Quad roller skates are most commonly used indoors at roller rinks. However, with minor adjustments, you can ride your skates just about anywhere with a flat, even surface and little debris. Outdoor roller skating is relaxing and builds stronger muscles and increased aerobic stamina.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Quad roller skates
- Outdoor wheels
- ABEC 3 bearings
- Knee pads
- Wrist guards
- Elbow pads
Purchase a set of outdoor wheels from your local skate shop or online. Outdoor wheels are generally thicker and softer than the indoor variety, allowing you to roll over small cracks and debris. Purchase a cheap set of bearings like ones with an ABEC 3 rating as well.
Loosen the nuts that hold the wheels onto the axles using a wrench or the tool that came with your skates. Slide your indoor wheels right off. Set the nuts aside for later use.
Remove your outdoor wheels and new bearings from their packaging.
Pop the bearings into the outdoor wheels using your fingers. The bearings should snap into place with just light pressure.
Slide the outdoor wheels onto your axles, and retighten the nuts onto the axles. Screw the nuts on with your fingers until they begin to resist, then use the skate tool to fully tighten them.
Spin the wheel with your fingers to test them. If the wheel doesn't spin freely, loosen the nut a turn or two. If there is a gap between the wheel and axle, continue tightening them a few turns.
Find a nice, flat surface where skating is allowed such as a beach sidewalk, neighbourhood park or a basketball court. Generally, posted signs will indicate whether skating is permitted.
Wear something weather-appropriate that allows you to move freely. Jeans or other clothing that drags along the ground are not a good idea. Exercise clothing is best. Wear socks. Skaters favour high, knee-length socks for their fashionable, retro look and the extra protection they provide the legs. Some skaters also elect to wear leggings or thick tights to protect their skin.
Gear up. Wear a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards to fully protect yourself in case you fall. It may not look great, but your gear prevents major injuries.
Start out slowly, to test out the surface. Evaluate the amount of sand, dirt and debris you'll skate over to avoid falling flat on your face. As you get more comfortable, increase your speed and make fancier moves on your skates.
Tips and warnings
- Some people also opt for a mouth guard when roller skating. These guards prevent you from breaking teeth or biting your tongue in the event of an accident.
- Both speed- and artistic-style boots can be worn for outdoor skating.
- Do not wear your indoor wheels outside because they will scuff quickly. Also, the firmer your wheels are, the more likely you will be to fall on outdoor surfaces.
- Stay away from roller skating in heavily trafficked areas.
- Know the local laws. Some towns ban roller skates -- and other types of skating equipment -- from their sidewalks.
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