Whether old or young: inline skates are very trendy. Riding on four rollers not only makes you happy, but also promotes physical fitness. In Germany alone, almost a million people regularly practice this popular sport – and the trend is rising.

Roller skates, which were patented in 1863, were pioneers of inline skates. The main difference lies in the arrangement of the wheels: while the classic roller skates have two wheels next to each other, the inliners have them arranged one behind the other (i.e. lengthways, hence the derived name from the English “in-line”). Due to the increasing interest in the trend sport, there are now many different models, for example inline skates with soft or hard shoes, large or small wheels. This article summarizes what the different variants mean, which accessories are important for novice drivers and how you can learn to ride inline skates in no time at all.

This is where inline skates differ

There is now a large selection of inline skates from well-known manufacturers such as K2, Rollerblade, USD and Powerslide, which differ from each other as follows:

Another note about the wheels: Depending on which inline skates you choose, they can be of different sizes or arranged. It is important for beginners to know that larger reels are more difficult to control than small ones. The degree of hardness should also not be ignored, as hard wheels wear out more slowly than soft ones – but should not be the first choice for beginners because they offer less comfort.

Buying tips: you need to pay attention to this

If you are interested in a new pair of inline skates, you should not only look at the size. Rather, the shaft height, the length of the rails and the size of the wheels are also important. Regardless of whether you want to buy a model for women, men or children:

Accessories: How to protect yourself properly

If you never or only rarely ride inline skates, you should protect yourself from possible falls. The best way to do this is to wear hand, knee and elbow pads – these are available from Decathlon in sets for adults and children. A skate helmet, which protects your head from dangerous injuries, should also be part of the basic equipment. There are also suitable models for large and small skaters, which can be adjusted individually.

Learning to ride inline skates: this is how it works

If possible, you should make your first attempts on a smooth and paved road without potholes or cracks. For example, in an empty parking lot or on a street with little traffic in an industrial area. In the beginning, be sure to avoid roads with a slight incline so that you don’t roll off automatically and uncontrolled. It is also advisable to take the first steps with the help of a second person – or find a wall to shimmy along. Don’t underestimate the speed you’ll be accelerating while driving, before you can brake safely. The following tips are intended to help you with inline skating:

1. Learning to start Put your feet hip-width apart so that you have a secure footing on the inline skates and bend your knees slightly. To start, you have to put one leg behind you so that you push yourself off the ground. As you begin to roll, shift your body weight to the other leg—like skating, if you can do it. To move forward, shift each step slightly forward as you push your feet off the floor. As you gain momentum, you can place your legs together as you roll.

2. Master curves

Curves are a challenge, especially for novice drivers. To master this, you can use different tricks:

3. Practice brakingIf you want to learn to ride inline skates, you should definitely master the art of braking. To do this, either use the stopper on the heel of your shoes by shifting your weight onto your supporting leg (i.e. the stronger leg) and at the same time pressing the block on the ground. Or you can lean on your supporting leg and place your other leg on the ground at right angles to the direction of travel – this way you form a kind of T and come to a standstill. Alternatively, you can do the “snow plow” like skiing by putting your feet together so that they resemble an inverted V.

4. Fall correctly Falling also needs to be learned: the more purposefully you master falling, the fewer injuries you will suffer as a result. It’s best to use a mattress where you can practice falling properly – by falling knees first and trying to twist so that you land on your side or back. This protects your arms and hands, but also your neck and head from serious injuries. Should you nevertheless fall on your knees or wrists, the joint protectors cushion the fall.

Regulations: That says the ADAC

According to the ADAC, inline skaters are treated like pedestrians, i.e. they should ride on the sidewalk. That means in plain language: You have to adjust the speed according to your environment. If there are no footpaths, you may skate to the right or left of the road as close to the edge of the road as possible within a town. In principle, however, roads and cycle paths are forbidden for inline skaters – unless they are cleared by the police as part of an event (e.g. Skate or Blade Nights).

There has been another exception since 2009, which the ADAC describes as follows: “A new additional sign means that inline skating can be permitted on sufficiently wide cycle paths as an exception right edge in the direction of travel and must allow cyclists to overtake.”

And another important note: Even if there is no legal obligation for inline skaters to wear a helmet or protective equipment in Germany, it is still advisable – especially for beginners – to protect their body with equipment in the event of a fall.

Sources: ADAC, Statista, Sportscheck

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