What happens when you take a simple question like: Can I rollerblade in the rain? and search online only to find conflicting answers? A popular question that has been asked since the dawn of the internet. So it was brought to our attention…and you know we had to look into it.
Now, let’s say it’s raining outside and you want to go roller skating. It’s a rainy day and you are hoping that nobody will show up to share the rink with you. And so there you are.
All geared up. Ready to take the track by storm. But something crosses your mind, so you pause and ponder; wait… can I rollerblade in the rain? Is it even safe to roller skate in the rain?
Well, hopefully – but for the purpose of this article, it goes without saying that we can’t just give a simple”yes or no” to dissect these questions.
Look, we really have to kind of explore rollerblades and what goes into them, and then their suitability when it comes to rain. Nonetheless, what we can say quickly off the bat is that all the information you need to know if you can rollerblade in the rain is right here. So read on.
So Can You Rollerblade In the Rain?
Of course, yes. You can rollerblade in the rain and there are few things in life that are more fun. However, you do need to take a few precautions. Rollerblading is fun and there is no doubt about that, but you should never take your safety for granted.
While there are many kinds of surfaces and places where you can roller skate in the rain, you might end up sustaining injuries because you are doing it on the wrong skating surface.
But you don’t want things to get that far. So, the only way to enjoy an outstanding roller skating experience is to skate in dry conditions. Avoid skating on a wet surface if possible.
Simply put, the answer to the question “can I roller skate in the rain” is yes. It is possible and you can do it if that’s what you want. However, that does not mean it is such a good idea.
Roller skating is already a treacherous sport on its own, and wet surfaces increase the risk of falling and injuring your legs, elbows, head, wrists, butts, and so on.
We will cover the details in the next section, and you don’t want to miss anything because if you were to go skating in the rain, then your safety depends on it. So, let’s dive right in!
Risks and Challenges of Rollerblading In the Rain
Rollerblading in the rain is an absolute no-no. Unless you have to, it would be best to choose not to go skating in the rain. The risks involved are too many and they override the benefits. It’s not worth it overall. Below are the risks associated with rollerblading in the rain.
Wet Ground And Slippery Surfaces
One major difference you’ll realize when rollerblading on wet ground is that you’ll have to deal with every slippery surface you come across. This might have severe effects on inline skates because the wheels are mostly designed with a curved profile, plus the mechanics in inline skating basically involves tilting the wheels, which brings about more acute slippages.
Thus, it is best to skate on the dry ground such as concrete, wood, rubber, asphalt, or plastic. These surfaces provide better traction, which enables you to skate without fear of tripping.
Every slippery surface will challenge you to different extents, making it hard to predict well in advance. And the smoother the dry surface, the slicker it will be when wet. So be extra careful when skating over polished stones, marble, or indoor flooring; they are the most challenging of all.
As you can see, wet surfaces might ruin all the fun because they are extremely slippery (which means no traction) and they require a lot of effort to get through. And no matter your skating abilities, the chances of falling are still high. Rollerblading after a rainstorm is not a good idea.
Even worse is rollerblading while it’s raining: multiplied risks that’s what it is. In fact, in this case, you are more likely to trip and you may fall flat on your face and sustain serious injuries. Too bad.
Skating Strides Will Become Harder to Manage
When skating on wet surfaces, it becomes much more difficult to create propulsion (the action of riding or pushing forward. Even with a normal skating stride to the side, you might find yourself in an unintended slide.
This is particularly the case if you’re using inline skates, which might throw you off balance and increase the risk of tumbling over.
Moreover, skating on wet surfaces could worsen certain foot conditions such as pronation, which are a common problem experienced by many inline skaters due to the constant slides.
Note that when rollerblading, the skates return to the center where they attain an upright stance, which turns out to be the only safe spot to roll on wet surfaces. But then, the said upright stance of the wheel cannot slide, therefore skating on center edges becomes hard.
Difficulties When Trying To Stop
As with any form of transport, the stopping distance will be much longer on wet surfaces and this is the main issue when rollerblading on slippery grounds.
Of course, stopping is a crucial skating technique as it allows you to slow down when moving at greater speeds or make sudden stops in case of an emergency.
However, any flow or weakness in your rollerblading will be magnified in the wet. Even with the same speed, stopping distances will certainly be longer on slick surfaces, perhaps 3 times greater than on dry normal surfaces.
This is because roller skating stopping methods depend on friction, which helps to slow down the wheels. And since wet surfaces are often slippery, it will be much harder to slow down or stop.
