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Need advice on new gear for a new skater to RSN and TSC

MikeB's picture
Hi RSN, I'm a new guy & need gear advice.  Just got my skates last week and can't wait to try them -  now I need: helmet, gloves, attire, etc.  Any suggestions on what to look for, where to shop, etc.?  Plus I'm looking for long smooth stretches to skate in Ral,W-F,& RTP areas.  All help greatly appreciated!


eebee's picture

Inline Skating ('Rollerblading') pads and protection

Hi Mike B, welcome to roadskater.net and skating in general. Congrats on your new skates. I can answer you on the pads/protection, but not particularly about skating in the Raleigh area -there are others who can.

I just checked and there are plenty of Dick's Sporting Goods stores in the Raleigh area. I don't know if they still sell skate stuff in their physical stores but online they show the usual 3 pack of pads: wrist guards, knee and elbow pads. Some people prefer the knee and elbow pads with a 'sleeve', which helps keep them in place to cover your skin in the event of a fall. Others prefer the more convenient kind with the velcro straps, but I've heard from others that when they fell particularly hard on those, the pads slid off. Having said that I mostly wore the latter, and they never budged if I fell on them (plenty of times!).

The wrist guards need to have a hard plastic splint on the palms and the backs of the hand to guard most effectively against a broken wrist. I don't think I can emphasize that enough. Some stores that come to mind that might sell skate pads (but I'm not exactly big shopper on campus): Dick's, Sun & Ski Sports (Charlotte), Sports Authority, maybe WalMart.

Above all: don't skate without a helmet!! Sounds like you're planning on protecting what Blake calls "your most valuable asset", so basically anything from a cheapie WalMart to a snazzy Bike Shop ($150+) brain protector will work. From skate races, where skaters wear lots of expensive equipment, to skate festivals, where folk even show up in skateboarding helmets, I see a variety of types.

Regarding 'attire', I started off in baggy clothes because I was self-conscious. However, my beginning outdoor skating coaches suggested even if you wear baggy shorts, put some lycra bike shorts on underneath so that if and when you fall, the two clothing layers scrape each other as opposed to your skin. People usually progress after a while to more 'aerodynamic' and stretchy clothing (skinsuits, bike jerseys & bike shorts), that allows them freedom of movement, and less parachute-like effects when bombing a downhill :-). Moisture-wicking material is tops, especially in the spring when the weather is variable. You work up a heck of a sweat skating, and if you're wearing a cotton shirt, will get pretty chilly once you stop again.

I hope this helps, and I hope other people post points I forgot to mention.

MikeB's picture

Thanks for your input

Thanks eebee! I'm gonna go w/ a bike store helmet and will definitely go with the lycra clothing - thinking about going padless though, except for gloves (hockey player for 35 years so I'm not worried about the skating stride), and thinking about a camelpak too....MikeB

