Guide to commuting on Inline Skates (Simplified)

Guide to commuting on inline skates

There are many ways to get to work. And depending on location and what your job is, you have plenty of options at your disposal. But commuting to work is not without its problems.

Traffic jams, car parking spaces, and the weather are just some of the issues you’re likely to face every day. Regardless of your job or career you do, chances are you have to travel from home to your designated workplace and back again for the most part of your working week.

But what if we told you there’s a way you could save time and make your dull and long commute an interesting one? Well, inline skates have recently become a trendy and inexpensive way to commute to work, and an excellent way to avoid some of these problems.

Not only are they fun, but they will also help you get to work in a fraction of the time that it takes to drive or use public transport, saving you time and money while helping you get fit too.

A pair of inline skates might be the best investment that a commuter can make.

However, you might be wondering, how do you commute to your job using inlines? Should you commute with a backpack? When is the best time to commute on skates? And so on.

Remember, commuting on inline skates has always been a bit of a black art. And although you’ll see lots of people doing it, there is little information and advice out there. Inline skating isn’t the easiest thing to do. It takes a lot of skill and practice and it’s also not without its risks.

That’s why we developed this guide which we hope will help you choose the right inline skates, learn how to walk, run, and roll on them, and make sure you stay safe while commuting. Read on.

Inline Skates Explained

Inline Skates Explained

Inline skates, sometimes referred to as rollerblades, are terms used to describe various forms of inline skating and activities such as roller derby, roller hockey, skating jam, etc.

In fact, Rollerblades is one of the earliest brands of inline skates and was the first company to offer inline skates for sale. Nowadays, though, there’re many brands all over that offer excellent inline skates.

The first inline skates appeared in the late 1700s. They were initially designed to have the look and feel of ice skates as a way of encouraging skaters to continue skating in warmer weather. Perhaps that’s why most roller skaters at different skill levels often use inline skates.

Usually, average inline skates are designed to have 4 or 5 wheels set in a single line although three-wheel inline skates are becoming more and more popular nowadays. Inline skates generally feature a frame that supports the wheels, which is then connected to the boot.

There are also some bearings that allow the wheels to freely rotate an axle and unlike roller skates or quad skates (which mostly have a toe stop in front), many inline skates feature a rubber stop or heel brake connected to the frame.

You might come across inline skates that do not have a brake at all, but the ones that do, they usually have one brake, which is often mounted on the frame of the skate (the right skate).

Tips for Inline Skating/Rollerblading to Work

Tips for Inline SkatingRollerblading to Work

Rollerblading to work is awesome! It’s a fantastic way to turn a boring commute into a fun workout. In fact, continue doing it for a while and you’ll be sure enough to burn some calories!

It could boost your energy throughout your entire workday. So as long as you’re beings are, and fairly sensible, we recommend skating to work. Here’s a more detailed guide on how to commute on inline skates.

Plan For Your Skates in Advance

Well, no one likes arriving at work late and stressed because their journey took twice as long as it should. As such, you’d be wise to make sure that your path is suited for skating before you head out.

Try to know if there are any barriers, heavy traffic, obstacles, or challenging portions on the way. By surveying your route, you can also get to know which is the smoothest and this will make skating enjoyable for you to keep going.

See also
How to Drop on a Half Pipe With Inline Skates

You might want to travel the route during a weekend or your day off so that you can be able to gauge how long it actually takes you vs how long you expect it would take you. This will also help you to know what to watch out for and whether you can accomplish it without difficulty.

How Much Traffic There Is and at What Time?

How Much Traffic There Is and at What Time

Some of these tips come after pre-planning your skate route, but they are still worth exploring. It’s important to know when traffic will be high for cars, bicycles, pedestrians, etc.

These are some of the things you need to be on the lookout for; it’s not always all about your skating skills. Well, of course, the more skating skills you have the better, but be sure to keep your hubris in check.

