This week's column:
How To Skate Over Safety Tiles
Jan. 25, 2012
Hi, Bill: What is the best way to pass over those safety tiles with rows of bumps ("detectible warning tiles") that you find installed on ramps between sidewalks and roads. Thank you. - John from Scottsdale, Arizona
Hi, John: I am familiar with those tiles. We have them in my hometown of Timaru, New Zealand. No doubt they are helpful for pedestrians and people in wheelchairs. But they’re no help for skaters.
The best way to roll over them on inline skates is at speed. This may seem counter-intuitive. But you need some momentum to carry you over the bumps.
Just be sure to position your weight over your heels — not your toes. With your weight over the back of your skates, you can roll right over the bumps and won’t be taken down by them.
The same strategy applies to negotiating other small road hazards, including twigs and even cattle grates.
We used to train on a road with three cattle grates at One Tree Hill in Auckland. We would have to sprint hard to get enough momentum to carry us over the final grate at the top of the hill.
The only skater to come to grief on the grates was Jonathan Seutter of California. He was probably skating too upright. After that, we started calling him “Cattle Grate Seutter.”