We are not going to try to teach you to skate. We are just regular street
skaters. If you want a good book on that my favorite is "Beginning to Intermediate
InLine Skating". I got my copy at Amazon.com. Also see the section below
on Coaching. We are only going to pass along a few tips that we have found to
be off extra importance as we skate around Asia Pacific..
Break and Breaking Street Skating (Polite) Pads
and Helmets Equipment Check
your Equipment Coach Flexing
Street Skating in Asia is not
the smartest past time ever. If a friend came up to me and said he
wanted to start Street Skating in Asia as a pastime, or an obsession (like me) I
would talk him out of it. Which is why I bought my good friend Gabriel
his skates and pushed him out on the road with me.
But my advice for anyone else is find
another pastime. Skating in Asia is dangerous. I have been hit by taxis, crashed
when trying to avoid dogs, kids and cars. I have spilt blood in most country's in AP. I
have been hit by a bus, had to purposefully hit the pavement while speeding
down hill - at night - in traffic - in order to save myself, I even had wheels
crumble (SALOMON wheels) which resulted in a couple or crashes.
For Street skating Gabriel and
I have two
places to plant our skates, the street or the sidewalk.
the street. The roads are
usually bad, cracked, full of holes
and gravel. The weather, its normally
hot, and humid. Today I was back
in Hanoi, skating, the sun was so
hot I thought I was going to melt.
In some countries being on skates,
on the street, makes you a target.
It is essential that you stay focused
and balanced. You have cars coming
behind you, and then blasting their
horn, kids on motocycles playing
chicken, sometimes people stopping
their vechicles so they can have
a good look at you. Most people
in AP are friendly (ok - except
in Hong Kong). Being Friendly can
be a dangerous problem. I have had
people in passing cars, grasp my
hand to shake it, try to give me
a push, pat my rear, tickle me....you
get the idea. In Manila the police
chased us with motorcycles, waving
hands and shotguns. I can
only assume they were giving us
a friendly escort, not trying to
chase us out of the exclusive residential
area we were in.
The roads are usually bad, cracked,
full of holes and gravel. The weather, its normally hot, and humid. Today I
was back in Hanoi, skating, the sun was so hot I thought I was going to melt.
Sidewalks. Sidewalks are worse
than the streets. In many countries in AP forget even trying a sidewalk. All
sidewalks are taken up, for parking, or filled up with small food stalls, or vendors, and anyway
they are often in worse repair than the roads. Oh yes, they also have pedestrians,
which in Asia will not even think of giving you a little space to skate through. Even someone
like myself who loves to skate the streets in Hanoi, Mumbai and Beijing, would
not try the sidewalks there for a minute.
We are doing a sport for the large part of Asia is not well know. Our behavior
is how all skaters will be judged. And Police in many countries can stop you
at any time, if they feel like it. It helps yourself and all of us to be a polite
If you insist on doing this "sport"
in Asia then this leads to my next tip.
wear a helmet, I should wear a helmet.
I bounced my head on pavement and
bled from my nose for two weeks
afterwards. But I always wear my
pads. ALWAYS. It just tears me up
to see a beginner (which is like
only 10 minutes behind my skill
level) out not wearing pads. For
Example, myself and Gabriel were
skating in Singapore (East Coast
Parkway - GREAT place for skating)
I saw a cute young thing (CYT) skating
with her boyfriend. He looked liked
he had some experience, she none.
He was wearing pads, she was
not. I wanted to scream "WEAR
PADS" to her, but I minded
my own business. 40 km later, as
we were returning, we saw her again,
with red (blooded) on knees, elbows
and wrists. Wear Pads Wear Pads.
Now I do open my mouth and scream
wear pads. I know why people do
not do it, they think it is not
cool, or it means they are not good
Here is my
best story (and it is true) about
why everyone should wear pads. I
was in Sydney, slowly skating on
the sidewalk going south on George
Street about two blocks or so north
of Woolworth's. I heard "wheels"
behind me. I stopped and turned.
To my disappointment it was not
a blader, but a skateboarder. "In
a rough patch Skateboarders can
bail, rollerbladers are committed!!"
But this fellow was good, real good,
weaving in and out of walking traffic.
I was impressed. Then his board
just stopped and he went flying.
He came up bloodied and skinless
on the normal points. I checked
and he had hit a small round metal
plate (maybe 3 inches in diameter).
These plates are in the sidewalks
in Sydney for some purpose. Being
so small they are difficult/impossible
to see. This fellow hit one and
suffered. With pads on, he would
have likely come up ok. Without,
let me just say he was more blood
outside than in.
Think of yourself
as a street blader Mad Max (all
geared up) if you have to, but wear
your pads!! It changes crashing
from a bone breaking, fleshing eating
event to something you can laugh
about. I show off the ruined pads
I have, not the ruined bones. Even
with the crappy wheels I got from
Solamon's, when they crumbled on
me and I went down, I just slid
on my pads for 20 or so feet, no
medical bills. Oh, and the best
pad (IMHO) are RollerBlade Pads.