Remember the problem isn’t you; it’s other people. They are the ones who are not expecting you and who aren’t really on the lookout for aggressive inline skaters approaching at speeds greater than strolling; they simply don’t expect to encounter a skater on the road. They could be drowsy, even somewhat asleep, and not paying attention.

For instance, traffic on your skate route may be extremely busy at certain hours let’s say in the morning. In fact, some areas can have such heavy traffic that driving that route is simply not worthwhile. And you need to figure this out.

You certainly don’t want to show up and be caught in traffic or scrambling to avoid being hit by a car. Again, this is something you need to keep in mind no matter where you reside.

Consider Getting Up Earlier (or Much Later) Than Usual

It’s all about the traffic; if you can, go ahead of or behind it. One of the finest decisions you can ever make about your job is to commute early. You get to work a few hours before most people do, and you get to leave early as well, so both ways you’re traveling when almost nobody else is.

It almost feels like by getting up early, you’ve escaped the rat race. Well, this only works if your job allows for flexible scheduling, and thankfully most jobs do.

If that’s not your case, try requesting it. Look, if you make it clear that it’s necessary and that coming in earlier (or staying later) will help you accomplish a better, more productive job, you’d expect they’d take it into consideration.

Keep Off from The Crowds

Even if you have all the skills and abilities in the world, a random biker might still crash into you and hurt anyone on the spot. It’s also possible to be accountable for hurting someone else.

In a crowd, it’s just as possible to cause an accident as it is to be injured in one. Avoid them, or if you must be there, move through them very slowly because there are simply too many things happening at once from all sides.

Avoid Skating In the Rain

Just don’t go if it’s raining. And the reason for this is not that the rain will break your skates’ bearings and cause them to cease functioning. Well, of course, that is bound to happen if you go out when it’s raining (though there are specially designed wet weather bearings you can buy, at risk of vandalizing such situations).

It’s because of how risky and difficult it can be to break and actually be able to stop in the rain.

When it’s dry, the likelihood of you slipping on one of the numerous slippery surfaces is “perfectly acceptable,” but when it’s wet, it’s an “absolutely deadly death trap.”

Your skill level even won’t matter all that much if your feet are practically dragged from under you, similar to when someone grabs your skate and yanks it. There may be hazards like concealed debris or white lines on cycling lanes that could have been washed up by rain.

The real danger, though, is stopping. You simply can’t go stopping suddenly as you would in normal situations. If a car is abruptly turning, you cannot stop. If someone suddenly appears in your way, you cannot stop. If you’re going downward, you can’t stop either.

See also
3 versus 4 wheel Inline Skates

Think about skating on nice days; it’s enjoyable that way.

Don’t Forget the Shoes

Don't Forget the Shoes

Although it’s difficult to imagine circumstances in which your skates would physically shatter (they should be sturdy tools in the first place), you never know what will happen; it may start raining from an unexpected thunderstorm. Having shoes is a smart idea in any circumstance. Even if it’s only because you have to wear them to work.

Learn How To Carry Your Blades

In addition to taking your shoes with you, you’ll need to have the means to transport your skates. Out of all the tips offered here, remembering your shoes might be the easiest to overlook. You could leave your shoes at the office for instance. It’s always a good idea to have a picture of what you would do if you took off your blades.

However, if you choose to get along with the idea of having to carry your blades, then as a matter of logic, you must also heed the idea and importance of taking your shoes with you.

Check on Your Wheels

Cruising around for miles will definitely take its toll on those soft polyurethane wheels. This is especially true if your durometer rating is below 80A because the actual world’s harsh surfaces will scrape away nanometers at a time.

Note that when you’re skating, you normally apply more pressure (and therefore more friction) to the inner section of the wheel. Because of this, the inner part of the wheel wears down more quickly, and eventually, your wheels will not wear evenly. One side will not be on the level.

Just like what happens to bicycle or car tires, the wheels on your rollerblades will become less efficient as a result of constant usage and wear. This can result in less grip and make skating work slightly more challenging. So you should take action especially if you’ll be skating to work quite regularly.

