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Inline secrets from the world's top skaters and coaches

This week's tip:

Safe Training in City Subdivisions

By Debbie Rice


Halt! - Attitude adjuster for aggressive dogs

The streets of a quiet subdivision can provide a great training ground for inline skaters.

I know. I do much of my training in a subdivision near my home.

The trick is to find a neighborhood with light traffic, smooth and relatively flat pavement, and good visibility around corners.

But don't be lulled into a false sense of security. Hazards lurk even in quiet neighborhoods.

It's still up to you to skate smart and to anticipate the unexpected.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Wear Your Helmet

I used to be one of those skaters who wouldn't wear a helmet. Then one day, during an outdoor practice, I took a nasty fall, tumbling head first under a parked car.

Fortunately, my coach had insisted I wear a helmet. It — rather than my head — split open like a smashed watermelon.

Remember: Road rash fades, but broken brains are forever.

Pre-workout Inspection

Don't be smug. Just because your training course was safe on Tuesday doesn't mean it will be safe on Thursday. Stuff happens. Storms drop branches on the pavement. Construction workers leave behind loose gravel; sprinkler systems go beserk and flood streets.

Expect the unexpected. Start your workout with an easy warmup lap around your course. Make sure the pavement is in good shape before you kick it into high gear.

Look Out for Kids

Children are unpredictable. Always yell out a warning as you approach them. Even then, don't expect them to get out of your way. You never know what they are going to do.

Don't Trust Drivers

Drivers often underestimate the speed of inline skaters while overestimating our ability to stop. Other times, they just don't see us at all. (Maybe they're texting?)

Keep this in mind when you're on any street and always have a plan for how you are going to react if a driver does the unexpected. Remember: it's better to cut cartwheels through the grass than crash head-on into a moving or stationary object.

Dog Gone!

Dogs will sometimes chase and may even attack you. After numerous run-ins with dogs, I have found a solution: Halt! dog repellent.

A favorite weapon of postal carriers, Halt! contains capsicum, an extract of chili peppers. Sprayed into a dog's face, it causes extreme, though temporary, discomfort.

I think of it as an attitude adjuster. Once a dog has a taste of it, it will never bother you again. (You can buy Halt! at your local bike shop or online at halt.com.) May 18, 2007


Debbie RiceDebbie Rice owns one of the most amazing resumes in inline skating — and it keeps getting longer. Last summer, she won the Masters World Championship marathon in Italy. And earlier this year, she completed a clean sweep at Indoor Nationals, collecting five gold medals and three national records. In 2008, she won the pro division of the National Roller Cup. She also holds a place in the Guinness Book of World Records: fastest woman on skates — 61 mph downhill. A former cast member of the Roller Jam television series, she now jams for Bont's roller derby team. She is a Bont sales representative and team manager. A Houston native, she recently moved to Tampa.

Debbie's Facebook page

Related reading:

Skate Tip of the Week Archive
How to avoid getting hit by a car
Beginners Guide to Outdoor Racing.
Beginners Guide to Inline Skating



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