roadskater's picture

Wrist, Hands, Head...Grip'n'Roll, Slide'n'Burn or Glide'n'Crash

Hey MikeB and thanks for joining us here. I'm just getting back after a bit of a break so I have more answers to try, but here are some thoughts. I'm not sure if you played ice or roller or both kinds of hockey (probably every kind including tennis shoe tennis ball any kind of stick kind as a kid) and if you have skated outside much or indoors. What we hear from the studies and from experience is that early on especially the wrist is the most likely skating injury. The wrist guards that act as a splint seem to help, and Rollerblade brand is good, and so is Salomon in general (though I'm not sure if they make that kind of wrist guard now). More experienced skaters will often wear "palm sliders" which protect almost all of the palm and most of the fingers but allow for easy use of the fingers as well. This is my favorite as I use the camera, punch buttons on the HRM/GPS and such, like to be able to open gel packs to eat and such. I'm sure you're used to wearing lots of pads for hockey and you'll be glad to wear less. It's a balance. I don't wear knee or elbow pads any more, but I fall a lot less often than I used to. I think when you're starting out and going slower, the pads can be a great help, so let me say that for the others out there who'll read this later. If you're buying inlines for outdoor skating for the first or nearly first time, count wrist guards and helmet as part of the cost for which you plan. After that you have to pick whether a nice tan is more important than what roadrash looks like if you fall. At higher speeds there's some question as to whether pads stay in place long enough to make a difference. What does make a difference in any pads is the quality and you'll know the difference if you look at great pads versus the real low end stuff. To beginners (not MikeB), you need the pads and helmet just as much when you start and when you're learning and going slowly. As for helmets, remember that cyclists tend to fall differently than we do (and you'll have an idea how you tend to fall) and that we can hit the backs of our heads perhaps more often (I don't have any stats on this but do know about my own life riding and skating). So you might consider that when purchasing. I still use a cycling helmet for the cooling it provides with the air vents and all, but at very slow speeds and in the halfpipe and such (where I don't go) a full and more rounded helmet is a good idea and looks boss too. Even for road helmets there has been some talk that the aerodynamic looking rear sections might get caught up somehow in crashing. I don't know much about this topic, but when looking at helmets recently I paid a bit of attention. I liked the Bell Sweep R, Giro Pneumo and Giro Atmos, but these are kind of expensive. You could try Performance Bicycles in Carboro and other places, and online. Oh I use the Giro Havoc and have found it to be great, but mine's been through a lot and I'll replace it before too long. Most of us have had good experience with buying on eBay (do a search on this site for more on that) for used speed skates (if you know what you're looking for especially) and new rec skates, maybe even new speed skates. Skating is one of those love it or hate it things, so people can sell some stuff literally worn once or twice, and speed skates can hurt more than you thought and often you know within a few seconds there's no way. Buying something like that works because you can usually sell it and not lose more than a few bucks and a bit of shipping. New helmet prices seem to be improving (for buyers) of late. Wheels can be a good deal in some sizes, but it seems to me that the latest/greatest stuff is a bit pricey in that format. If you want to buy some stuff from a great bike store with knowledgeable staff and an owner that gives much of that profit back to the community, it's hard to beat Cycles de Oro in Greensboro. I'd love to be paid to say that but I'll have to say it free because it's true. Make sure you meet Dale Brown when you're there if you can (usually). OK those are some thoughts for you, MikeB, and for lots of others. It comes down to the wrist is most likely to be hurt and head is most tragic to be hurt. And adults please remember your a bloody mass of matted hair doesn't protect your money making asset nearly as well almost any helmet and it doesn't really look much better. Hope I haven't offended anyone too much. There are those who say wearing a helmet is dangerous but I have had at least two times I am really glad I was wearing one...both times at relatively slow speeds and in safe areas with no traffic. What was my title supposed to be about? (I always told students to do the title last so they'd know it was relevant once the paper was finished!) Oh yeah, it was the idea of wrist guards, palm sliders, helmets and how falling on roads, indoor wooden floors and ice can be very different. I'm bored too. Let's stop for now. Skateylove, roadskater
MikeB's picture

RoadSkater,  Tks for the

RoadSkater,  Tks for the analysis.  It really makes me stop and think about the safety aspect a lot more.  And at the same time - pumps me up for some skating.  I really can't wait to get some miles behind me - probably this weekend, weather permitting.  I'm psyched.....MikeB
roadskater's picture

American Tobacco Trail, Capital Crescent Trail

Hi and you're welcome. Eebee got me started on some of it and thanks for understanding that all of us (including you we hope) are trying to answer each other's questions, but also those of people who are searching for answers about getting started. I don't know if I responded at all about places to skate in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. [Research Triangle being Raleigh (NC State University), Durham (Duke University), Chapel Hill (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), but including Research Triangle Park (RTP) as well.] Briefly, with more if you need it later, the American Tobacco Trail is a great place to start. The TSC bunch have a Wednesday night skate during Daylight Saving Time, and skatey-mark and others can give you the details. I've also skated with those guys on the Capital Crescent Trail and that was nice but there were a couple of sections I would call technical and I don't think I'd do that without a brake and without some skating on the ATT. The CCT had some short twisty downhill sections that would be tricky if you've only skated on flat land. There's a track at the Reedy Creek School in Cary, and that is a nice place for some flat laps. Some of the guys go out there for more disciplined workouts, I think, to work on form or do sprints. I think skart goes out there often in good weather, and knowing him, in not so good weather too! OK that's my quick summary. Hopefully some of the Triangle guys will pitch in at some point, and if not, please come back and give us your impressions. There's nothing like being able to read peoples' first impressions! It's such a valuable thing for those thinking about it for the first time and those who've long forgotten what it's like to skate somewhere the first time. Expert opinions are fine, but Beginner opinions are just as helpful, sometimes more helpful, to other beginners or those who want to begin. OK enough of that. Thanks for asking!

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