Spring has sprung! The poppies are glorius and the bunnies are back in the grassy field next to my favorite in-line lap loop. All of this fresh air and warm sunshine has had me feeling pretty frisky on my skates. In this issue, I thought I'd share some of my favorite foolin' around tricks with you, so you can get frisky too. As always, gear up before experimenting.
Here's a stunt to impress your friends. (For this one, you must have only one heel brake.)
- Coasting slowly on smooth, flat pavement, with knees flexed and your feet close together, raise both arms out to the sides for balance.
- Lift the right heel (or the heel of the skate with the brake), so that you are rolling on that skate's front wheel plus all four wheels on the left.
- Shift your weight back slightly, so that it is evenly balanced over both skates.
- Push your left skate forward and in line with your rear skate, and tip up the toe until you're rolling on just the back wheel.
- Now that you are rolling forward on one toe wheel and one heel wheel see how far apart you can spread your skates apart--without falling down!
Curb JumpingHow are your jumping skills? Since curbs are an inevitable part of skating in most locations, you might as well look good accommodating to them. Make sure to practice in a low traffic area.
Skating off the curb is the easy direction, so let's learn that first. A word to the wise: don't start off too slowly, or your brake can catch on the edge of the curb where it might trip you.
- On a sidewalk, head for your first curb at an angle, not in a straight line. This makes it easier to keep your balance.
- As you approach the edge, get yourself into a stable ready position with your eyes and hands up.
- Push one skate forward about half a skate length. Not only will this improve your fore to aft balance, it will make your first "descent" less traumatic.
- Do not jump up as you go off the curb. Just relax and roll off, letting your body drop the short distance to the pavement.
Hopping up onto a curb requires self confidence in your ability to clear such a towering obstacle. You must know you can jump at least six inches high and land without losing your balance. Here's how to build up your confidence:
- To warm up, practice on the flats, jumping over cracks, leaves or invisible curbs. See how high you can pick up your feet.
- When you jump, try to tuck your feet up and out to one side so you can actually slap one of your heels. Once you can do this easily, you know you can jump high enough to clear the curb.
- Now you're ready. Roll towards a likely curb, preferably at a corner where you can continue rolling on the sidewalk after you land.
- Just before you reach the curb, hop high and make sure your feet and knees come up high, too. If you need to, use your arms to help throw yourself upwards.
- Land in the ready position with one foot advanced for balance. After the first curb they'll all be easy.