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Outdoor Roller Skating in the UK : Part 1

Updated: Mar 22

Part 1: Choose a suitable space based on your confidence and skill level



We are asked for this information a lot, and in the absence of a permanent indoor skate space (so few of us have this luxury) here are some pointers to choosing a suitable space outdoors.


A word of caution: When you are skating outdoors, we urge you to choose spaces that do not cause a disturbance to others. If there are signs displayed about no skateboarding or cycling, let's also add ourselves into that. We do not want roller skaters to be known as pushy or disrespectful.











Equipment


You do not need particular equipment to roller skate outside. Some equipment will offer more comfort than other equipment, but we suggest you should get used to the equipment you have before choosing anything else. Know where and how you skate so you can select any upgrades that are the right fit for your style.

Wear all the safety gear you need that helps you feel safe. Feeling safe will help you to relax. Relaxed skaters can bend their knees.

Check your toe stops and axle nuts are tight!













 


What's your skill level?

If you are an absolute beginner, and you are putting on roller skates for the very first time, we highly recommend that you have protective pads on as the floor is unforgiving!

It is difficult to get over the idea that wearing pads is 'uncool'. There are some really cute and funky pads available now that will co-ordinate or blend in with your outfit; keeping you stylish and safer. Falls happen anywhere, but outdoors particularly, it is easy to panic if something distracts you and that is when falls happen. We have known folks to trip in roads, so please do take extra care.


Absolute beginner - look for the flattest, smoothest ground possible. Tennis courts, basketball courts, children's playgrounds that are not covered with the spongy safety surface or very quiet car parks are ideal. If you place a skate on a surface, it should not roll.

Please only choose the flat ground within a skate park if no one else is there. It is incredibly frustrating for skate park users to have to avoid newbie skaters in the bottom of the skate park, when they are clearly not interested in learning to skate transition. The best times to be on your own in a skate park is likely to be very early morning.

You do not need to be worried about having the right equipment - your skates will be absolutely fine.




Beginner - Once you have gained some confidence to skate forwards and you are working on all other skills, a wider range of spaces may appeal. This will vary according to confidence level, but you may be comfortable in smooth carparks (we find supermarket car parks are often smooth - look for the newest supermarket near you) that have a slight slope. You can often tell by eye the shape of a slope, but you will still need to spend time getting comfortable on gentle slopes. Look for a slope that goes down and then up again. You can use the upward slope to slow and control your speed.

You do not need to be worried about having the right equipment - your skates will be absolutely fine.



Improver - You will have mastered at least one stop by now, so are more in control of your speed. When you fall, you consistently fall forward and automatically bend your knees if you are unbalanced. Exploring new places and paths should be well within your grasp now. Although, if you are heading somewhere new, make sure you are prepared and you take shoes. Having shoes with you is the easiest way to feel confident. You can get anywhere, change your mind at any point and take your skates off, rather than feeling stuck. Now is a good time to try skating on different textured surfaces, including rougher ground and pavements. You may feel confident on gentle slopes too and start to control your speed on slopes.

You may want to think about trying a more specialised outdoor wheel with a high rebound formula, to have a more comfortable experience on rougher ground.



Intermediate - You will be confident to skate forwards, stop forwards, backwards, use toe stops backwards to stop, fall safely, turn and may have some other skills like jumping and stepping on and off kerbs. You may feel confident enough now to street skate. If you are heading out for the first time, walk the route first to get a feel for the obstacles you may encounter as a skater. Note the different surfaces and any roads you need to cross. Probably a good idea to choose a less busy time of day too. Often in urban areas, the evening is quieter than during the day, which is why we have our Summer Solstice roll out starting as late as possible, as city centre traffic dies down and there are fewer people around in the evening. There is a moment when pubs close that streets get busier again, so just keep an eye on the time!

You may want to try a larger diameter wheel to get more speed!



Advanced - You will be excited to skate in places you've never been to before, and enjoy all the hills! You are confident to control your speed in various ways down slopes. You are confident to skate on your own, are used to falling and not worrying about what others may think.

You use selected equipment that you love is suits the type of skating you want to do.



 

Video - Here is some footage of the different types of surfaces around Leeds Corn Exchange.




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Much of it is not skateable, although that will change once the work at the front is finished! We are really looking forward to a Summer on wheels and hope to travel and skate with lots of new friends.



 

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