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In early May, I got swept up in the viral resurgence of roller skating. With folks trapped indoors because of coronavirus and looking for any excuse to go outside, roller skating somehow made its way back into the mainstream, and being the true bandwagoner that I am, I could not let this trend go by without giving it a chance. It turns out that roller skating instructional videos and movies about roller skating are a gateway drug to an incredibly fun and addicting activity that has led to me spending amounts of money that would be shameful were it not for the fact that I have little to no shame. What even is money, anyway, if not a vehicle to obtain more skating gear?
I ordered my first pair of skates in May from a company called Moxi Skates which is highly revered in the skate space because of their superior quality and durability. Knowing next to nothing about roller skating at the time, I ordered them because they were pretty and all the reviews said that they were great beginner skates and the boot (the part that looks like a shoe) is very long-lasting. It was also a few days after my birthday and I justified this as a birthday present to myself and my partner, who is just now discovering how much money I’ve spent on skates. I still have yet to receive these skates and sometimes late at night I look at my order confirmation email and weep. Also purchased with these skates that have not arrived was a cute ass white helmet that would have come in handy a few weeks ago when I was testing a new skate route and fell backward, smacking my noggin onto the pavement.
By late May it occurred to me that my Moxi Lollies just weren’t going to arrive before the end of the summer so I turned to Planet Roller Skate (before the racism issue) and ordered a pair of white Jackson Finesse Viper roller skates and huge pink Scabs Derby knee pads, which are my favorite knee pads now. Purchasing the Jackson Finesse as my outdoor skates was a mistake on my part. What I didn’t know at the time of purchase is that wheels make a huge difference in where one is able to skate. The Jackson Finesse skates that I bought were intended as an artistic dance skate, an activity performed indoors on a smooth surface. My dumb ass tried to skate with these things outside and it was so incredibly difficult and bumpy, even on the smoothest pavement I could find, I ended up going back online to find outdoor wheels.
I ended up purchasing two four packs of Radar Energy 57 wheels from Riedell along with a Powerdyne skate tool (used to swap wheels and general skate maintenance) and new Kwik Zenith bearings (small discs that allow wheels to be attached to skates). Technically, I should have just taken the bearings from my original wheels and out them into the new ones but I didn’t know that was possible at the time.
When the new wheels arrived I watched a tutorial on how to replace the wheels myself and went to work quickly getting my new outdoor wheels onto my existing Jackson Finesse skates. The difference was astounding but also terrifying because I was going faster despite exerting minimal effort to roll forward. The nice thing about the Jackson boot is that it is incredibly comfortable and padded around the ankle area so while I’m not using them for their intended purpose, I’m still getting a good ride and no blisters. There were a lot of falls the day I switched to outdoor wheels which made it abundantly clear that I needed wrist guards even if all I was doing was skating back and forth in an empty parking lot.
In a rush to continue my skating journey I looked to the evil empire of Amazon and purchased a three-pack of safety gear, including wrist guards, elbow pads, and another set of knee pads that looked a little more lightweight and would be conducive to skating in the heat. This was, and I cannot emphasize this enough, another mistake, and the reason it is a mistake will become evident momentarily.
Maybe two weeks or so after getting my extra safety gear my confidence on wheels was through the roof and I decided to do a two-mile skate on a scenic path I had previously walked. The path was well paved, low traffic, and had two hills. To prepare I watched every video from Dirty School of Skate on the safest way to descend a hill, which is backward. It was above 90 degrees the day of this skate so I chose to wear my Amazon knee pads because the Scabs pads were so thick they caused my knees to gush sweat. Of course, I ate pavement on the last hill of the day and fell so hard my body slid halfway down said hill causing my knee and elbow pads to be moved out of place. I am now missing quarter-sized chunks of skin from my left knee and right elbow. I also broke the wrist guard on my right hand. I had to walk a mile home, bleeding profusely, and sweating into my own open wounds. Sexy.
This event inspired my next skate related purchases: Neosporin, which I now travel with any time I lace up my wheels; new wristguards; and a new set of toe stops because the ones that originally came with my skates are severely ground down. I am still waiting for my Moxi roller skates and helmet, but have been assured by a sales representative that they are worth the wait.