You can check and maintain your skate’s led wheels by rotating them around the skate to change their locations. For example, you can swap the right skate’s two middle wheels for the left skate’s front and rear wheels (don’t flip them over so they fit in the same manner), and vice versa. This should be done occasionally though, you don’t have to do it after every week.

Stretch Before You Skate If You’re Old

This is good for your back. Perhaps even if you are young. Age is just a number, after all. Do this, though, especially if you’re in your 30s. Your future self will appreciate it.

To do this, stand up straight and then gently try to touch your toes. Hold that stance for a while. You may also try getting down on your knees and spreading them apart. This will help to stretch forward, which can help relax your hamstrings and your back as well.

Or simply do the back stretches you see online. Now the problem with doing stretches is that it can be pretty boring, which can keep people from doing it until they get hurt or old. That’s when they realize they should have been doing it all along.

Remember when it comes to skating, the need for exercise is not really to get fit, it’s to prevent injury. No matter how cool you are, you can still sustain injuries if you don’t allow your body to be flexible when skating. And given the strain it puts on your back, you need to be as flexible as you can, especially when skating a long distance.

One more thing worth doing is to stretch when you’re done. It’s strongly recommended you start doing yoga. Anyone can start practicing yoga though. But it will be beneficial for those looking up to skating.

Avoid Straining Your back With Heavy Backpack

Avoid Straining Your back With Heavy Backpack

Don’t stuff yourself with too much weight on your back. Note that your back will be bent in a position that’s not so much appropriate for much of skating and having anything heavy on top of the stress already put on by skating is dreadfully bad. In fact, this has led many speed skaters to suffer from lower back problems.

See also
Roller Skates vs. Rollerblades - Which Should You Get?

You’ll definitely need a bag to carry your clothing, but if it’s possible, avoid tossing everything in your backpack, things like that homemade marmalade jar, a large laptop, or a hair dryer.

Try to come up with ways how you can take the stuff you need to your designated workplace the day before; you don’t want to be carrying a holiday’s worth of stuff with you every day.

Keep Off From Big Hills

If you have properly mapped out your route, you should be aware of any mountains that stand in your way as you head to your workplace. You may want to avoid major slopes and big hills especially when it rains or when there’s a possibility of bad traffic.

Well, on one side, you could just choose to enjoy skating down the heel and feel pretty cool doing so; after all, you’re simply enjoying yourself without the hill.

However, from the other side, the issue of having to get up the hill in the first place, or on your way back is a real one. And that may be enough to convince you otherwise. You don’t want to bomb it down a serious hill in the morning when other citizens are on their way to work.

Watch Out For Rough Road Surfaces

This is something you don’t even want to hear more than once. On the lumpy, uneven ground and rough surfaces; whether it’s rough terrain or rough asphalt, it’s just horribly hard and formidable to skate long distances.

This calls for some really nice route planning. Nothing feels like skating on flat, smooth asphalt that slides smoothly. Avoid big piles of leaves as well; you don’t know what’s underneath them; they could be slippery on their own.

Learn How to Stop As and When Neccesarly

Other road users exist, so you really need to know how to stop on your rollerblades or inline skates for that matter. And sometimes you may have to brake and stop quite unexpectedly.

So before you start rollerblading or skating to work, where you’ll cruise across all these other road users, take your time and practice skating really fast somewhere safe and see how well you can make such sudden stops. And remember to wear protective gear, as always.

Additionally, while beaning able to make sudden stops is important, you will also need to have situational awareness of your skating route. Simply because you can stop faster than the bike in front of you, that won’t help if you suddenly caught yourself in a very strange powerslide.

In other words, you must be able to brake and be aware of everything around you. Customary commutes should be fair enough and without incidents. But don’t jump on a pair of skates or rollerblades for the first time and start skating to work.

