The Rollerblade Commute

Recently circumstances led us to become a 1 car family, and I wanted to use the opportunity to commute to work by bike; our overall schedule will only allow this twice a week, but still, better than nothing.

It was Friday the 13th, and I found a flat tire on my morning ride. My attempts to patch it didn’t really take. And without my own car to run errands, I still haven’t replaced the inner tube. No problem, I found another way to keep my commute active.

Inline skating! a.k.a. Rollerblading. I’ve always wanted to do more of this, especially once triathlon season is over to start to get in shape for cross-country skiing.  It’s been fun, and I’m lucky that my way home is more downhill than my way to work, so that getting home is less of a slog.

Here’s a few tips I’ve picked it up if you want to try inline skating to work.

  • Don’t underestimate hills.  Going up is harder than you think, and a decline will get you going faster than you want.  The better your ability to break, the happier you’ll be.
  • Sidewalks are navigable, but some of the cracks are nastier than others, so be alert, and prepare to step over the uneven parts that might make you stumble.  You can time your strides so that the foot you want to put down for the next stride clears the discontinuity and lands on the flat part of the sidewalk tile.
  • When passing other pedestrians, stop striding and start gliding.  You can pass slowly with your hands at your sides this way, taking up less room.
  • When crossing intersections, even when you have the green light or right of way, try to make eye contact with motorists.  That way you’ll know they’ve seen you; it’s a good practice on a bike too, but on skates you’re even less anticipated by drivers.
  • Pack your shoes near the top of your bag so they’re accessible when you want to change into them at your work’s front doorstep.

Rollerblading to work has been a great way to cross-train.  It’s a moderate workout, yet I know I’m working my glutes and a lot of lateral muscles in my legs that might get short shrift during running and biking.  Have you ever used inline skates or another non-conventional way to commute?

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