IMHO the Best Pads I have are RollerBlade,
hands down (sometimes literally).
They are really built for street
skating. Mine have survived many
falls. They are great. I have used
others, but most have not survived
too many road spills. I have more
than one other kinds burn holes
is even the best can go down, no
fault of their own. With Blades
you can not jump off. You go down.
Wear knee, elbow and wrist pads.
I have crashed A LOT, I ALWAYS wear
pads and I only have a few scrapes
to show for it, all bones and joints
Get good stuff,
don't cheap out. Good equipment
means fun, and safety, and will
last a long time. I have went through
many sets of wheels, bearings and
a couple of axles, but my first
pair of upper grade Salomon skates
(sans the wheels) are still working
fine. Gabriel has Rollerblade skates,
and they are still providing good
service. I only know enough to say
the upper models of these two makes
seem to be excellent. My one experience
with cheap skates showed me quickly
how important it was to have good,
comfortable, reliable equipment.
You are going to be going down some
steep hills, and your health will
depend on good equipment. For pads,
I have not found anything better
than my Rollerblade make pads. I
would suggest going to a REAL skaters
shop, one that carries several brands
of equipment and get their advice.
Ok the Salomon shop in Chatswood
(Sydney) was not good for me, but
shops with real skaters, like Total
Skate in Sydney or Skateline in
Singapore, really spent time with
me. They discussed what was good
and why. More than that they have
talked me out of several bad choices,
choices that would have made their
shops a few more dollars, but would
not have been best for me. Find
such a shop in your area, (these
sort of shops generally always have
guys who coach) support the shop,
and learn from their experts.
and use Wrist Guards, Elbow Guards,
and Knee Guards - everytime you
go out. No joking - they have saved
my and Gabriel bones many times.
Maybe (MAYBE?!?) if all you do is
skate in a skating rink you can
live without them, but out on the
street, you are going to crash.
It is going to happen. Today in
Hanoi, I was cutting through a small
road, that had been turned into
an outdoor food stall, I clapped
my hands, yelled, but an old lady
just walked - and stopped - right
in front of me. Hitting old ladies
probably does not ring up points
with the Big Skater in the Sky,
so I Decided to do anything I could
to avoid hitting her, a decision
that was easier to make with pads
logical enough, but I am surprised
how often I see people just put
on their skates and hit the road.
Check the wheels, make sure they
are in good condition, do not need
rotating, and are on tight. Hitting
the road with skates that might
fall apart under me is something
I would rather avoid. I also recommend
carrying the wheel tightening wrench
with you. After 10 k or so I always
check my wheels again to see they
are still tight, more than once
I have found one had come a bit
If you have
recently rotated your wheels, stop
after a few minutes of skating and
give the wheels a check, just to
see if anything is loose. You might
save yourself a long walk home in
bare feet. Right Gabriel?????
I travel too much to do this myself, but I think getting and working a while
with a good, qualified, coach would
be worth a lot. In Sydney call Total Skate, in Singapore call Skateline, both
of these guys are great.
Ok, now the
hard one. The most important thing
to learn when skating is "the
position". This involves
constantly flexing. Believe me,
it sounds easier than it is. Your
knees should always be bent, flexed.
Never lock your knees. This is important.
Keep you upper body bent over a
bit, your nose goes over your toes,
eyes straight ahead (focusing on
what is coming up and below) keep
your weight over your toes.
is the key. From this position your
body is ready to react quickly,
stay blanced, and fall (as happens
or is required) properly.
seems to be that when your body
is tired (or really nervous) it
tends to lock up. Your knees
lock and your spine straightens
up. Locked knees require less strength
than proper flexing, but it also
means less balance and you are more
likely to crash and crash wrong.
Beginning to Intermediate InLine
Skating has a great section on this
You are going
to fall, crash. so learn to do it
properly. Our bodies seem to want
to fall backwards, on our rear ends.
Ok, makes sense that is where the
most padding is. But it also means
pain, and a good chance the head
will bounce back on the pavement.
Wear pads and learn to fall correctly.
This involves coming forward and
sliding onto your knee pads, then
wrist pads, and then perhaps elbow
pads. Done properly you can avoid
injury. The problem is your body
will want to fall backwards, but
with your pads on you can crash
without serious injury. I have had
to do this going downhill in traffic
(my Solamon wheel crumbled on me),
I slid 10 - 20 feet. Nothing broken.
My good friend and fellow skater
Derek (Who unlike me is a natural
athlete) always seems to fall into
a baseball slide. OUCH! He has lost
skin from his legs, and even elbows.
As he went into the baseball slide,
instead of hitting the pads properly,
he hit the flesh first and then
slid the pads out of the way (I
have this in an AVI file in the
Tai Tam Hong Kong page). This meant
an afternoon at the hospital for
us all. Derek could not even get
stitches, no skin left on his elbow
to stitch together.