Skate On Empty Roads

Skate On Empty Roads

If you can, try to avoid the sidewalk. This is because if you have long legs, for instance, they’d extend a few feet to the right and left while you skate. And as you already know, skating slowly may be annoying particularly if you have a long way to go.

Skaters can use both roads and sidewalks of course, (based on their skating style) but the latter has to be wide enough for you to skate quickly without constantly colliding with other people.

Otherwise, given the extra space you have on the road and the fact that you’re able to move much quicker than anybody else on the pavement, you’re likely to feel more at ease there.

However, if the route in question is a highway or motorway, then the “road option” may not be applicable. You might end up on the evening news; crazy skater causes a five-mile traffic backup. Find quiet, empty roads to take you to work.

Don’t Go Skating In The Dark

This one is simple; avoid the dark. Unless you’re ready to equip yourself with all sorts of lights, then don’t go skating at night. It might feel great, but we can’t afford to give it a blind eye; it can also be risky, especially with speed skates.

See also
Ultimate Review of The Best Rollerblade Wheels in 2023

Aside from being safe on the road, another important piece of advice is to make sure other people are able to see you. And it can be much harder for other road users to see you in the dark.

Also, it might not be obvious in the dark that you have a speed limit; that you are not a motorbike or an insane skater darting across the street. Since there are always cars on the nighttime road and they never see skateboarders on it, they don’t expect you to be there.

Remember when the sun sets early or rises late. Try to know when it rises and sets well in advance so you can plan your journey accordingly. You may have all the protective gear, but no one wants to be left in the pitch-black without lighting anyway.

Nevertheless, if you’re insistent, then it could be really helpful if you purchased some lights. You can get lights to skate at night that are similar to the ones cyclists use.

It’s also a good idea to wear reflective material, but you’d be smart to start with lights. After all, only when a light is shining directly on reflective clothes will it reflect light.

Get Yourself Some Good Freestyle Skates

Do not try to commute to work wearing cheap recreational or aggressive skates. Or, you can try and learn why it’s a bad idea. The problem is that you won’t even notice the difference if you’ve never skated on bigger wheels. But overall, it’s easier to roll faster on larger wheels.

For instance, you can move along at a nice rate with a solid pair of 90mm wheels. You’ll, however, need a very nice pair of skates because this falls under “serious” skating. So, here’s the thing; get some pretty cool fitness skates, or simply invest in some freestyle options.

Be Ready to Lose Weight

The next point is about health benefits. Spend a few times a week skating to work and you’ll find yourself shedding pounds. So, congratulations! You’ve just won yourself a quick and fun way to stay in shape without adding much time to your workday.

You managed to squeeze in an enjoyable workout around your normal program, which is a fantastic step that many individuals looking to cut weight hardly manage to make. If you want to be in shape, you need an activity that fits like a puzzle piece into your daily routine.

You need to have a fresh, simple routine that is easy to execute. Bravo for taking such action!

A Warm Foot Bath

Here’s a tranquil note to end the guide. Of course, we should rejoice after all the theoretical skating to work we just accomplished together. This in itself is a piece of advice: reward yourself by skating into work.

In fact, psychological studies have it that we are more likely to continue with behavior that has been rewarded. Interestingly, even a fanciful self-reward, such as lifting your arms in the air, pumping them, and praising yourself, may be effective. Yes, just saying “well done to me” may instill a nice habit and encourage you to keep going.

You could also look forward to something like taking a warm foot soak once you’re done skating. This can ease your aching feet and while we’re still on that point, you might want to know that most speed skaters use ice baths as well to help with their recovery. So if you wanted to try that version, you can still have an ice-cold bath for your foot.

Final Words

Final Words

Inline skating is a great way to commute, and with the right skills, it can be a safe and fun way of getting to work, school, or wherever else you need to go.

Moreover, it’s a hobby that is enjoyed by many people around the world. If you’re thinking about taking your inline skates to work one day, then there you have it, a guide to inline skates written. We’ve discussed some of the most crucial tips for commuting on inline skates.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

A bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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