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Plane Tree fluff – hurting my eyes in London

London is full of plane trees (click for Wikipedia entry) and in spring and early summer these shed seeds with attached fibers. In a particularly heavy shedding session, such as a dry windy day, the air in the park can be filled as though with snow.

These fibers are very painful in your eyes, and make you cough uncontrollably when breathed in. Make sure you wear wrap around sunglasses, as this makes a huge difference to your comfort! Tonight I was just wearing my spectacles, and a lot of these fibers went into my eyes. Not fun!



By |June 13th, 2013|Diary|0 Comments

Flexbrake Kickstarter project

Every few years the skating world sees another braking project come through. Here’s one of two I received in my inbox recently.

Comments specific to the Flexbrake

I like how both skates get to stay on the ground with all wheels touching, and I’m sure that will make it easier for beginners and inspire confidence.

I’m sceptical of the no flat spotting claim as in the first few seconds of video it looks like at least one wheel stops rotating and skids. Perhaps this is because it’s the rear wheel, and braking with this system would probably shift weight towards the toe wheels if skates are next to each other. In this case the rear wheel might not flat spot very much, but what if the skater uses an effective scissor and gets a lot of weight onto the front skate?

I’m not so keen on the crouching to […]

By |June 12th, 2013|Articles|0 Comments

Le Mans 2013 24 hours Roller video


We all love Le Mans – it’s pretty much the highlight of the whole skating calendar in Europe, with the possible exception of the Berlin marathon. I love this video, I think it captures the atmosphere of Le Mans very well. Lots of Londoners visible too, and plenty of the wheeled LondonSkaters logo. Delighted!

By |June 12th, 2013|Articles|0 Comments

Naomi’s Roller Derby Crossovers Tutorial

As most of you already know, Naomi Grigg is a pretty excellent teacher. Here’s her take on Roller Derby crossovers. To be frank, this is applicable to most crossovers, as I’ve also observed many people not making much use of the power available from the under pushing foot.

Nice shout out to an Eddy Matzger drill, that of towing another skater around the outside. I was delighted to see this, because I also learnt this drill from Eddy, and it’s one I love to use myself. It’s very good at getting people to lean to the extremes, to push sideways, and to use both legs equally, whilst slowing down crossovers and letting you not have to worry about left-right balance. This is brilliant for then practicing each aspect of crossover technique.

Powerslide Doop Skates with Wellies

Powerslide Doop skates with wellies

We’ve all enjoyed the arrival of the cool overskates that you can use your normal shoes with, but this is a new use on me! Le Mans 2013 this year was a bit of a swamp in places due to rain, so wellington boots were quite a good choice. I’m quite impressed with Jonathan for taking this one step further and using them with his Doop skates though. 😀

London Mayhem Le Mans 2013

London Mayhem Le Mans 2013.. Smiles 🙂


Every year it begins with a conversation amongst friends; skaters. “Who wants to do Le Mans this year?” Then it evolves into Facebook groups, intentions and arrangements. Then the excitement builds as the date looms…

A Team name, an ethos for racing, training commitments, trips to Tatem Park to skate with others, Richmond park for hills, Hillingdon Cycle circuit for laps and changes.. Things evolve, confidence builds..

The “London Mayhem” project was conceived in November 2012 with the aim of having a fun Le Mans experience with a close-knit bunch of friends. This was clearly evident by the pre-event meetings in venues such as the The Victoria and The Mitre pubs (carb loading), as well as the infamous Nandos (protein!). However, someone’s definition of fun took a wrong turn when the suggestion of training was put forward, and so the hill repeats and relay changeover […]

Some quotes from Le Mans 2013 24 hours Roller

Flemming from LondonSkaters Speed Team:

Something that was hugely satisfying about the race was getting payoff for all the preparation. The conversations and advice about recuperation and nutrition that meant that I could keep consistent time throughout, and on demand do a flying lap on demand, even 22hours into the event (in support of a London team mate in contention for the podium). The drills and practice which meant that even when the lungs where bursting, the legs and back were aching, the technique was still there and still efficient. The understanding of skating dynamics so could adapt cadence and push throughout the lap. But what really made the event was I was doing that with a group of 70 or so London skaters that had shared my preparation journey, and were enjoying their own races.


Mital from London Wheelers:

Last weekend was my 5th attempt at […]

Naomi Grigg’s skating years – Part 9

Part 9 – by Naomi Grigg

This was also the summer that I marshalled on the Friday Night Skate. It felt so good to be part of something like that, and towards the end of the summer all the Skate Patrollers stopped going on the skate as marshals, and went on it as Skate Patrol instead. I enjoyed not having to wear hi-vis jackets anymore!

During my final year at university in Manchester I pretty much bankrupted myself with all my weekend visits to London – I just couldn’t stop myself. I remember the first Friday that I did it, I’d just got dumped the day before and was feeling really awful, as you do, and couldn’t imagine anything that could take away the feelings of rejection and inadequacy. But then I figured that since I always felt so good when I was in London with the skaters, that’s where I […]

By |June 9th, 2013|Articles|0 Comments

Naomi Grigg’s skating years – Part 8

Part 8 – by Naomi Grigg

This was also the summer that Psycho Steve/Squaddie Steve/Aggro Steve (he went by so many names) took me aside and taught me to ride stairs one night at Trafalgar Square. I’d been told that it was possible when I was back at school – a Malaysian friend told me that one of her brother’s friends could do it, but it seemed totally impossible when I gradually stepped down some stairs whilst trying to get up the guts to just go for it. I had just stuck to jumping down them instead.

Apparently it’s easier to ride them backwards, and I can see why – it makes perfect mechanical sense, but I really like to be facing forwards whilst riding stairs to this day. I also learned that it was 90% guts and stupidity and 10% technique. So long as you scissor your feet, bend your […]

By |June 9th, 2013|Articles|0 Comments

Naomi Grigg’s skating years – Part 7

Part 7 – by Naomi Grigg

That summer was incredible. I went into London whenever I could to practice, fresh with hunger. Practicing all the time – my learning curve was like nothing I’d ever experienced. I was like someone who knew the dictionary backwards, but had never been shown how to put the words into sentences. Andrew taught me so much about skating that had never occurred to me, as I had just learned through watching and doing. My 360s became almost easy once he had told me to fling my head around. I’d tried them so many times on the ice at Swindon, but rarely made it around – I would fall 9 out of 10 times due to insufficient rotation, and the rock hard ice had taken its toll on my hips and elbows.

He also taught me to dance. I say ‘taught’ but it was more of […]

By |June 9th, 2013|Articles|0 Comments