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Inline Skating Newsletter Article

Surviving a Nighttime Group Skate

By Liz Miller

Paris Friday Night Skate starting lineI’d like to thank skater Alex Tal of Israel for suggesting this troubleshooting guide. He wrote to point out that there is another dimension beyond the basic moves new skaters are taught in the safety of a parking lot. When people are ready to get outside that controlled environment, inline instructors need to focus on the defensive skills that ensure our students can safely manage real-world situations.

In a group setting, “sometimes the crowd is very dense and moving very fast,” Alex pointed out. “There are often light collisions, e.g., frame-to-frame contact.” When unfamiliar terrain, motorists, low or no street lighting, unexpected obstacles, hills, and peer pressure are in the mix, the risk for getting hurt goes way up.

Defensive Skills for the Urban Skater

(See this article in Hebrew, translated by one of Alex's friends.)

Before considering your fist roll in the dark with the “big kids,” be sure to work on the moves that can save your skin. By working your way through the instruction links in the right column below, you will also build an extra layer of protection: confidence in your balance and agility.


Save your skin with...

Sudden red light

Heel brake works best, otherwise T-stop or Powerslide

Many skaters, not much space

Stride 1 or Swizzles until space opens up

Cracks, rough, cobbles, light-rail tracks

High speed Scissors coast

Lagging too far behind the crowd

Stride 3. See 10 tips to Increase Your Pushing Power

Speed control on narrow downhills

Intermittent braking ("governor"), T drag, "Slowplow"

Speed control on wide downhills

Slowing Slaloms -- but only if you won't be cutting off skaters approaching from behind

Impending crash

Get low, hands near knees to make a controlled fall on your gear

Curbs and stair steps

Angle back skate 45+ degrees to curb. See Taking Curbs at a Roll.

Collision avoidance, too late for brake

Hard swerve with a Parallel or tight A-Frame turn. More in Handling Urban Obstacles.

See and Be Seen

Priority one in all cases: wear your helmet and protective gear. In the dark you should also take precautions so that motorists can see you and you can see the skating surface ahead. Head lamps, reflective tape or clothing, plastic reflectors, and blinking lights are all good choices. Consider packing along some water, ID and insurance card, light footwear, and cab fare just in case.

Other August 2009 Stories

bulletred picture Sustainable Inline Skates! - Powerslide's eco skate is made of 90% recyclable materials.

bulletred picture Journal of a Self-Taught Skiker - When Parrish Sims couldn't find "skike" lessons, he did some research and taught himself.

bulletred picture Take Care of Your Spine - Tips on stance, technique, stretching, and manipulation for spinal health.

bulletred picture Meet Trish Alexander - The new USSG Director knows how to find the FUN in everything she does.

bulletred picture Proper Helmet Fit - Are your brains showing? How to fine tune the fit for your smartest cranial coverage.

bulletred picture Goodbye ABT - I believe discontinuing this 1994 Product of the Year is a big mistake.

bulletred picture Skater Crossing - This quarter's featured inline online destinations.