A skate school
You may have lived on roller skates and skateboards as a kid, but even if you didn’t, it’s relatively easy to teach yourself to skate. There are also tons of online tutorials you can use to help teach yourself for free, helping you to enjoy your in-line skating more and get more fitness benefits as a result. Former artistic figure-skating champion Asha Kirkby is manager of Skatefresh and one of the UK’s most highly qualified instructors. She runs online video courses to help you learn at Skatefresh.com.
If you’re in London or Brighton, Skatefresh runs a few different types of skating classes. You can try five-week 'street skating' courses, one-to-one and group sessions, 'skate fit' and 'Mummy Buggy' classes. There are even free skate clinics for beginners in Hyde Park run by London Skate Patrol.
Group in-line skating lessons
These are a good choice for beginners. They're also a great option if you don’t want to commit to weekly lessons over a long period of time. Group classes are less expensive than one-to-one or semi- private lessons, though the downside is that you’ll get very little individualized help and usually no flexibility in scheduled lesson times. Nonetheless, they’re a sociable and safe learning environment.
Long-distance skate trails
If you’re in the US, there are plenty of organisations that map long-distance trails that are excellent for in-line skating. These can be anything from 1 to 14 miles. Rails to trails conservancy are on a mission to create a nationwide network of trails by connecting old rail lines. These have huge health benefits for communities. Try traillink.com that will show you trails by state. All of these paths are flat or gently sloping. Some paths have asphalt or concrete surfaces and so are excellent for gliding along on skates, although these may be a little shorter. Try skatelog.com too. It has photos, maps, reviews and descriptions of long-distance trails you can try. Remember the rules of trail skating. Always give way to pedestrians and horses. You can help your fellow in-line skaters by posting a review and photos of any trails that you enjoy. Let people know where the hills are and any areas where the surface is a little rough.
In Europe, you can try inlinemap.net which is one of the largest collections of skate trails available online. You can skate the Berlin marathon route with advice about areas ‘smooth as a baby’s bottom’ or find somewhere near home with the search functionality. There is quite a big inline speed skating scene in Germany, where there are often big street marathon events held along with the running races.
In the UK, London Speed Skaters hold an inline marathon at the Olympic Park. Try wikiloc.com/trails/inline-skating/united-kingdom for other ideas. Often cycle trails are a rich source of inspiration for in-line skaters.
Anywhere with the right surface
You can practice in-line skating anywhere with a smooth surface. People tend to in-line skate on the same surfaces as skateboarders; roads, parks, special tracks and skate parks. It’s best if it’s somewhere smooth and traffic-free. Try empty car parks or tennis courts. The promenades of seaside towns are good – and have the benefit of great views while you’re at it. Even cycle paths and paths in local parks – but remember to check for council restrictions. You could even skate in your own backyard, patio or on your living room floor!
So what are you waiting for, get your skates on!