Skate Maps


Inline secrets from the world's top skaters and coaches

This week's tip:

Eight Rules for Skating Safely on Trails

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By Greg Major

Skaters sharing trail with bike rider

Skaters share a beach path with a cyclist in Long Beach.
Photo: Darlene Prois


With the skating season upon us, skaters everywhere will be heading outdoors again ... but so will millions of bikers, runners, walkers, dogs ... and who knows what else.

To help you navigate the hazards, here are some tips for skating on multi-use paths and trails.

1) Always wear a helmet. I am amazed when I see skaters decked out in every pad known to man but with nothing on their noggins.

Remember: Road rash heals, but a good bump on the head could cause you to eat with a straw for the rest of your life.

2) Don't expect others to make room for you. Everybody believes they are the king of the road. Be prepared to make room for trail hogs. And while you're at it, set a good example by making room for others.

3) Be polite. Let people know before you pass by calling out, "On your left." And don't expect people to get out of your way just because you're doing interval training or trying to set a world record. Forget about consistent speed when you're skating on a crowded trail.

4) Become familiar with the paths and trails you skate on. Find out where they are likely to be congested and where there are blind turns or other hazards, like hills or steps. When you know what's coming, it's easier to react.

5) Know your ability. Don't take chances on a crowded trail. If you're not sure about a steep downhill, start at the bottom and work your way up. When in doubt, leave it out!

6) Don't use headphones on a crowded trail. Skating to music is risky. It makes it harder to hear the sounds around you, like that cyclist who wants to pass or that pit bull hiding in the bushes. ... Using a cell phone while skating is just … well ... let's not even go there.

7) Don't skate alone on isolated trails. You never know what could happen, and it's always good to have someone around if there's trouble.

8) Remember to have fun. After all, that's why we're skaters, right? (March 2, 2007)

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Greg MajorGreg Major is a veteran inline racer, a certified personal trainer and the president of Bulldog Bootcamp Co. A lifelong athlete, he played semi-pro football in the 1980s and won the Chicagoland Natural Bodybuilding title in 1992. He started skating on a pair of $19 Rollerblade knockoffs. Today, he is a member of Team Rainboj. He holds the course record for his age division at the Northshore Inline Marathon (1 hour, 6 minutes and 24 seconds). He and his wife, Michelle, founded Bulldog Bootcamp in 1999.

Bulldog web site



Related reading:

Skate Tip of the Week Archive
Beginners Guide to Outdoor Racing
Beginners Guide to Inline Skating




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