Moreover, making stops where your skates are sliding (as in the case of Hockey stop, Parallel slide, or Magic slide which are performed by extremely proficient skaters) will be much harder to manage on a wet surface. So take caution when skating on those.
It’s good to mention that not all stopping techniques are reliable when skating in the rain. Some of the considerable stopping methods require you to slide just one skate. These include the heel brake stop, T-stop, Powerslide, and Soul slide.
You will, however, slide much further before actually coming to stop, so be careful and make sure you’re completely balanced in every slide position.
Pro Tip: Avoid any stopping technique that requires you to turn a wide stance, such as the plow stops. In a broad stance, the inclined wheels (edges) are far more likely to slip. The chances of falling and hurting yourself will increase if you can’t apply these techniques.
Roller Skating Turns Becomes A Hurdle
On inline skates, all turns often entail tilting or tipping the wheels over onto the outside or inside edges of the wheels (more like the way bicycles lean when making turns).
These turns are important when negotiating corners as they enable you to make turns without necessarily having to compromise your ride for a slow speed. But this is pretty much achievable only when rollerblading on a dry surface.
It becomes really difficult to pull them off when moving in the rain due to lack of traction. So, when skating in the rain or damp conditions, it’s best to keep off from the edges as they make cornering extremely difficult.
Crossovers that require edging and body rotation should be avoided in the rain as well.
In fact, it’s worse when it comes to crossovers because you’d have to lift one foot and then cross it over the other. These kinds of turns involve a lot of skill and practice, and even with all your abilities, pulling them off on a slick surface is a challenge.
Overall, you’ll need to reduce your speed when making turns to skate safely on wet surfaces. This is also applicable when skating on painted lines and shaded spots. So remember to look out for surface color irregularities- they often indicate where the dampness is.
You Could Damage Your Equipment
The bearings used in roller skates are mostly made of metal. Therefore skating in the rain or on damp surfaces can wreak havoc on these parts and limit their performance. It’s important to clean your bearings immediately after a wet skate to prevent rust or permanent damage.
Note that the amount of grip you get from the wheels when skating in the rain will be determined by how soft or hard the wheels are. Softer roller wheels will provide better grip than hard ones. So, consider investing in a set of rain wheels that will offer some extra grip.
How To Rollerblade In The Rain
At this point, you already know that it isn’t safe to go out roller skating in the rain. And that it’s not advisable.
However, if you do decide to do so, then you need to make sure you’re careful enough not to injure yourself or cause damage to your roller skates. Below are some practical tips on how to rollerblade in the rain, i.e. if you must!
Moderate/Adapt Your Strides
It is always best to go much slower in the wet, of course, unless it is in race conditions.
The ground is already wet and slick, speed skating is a no-no. Instead, skate with slower propulsions as they’ll help you to moderate your strides.
To avoid edging too much, don’t go pushing out as far to the side as you would on normal surfaces. Roll with shorter strokes and higher cadence for acceleration and to maintain speed.
Also, check and make sure that your feet are not pronating on your gliding skate, as this could cause a slide when you start pushing. Check that you are well-balanced on the gliding skate. The wheels on the skate supporting your weight should be upright on the center edges.
It’s also important to look ahead more often when skating on a wet surface to avoid getting caught off guard or being forced to make sudden stops over a short distance.
Adjust Your Stopping Methods
Every braking technique becomes less effective in the wet, and this is one of the most serious risks involved if you decide to skate in the rain.
For instance, if you were to use the back brake, the back wheel may end up aquaplaning when a thin layer of water forms between the tire and the road, which means no traction at all.
The most efficient methods to stop on a wet surface are those that involve one inline skate sliding and the other one supporting the majority of your weight. These methods include Soul Slide, Powerslide, and T-Stop.
In each of these slides, pay close attention to your support skate to ensure it is on a center edge (The support wheel should be upright and not tilted). This way, you’ll be able to maintain your balance and remain stable throughout the slide.
However, these methods are not recommended for novices and skaters who mostly don’t have the stability to maintain the center edge for at least ten meters while turning with the other skate. Newbies should stick to utilizing the heel brake and extra space for a prolonged stop.
Otherwise, it ought to be obvious: all stops that involve turns should be avoided.
Use Shorter Strides When Making Strides
The safest way to negotiate corners while rollerblading in the rain is to take small strides around the turn, opening up the skate on the inside of the edge or turn. However, this is only considered appropriate for wider turns where you’ve got plenty of space to maneuver.
Turning on wet surfaces (using crossovers, parallel turns, or lunge turns) shouldn’t be your option unless you have been sufficiently trained and mastered the skill.
