Roller Blades

The perfect aerobic exercise. I'm going to Spain next month and want to keep on with my aerobic exercises. Currently, I use either a Precor FX StairClimber? or a LifeCycle? CrossTrainer? at my gym. The problem: neither fits in my luggage.

I bought a set of RollerBlades the other day. The total price including pads, ran US$150. Even though I'm an awkward and ungainly fool-on-wheels (I fall a lot), I have to admit that these things are fun. And they can travel with you, anywhere in the world.

I'm starting to understand why Covert Bailey keeps claiming that outdoors exercise is better for you. I didn't quite get it before, but he's right: having to keep your balance adds a level of difficulty that isn't present on a stairclimber. -- WilliamGrosso

Oh, sure, brag about how easily you can balance on a stairclimber. Showoff! --rj


Having to keep your balance, along with varied scenery, makes blading much more interesting as well. Doing 20 minutes on a NordicTrac? is tedious torture. On a regular bike I do a minimum of 40 minutes with no tedium what so ever. (I also do the blades, but I'm also an 'awkward and ungainly fool-on-wheels'. Don't fall much, but I'm always about to!) --KielHodges

Compare a wind-trainer, where your bicycle is locked down, to the traditional rollers, where balance is manditory and you fall off if you don't pay attention. I could never do more than 5 minutes on a wind-trainer, but enjoy 30 minutes and more on my rollers. I've also learned to ride in a very straight line, which is handy on narrow roads. -- WardCunningham


Warren Witherall identifies balance as the missing ingredient in most people's skiing...

He recommends inline skating as a way to learn balance so that you can know what you are missing when you ski without it. (You can be terribly out of balance on skis and still not fall over because of the length of the platform. Blades do not suffer from this deficency.)
Note that the "correct" term for the devices in question among speedskaters is "inline skates" or "skates" and what you do with them is "skating" or "inline skating". The terms "rollerblades", "blades" and "blading" are considered crass when used generically, although "Rollerblades" as a commercial distinction with other brands of inline skates is fine. --AndyPierce
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