complete stop with my back to the
bottom of the hill, I could actually walk or shuffle forward one skate
at a time, to make my way uphill with absolutely no backward rolling.
The non-reversing technology has also been tested by those
who crave speed. Read a review from Canadian inline speedskater Hal
Lightwood on SkateStats.com
who very methodically tested it on a pair of
Bont speedskates. Here is Peter Doucet's video review of what he calls "WART technology" and also an article introducing it from his web site, SpeedSkate World.
Here are a few responses from those who watched
- Patrick: "Dang, that
seems like a great idea!!! Especially for young kids, or for that matter
anyone just starting out."
- My name is Jim. "I'm 25 years old and am pretty good
at all sports except in-line skating. I've tried it over and over but
can never establish balance. I keep rolling backwards and falling on
my butt. I've also banged up my knees pretty good too. It got old fast.
My new set of Rollerblades collect dust in a closet now.
I think this invention is a pretty cool idea; actually it's ingenious. I'd be
willing to try in-line skating again if I could get a hold of these skates! When
are they going to start producing them? I'll be first in-line (no pun intended)
to get a set for me and my girlfriend who has also tried it but failed like I
did. She told me she thinks these should have been invented and on the market
years ago. Good stuff!
Keep me posted."
in Phoenix (Arizona, USA):
having seen the video for the "Wheel Anti-Reversing Device" by
Inventor Bruce Honaker, I find myself wishing I were young again. It
would have taken the spills and bruises out of trying to learn. (I
tried roller skating twice. Not being a masochist I moved on to other
things.) I am certain I would have had many hours of skating fun with
this device while I learned. Now that I have a grandson (to me, the
cutest kid in the whole world), I can't wait for him to try on his
first skates. This Anti-Reversing Device will be as important on his
skates as trainers will be on his first bicycle."
- Tess and Family:" My husband and I like to skate. So
do my daughters, but we've put it off for years until now. The thought
of just putting on these skates and skating without falling and breaking
many bones has made us want to actually go out and invest in the
time and less-effort it would take to learn how to skate, and do a
pretty good job right from the get-go. We sincerely hope these skates
will soon be on the market, because of the friends and family that
are anxious to finally learn how to skate. We can only hope that they
will be out before Christmas!!!!"
- Rick, his wife and his neighbor: "If this is for real,
it could be great. My wife and I are 50 and have been interested
in skating for some time. My neighbor saw the anti-reversing skate
idea on your site and told us about it. It sounds like a great way to
learn to skate with a lesser chance of getting hurt by falling backwards.
Where can we get these? My neighbor says that it would be perfect
if we could allow the wheels to reverse when we get good at skating.
- Skateless mom in Seattle: "I am a
thirty something mother of two girls living in Washington. When I was
twenty five, my husband of two days and I were on our honeymoon at
Venice Beach California. My husband wanted to go roller skating. Skating
looked like fun, and everyone was doing it.
"Since this would be the first time I tried skating on in-inline skates,
I was concerned about falling, but he really wanted to go. We had to
go down a couple of steps to exit the skate rental trailer, so I decided
to go outside and sit down on a bench to put on my skates. The bench
was at the bottom of a very slight incline. I sat down on the bench,
put on the skates, stood up, tried to start going forward up the incline.
I immediately fell forward. When I fell, I skinned my knees, elbows,
and both palms, and sprained my left wrist. I took off the skates,
and have never skated again. And, in relating my accident to others
over the years, I have probably discouraged many people from ever trying
"I have thought of that day many times. It completely turned me off
to skating. I have often wondered, why no one ever invented skates
that didn't roll backwards, at least for first time or novice skaters. It
seems like such an easy thing to do.
"Now that it looks like this kind of skates are on the market, maybe
I will try skating again. Where can I buy or rent some? Do you know
if the skates in the story can be converted to normal skates once a
person learns, or does one have to buy a new pair? I would think some
kind of switch could allow the don't backward feature to be switched
off. My kids had roller skates like that when they were little. They
could walk forward because the wheels didn't roll backward."
If You're Fascinated
Would you like to express
an opinion about non-reversing wheels technology? Take a look
at my demo video and then let
me know if I can share
your words with the inventor and add them to the above comments for other
Get Rolling visitors to see.
This technology is available for licensing by a qualified third party by
For more information about Bruce's invention and its progress, visit his
web site, Inlineskatetech.com.
Other August 2006 Stories
Mastery Ladder - Find your rung (physical capabilities) on my new
learning ladder and learn how to climb to the top.
Coast - Proper respect for the one building skill that every skater
needs the most and then takes for granted forever after.
Your Feet - Tips to help you treat tired or crampy feet and lower
legs after a long day on wheels, plus advice for pain prevention.
with Nordic Poles - Triathlete Joshua Delucca Colon describes
his journey learning a new way to cross train for endurance events.
Young Before Her Time - Brigitte plans to celebrate her 50th birthday
at the local skate park, doing what she loves best, hammering the half
Isabel Trail in Richmond, CA - Tracing the San Francisco Bay
shoreline, this bike trail offers views of the Golden Gate Bridge with whirling pelicans and seagulls overhead.
in Learning - Get Rolling.com earns an award of excellence; college
text book features Liz Miller’s Inline Skating chapter among
Ankle booties may just be exactly the accessory you need for your
favorite human-powered sports.
Crossing - Online destinations where skaters congregate and find