This skater's cold weather gear includes a windbreaker, helmet cover, boot covers and more.
Photo courtesy: Peter Doucet
If you are like many outdoor skaters, you hibernate during the winter. You hole up inside for the duration because it seems like too much trouble — and not as much fun — to skate in the cold.
But spring has sprung. Now's the time to once again enjoy the fresh air and freedom of outdoor skating.
Are you ready?
But before you go, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Spring weather is unpredictable. One day (or hour), it's warm and sunny; the next, cold and gray.
If you hope to get rid of that winter flab, you'll need to be ready for any weather. And that means investing in some warm skating clothes.
Make sure you've got a couple of long-sleeve jerseys, a pair of gloves, and a hat to wear under you helmet. For more warmth, get yourself some arm warmers and a pair of tights or a full-body skinsuit.
And don't be too quick to put it away. Just when you think it’s warming up, old man winter usually roars back to town.
Dealing with the wind
Spring winds will mess with you! So plan ahead.
Select skate routes that provide protection from the wind. Tree-lined trails are good. But I've also found protection in neighborhoods sheltered by a mix of houses and apartments.
Winter often leaves trails and roads littered with stones, branches and other debris.
Be extra careful, especially on a trail you haven't skated on since last fall. Make sure the pavement is still in one piece!
Maybe you fancied yourself the next Chad Hedrick at the end of last season. But after a few months off skates, you will need to find your legs again.
Start by skating conservatively, test your legs, and patiently build back to where you were last season.
Don't forget your protective gear. You're bound to be a little rusty after a break from skating. So take precautions. Wear all your protective gear — and then some. Don't venture out without wrist guards or palm sliders. And don't let overconfidence result in broken bones.
Peter Doucet is a veteran speed skater and the webmaster of Speed Skate World. A resident of Mississauga, Ontario, he has represented Canada in seven World Championships and at the 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil. He founded the Toronto International Inline Race Weekend and the RSO Speed Points Series. He is also a coach of the Toronto Inline Skating Club. His hobbies include writing and performing music, cycling, watching movies, going out with friends, and cooking.