For instance, parallel turns can be oriented to turn without leaning the wheels on the edges, although this is likely to be very counter-intuitive and difficult for beginners to achieve.
In the wet, making parallel turns without edges will require you to move the weight from the balls of your feet to the heels. This way, the front wheels will be lighter and easy to ‘direct’ around the turn without getting off the center edges.
Your knees should not shift toward the center of the turn; instead, they should remain above the skates. Again, making sharp turns with this approach will be hard to manage, but broader turns at slower speeds will be possible.
Slow Down Around Bends
Taking beds in wet conditions will be much harder than in dry. So do not crossover the skates when rollerblading around curves and beds because the inline skate may slide sideways since your balancing point will have shifted to one side, acting as a lever pulling down on the skates.
When a corner comes up, slow down and take it like a novice. Focus on adopting a neutral stance with both feet stable, bending the knees while keeping them supple.
In other words, keep your center of balance low and avoid taking turns sharply. The half-step technique, where the inside skate never leaves the surface (as the outside one pushes to make the turn), may be useful, especially on wet pavement.
Staying Low while Rollerblading
When skating, your body weight will need to be transferred to your toe balls to help achieve balance and keep you from falling on your butt and injuring your tailbone.
If you want to manage that, then staying low is key.
But how do you do that? You ask. First, it’d be best if you adopted the right skating posture. This involves keeping your knees bent slightly above the toes and the shoulders over the hips.
Roller Skate In a Straight Line
With wet pavement or surface, your feet could easily slide apart, forcing you to stretch out and lose balance. So to avoid this, make sure are as close together as you can.
Your ability to skate in the rain or such low friction conditions will be reduced greatly, so the best thing is to try and push the skates down on you rather than out. Do this moderately as you don’t push too strong or too far sideways. Keep your strides short and smooth.
Wear Protective Gear
Skating on wet pavement will definitely require protective gear and equipment. A helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards, are all crucial roller skating accessories. You can also protect your butt by wearing a hip pad.
In addition to wearing protective gear, watch out for pools of water when skating. They can increase your likelihood of falling and injuring yourself. Take a look at it! You have no idea how deep the pothole is. For your own safety, it’s best to steer clear of them totally.
Get Your Blades Ready for Rain Skating
If your skates are in poor condition, you’ll need to get them fixed. Check that the bearings are in good working order so that the wheels can spin freely. It mostly comes down to the wheels.
The hardness the skate wheels, the less grip there will be. Polyurethane rubber wheels can also harden in the cold. Thus, hard wheel options (grade 85A and above) are not recommended. Fortunately, some manufacturers, such as MPC and Labeda, specialize in good-grip rain wheels.
On wet pavement, soft wheels provide more traction than hard wheels and may be a better option if you’re planning to skate in the rain. But you can always try out other choices as well.
These wheels usually come in around 70a. They might be poor for speed, but better for wet pavement and rainy conditions. Perhaps that’s why they are considered great for outdoor use. Alternatively, you can get roller skates with wheels specifically designed for outdoor usage.
Clean Roller Skates, Wheels, and Bearings after Use
It is good practice to clean your roller skates on a regular basis. And even more important after rain. Dirt will stick to the surface of the wheels and some may even get into the bearings. If you leave dirty wheels and bearings untreated for longer will cause your skates to fail.
And since roller skates can be expensive, especially if you are on a tight budget, the best way to prevent such problems is to clean your wheels and bearings immediately after rain skating.
You can clean your inline wheels using window cleaners and some paper wipes. And if you don’t have a window cleaner, a mild soap solution would suffice.
Can You Rollerblade In the Rain? Final Words
As you can see, rollerblading in the rain isn’t without risks.
It’s easy to assume that you just have to be ready to get a little wet for fun skating and maybe have a rain jacket and some rain boots to keep the worst of the rain off of you.
But that’s not enough!
With slick surfaces and wet pavement your chances of falling and injuring your head, wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, and tailbone, are increased greatly. You may also end up damaging your roller skate components such as bearings. Unless you have to, avoid rollerblading in the rain.
Nonetheless, if you are much into it, then go for it. Just be sure to moderate your strides and apply the recommended stopping methods such as T-Stop to slow down. Avoid pools of water and consider using soft wheels for better traction.
And above all, make sure you’re wearing protective gear such as a helmet. This is how you get to ensure your safety. You don’t want to end up injuring yourself while skating. Do you? Hopefully, this guide contains everything you need to know about if you can skate in the rain.