To feel secure with roller skates under rain
Wet road VS soaked road.
Rolling on soaked road is an equilibrium performing. A lot of people have not the good luck to live in sunny countries, even though showers are encountered with.
Despite public opinion, danger is not maximal on flooded roads. The first raindrops are a sly enemy. At this time skater may be distracted and is taken by sudden skidding. It is the same as for drivers who speed up as soon as rain is over.
Specific urban dangers
You have to be especially careful when skating in the city. There are a lot of traps. Painted markings on asphalt are hazardous, as much for cyclists as skaters.
Because of smog, wet air or rain, markings become more sliding for all cycles. When you move over them:
- stop skating
- don't push too hard
- avoid to lean inside the bend
- keep stable on your two legs to be safe
- bend down for a low centre of gravity
Roadways still remain dirty the first two days of rain because of persistent losses by cars (oil, hydrocarbons …). Beyond this delay roadways are rain-washed and cleaned.
- don't sharp turn
- don't push too far sideways
- don't push too strong
- avoid painted areas
- anticipate still more braking and possible dangers
- control your speed
- try going more often on sidewalks (less oily than roadway)
Skating on cobblestones is not easy by dry weather and dangerous when it rains. Look out:
- rolling at low speed
- bending and bearing upon heels
- spreading a little your feet to absorb bumps
With fine weather marble or similar presents a smooth and perfect rolling surface. But damp or wet marbled grounds are a nightmare.
- carry straight on
- don't push on side, there is no more grip
- avoid turning sharply
- keep body centred under bearings
Dense leaves layers are underhanded. They give sliding surfaces, and hide a lot of disagreements: branches, holes, sewer gate, etc … the layout of the premises must be well known! As for rolling on marble or cobblestone speed control and stabilized position are absolutely nested.
If other bypass solutions are failed, stop skating and keep rolling with the two feet on ground. A little shift between skates (front – back) can be useful. In this case be especially careful when turning or braking, as speed increases …
On wet ground roller skating sensations are similar to ice skating, because of grip less wheels. The harder wheel is, the least grip will be. Moreover wheels are made with polyurethane, this rubber hardens with cold. Behaviour is quite different from standard conditions.
When stride is too wide, grip and thereof balance can be lost. Stride should be shortened and push less strong on skates. Higher frequency skating makes up for. It is the same concerning acceleration where a strong stride is unsuitable.
Keep cool when turning !
Speed control is fundamental to pass a bend. Cross skating should be avoided in hairpin turn because one bearing is alternatively lost when carried out. Speed must be reduced before bent. To keep safe go like beginners or downhillers: the two feet stable on ground, adopting a neutral position (get knees flexible and your hand at the knees). Thus bearings are continuous and relieving, centre of gravity stay low.
The “half-step” technique may be useful: the inside rolling skate stays always on ground while the outside one is pushing to turn.
The T-brake is also less efficient on wet surfaces. The back roller is prone to aquaplaning, needing a stronger pressure and body lower posture during braking. Foresee stops and you won't be surprised before unexpected zebra crossing, crossrad, etc. Parallel slide, for enjoying people, becomes very easy on wet ground.
Slope is a critical parameter. Then well known down hill can hide oily zones, or impossible bend. If you mistrust:
- try immediately to stop (test braking possibility)
- begin to slow at the hill top before your speed increases too much
If possible, adopt staircase technique. It consists in going down step by step, with skates perpendicular to slope (reverse movement of climbing with parallel skis)
Avoid wide stride, it's a waste effort! A short and light-fast stride gives a better ground contact.
Equipment is damaged by rain. Let choose adapted material and do regular maintaining. When back home, don't forget cleaning your equipment. See related article “precautions to take while skating by cold weather”
Water proof bearings are not quite satisfying. Standard grease bearings can be suitable but care drying them at home. Taking to piece is not recommended for joint waterproofness.
Hard wheels (grade 85A and more) are inadvisable. The harder wheel, the least grip is. Some manufacturers are known for good grip wheels: Labeda and MPC market specific rain wheels.
Protection of boots
Just over the frame boot is exposed to rain and spatters, you can protect with waterproof cover boots, available in shops. After training let your roller skates air-dry, with crumpled paper into them.
If you are addict of roller skating, it's always possible to go training under bad weather. Let be careful and upgrade your equipment. When it snows or it's freezing make other things!
Photos : Alfathor
Translated from french by Valino