Get a coach
and learn how to flex and how to
Explanation Skate Brakes Skate
Brakes Braking T-Stop
Explanation. My one complaint with the books I have read is they have not told me how
to stop when you are speeding down a big hill. If you are skating in Singapore in East Coast Parkway (Great RollerBlade
lane) or in Mumbai, then learning all the stopping techniques may not be that
important, and what is in the book may be ok. But for everywhere else, the first thing to learn is how to stop,
I mean really stop.
Now we are not coaches, we are just avid street skaters. So this is what
we found to work for us. For the best advice hire a world class coach, with
Rollerblades come with these Skate Brakes on the back. I had a discussion with
a very good skater, but not a street skater, he wisely thinks the streets are
too dangerous. But he believed in the brake attachment. We were staking together
nice level outdoors skating path. But the car (not mine, the only thing with
wheels I want to own are my blades) was parked on a hill, so I asked
him to show me how that brake worked, and could it stop him. He started standing
still at the top of the hill, then leaned into the hill. Just as he started
moving he applied the brake. Ok it slowed him down some, (but he was not going
fast when he applied it) and he could not get
the brake to completely stop him. After 50 feet or so he was picking up speed and had to bail.
Looking at the brake pad, just after that little bit, it was about half gone.
Enough said, it would not stop you going down a hill and after two or three
big stops on pavement it would be gone anyway. On a average skate it would last
me about 5% of the skate.
Brakes Braking: But now Bill
at Manly Skate in Sydney insisted
I put my breaks backs on and learn
to use them. So I have been practicing
with them over and over and over.
I am getting better with them. The
method is do a sissors (move you
right skate forward so the heel
of the right is even or more with
the toe of the left), Flex properly.
Then move the heel of the right
skate down. After the break
makes contact, sort of sit down
into it, this applies more pressure
from the break pad to the skating
surface. To get my mind in the right
frame of mind I put my hands on
my right new to help focus of getting
the heel down. As I have been practcing
I can stop better and better, but
still can not stop as fast as as
I can with a T-Stop.
T-Stop. Probably the worst way to stop is also the way I use the most and suggest to learn
first. It is the worst because it eats your wheels quickly (which is why
I am called wheel burner) but it does allow you to stop quickly. Gabriel can do this
with either foot (SHOW OFF), me just one. But either way it takes practice,
first on a flat surface then gradually increasing the slope. This method is the
In concept it is simple. Flex deeply on one leg, and drag the other
skate behind you. I try to drag the behind skate with the wheels as flat as
possible (saves sharpening them to a knife blade edge) But often (for me) to
maintain balance, or because I am going to fast I have to drag it slanted.
I much prefer to use the methods I am going to discuss next, but at least
for me and Gabriel the T-Stop is the one we use frequently. Ok going down a
sidewalk in Sydney, a child or lady steps out of a shop right in front of you,
what are you going to do, hit them. No, you are going to stop or find another
way to avoid hitting them. For me, if I am going to fast for a spin (which is
often), If I have enough room I T-stop until I can spin in place. Or if I have
to hit a wall or a pole or something to avoid splattering a non-combatant, and
I have a few feet, I will t-stop to slow down first.
Sometimes, like in Singapore going down the bridge on the freeway that heads
east out of the city center
Skating in the Rain
So the first word here is DON'T.
Don't skate on wet surfaces, they
are slick and dangerous. This means
the Gabriel and I and working on
it and learning. We have spent the
past three, rainy days, in Manila,
(going to and from work) skating
in the rain. What we have learned
so far is, it is difficult. Of course
the roads are slick. But during
rainy periods many sidewalks become
covered with slim or mold, and these
are almost impossible to stand up
on in skates. Metal plates on the
roads also offer no resistance and
you can not stop or turn on.
It seems to actually takes a
lot more effort to skate in the
rain. I found I can not push as
well, push your leg/skate to far
and it will slip out and down you
go. Muscles seem to get much more
tired, I think it is because I tighten
up my legs so much more when skating
in the rain. As the road is so slick
you have to work harder at finding
road resistance to push against.
Going uphill becomes for of an effort
in the rain.
Downhill and stopping. As you
might imagine you can go really
fast downhill when the roads are
wet. And that is the problem, because
just not only did we go fast, but
stopping is much more difficult.
Normal resistance is mostly gone,
so all the normal ways to stop are
either useless or less effective.
This means we had to slow down much
more than we would have normally
done, and started the stopping process
earlier than before.
Another factor we notices is
drivers in the rain behave much
less reasoned than in normal driving
conditions. They were less likely
to pause, or look around them. The
rain seemed to reduce their driving
safety thinking process. Drivers
speed out into traffic more, moved
around other cars and us more aggressively.
This meant we had to be more observant
Equipment. Skating in the rain
is hard on the skates, bearings
to be more exact. After each skate
some skate cleaning and (boring)
bearing maintenance was required.
Overall we find the key for us
was to stay focused. Keep the road
conditions always in mind. Flex
our knees even more, and keep speed
Spin Stop AVI
Slalom Turn Stop AVI