The skating lesson location is by the Albert Memorial. If you enter the park with the Royal Albert Hall behind you, and the Albert Memorial in front of you, then we will be about 50m off to the right.
By Tube – to the skating lesson location
There are several tube stations, each about 10 minutes walk from the Albert Memorial:
High Street Kensington – District and Circle Lines
Gloucester Road – District and Circle Lines
South Kensington – District and Circle Lines
Knightsbridge – Picadilly Line
Lancaster Gate – Circle Line
Getting There by Bus
Getting There by Car
The postcode of the Royal Albert Hall is SW7 2AP. Paid parking inside the park is available along South Carriage Drive, just to the south of the Hyde Park Tennis Club. On Sundays it’s possible to park for free along Kensington Gore, but be sure to check parking notices.
Adults need skates, knee pads, and wrist guards. No knee pads and wrist guards, no lesson I’m afraid. Sorry, that’s my insurance! When teaching under 18s, they are required to wear a full set of pads including elbow pads and a helmet.
Almost every skater will fall sooner or later, including myself. Whilst most falls result in no more than damaged pride, there is a small risk of injury, from minor to serious. Some skaters choose to additionally wear elbow pads and/or a helmet because of this, but this is entirely your own judgement.
If you don’t have any protective gear, let me know. I have a spare set that I’m happy to lend out.
I spend a lot of time on balance drills and on how to reduce your chances of falling. Preventing the fall in the first place is by far the better strategy. These balance drills will also improve your skating significantly and help you to learn other skills much more quickly, so have multiple benefits.
It’s well worth bringing some food and drink to the skating lesson, as we’ll usually stop half way through for a quick break. That way I can help ensure you get the most from the lesson, as I want you to succeed at skating. Good choices are some water and a banana, or an energy bar, but anything really.
It’s also wise to make sure that you ate a normal meal a couple of hours before the lesson, as this will help to fuel your body through the physical exercise.
Skating is great exercise, and it’ll help you stay warm. Some good clothing choices will increase your enjoyment considerably.
I’d suggest casual clothing in layers, so you can adjust as you warm up. Most people tend to wear practical clothing such as jeans, tights, etc. I’m happy provided you can move around easily and there’s nothing to be caught in your wheels.
If the weather is likely to be cold, I would include a windproof outer layer, insulating middle/base layers, a woolly hat, and gloves. These three will have a tremendous effect on your warmth. I’ve had some excellent skating days at -5 degrees C, and felt as warm and comfortable outside as I do in my home in a t-shirt and jeans. Admittedly it can be hard to get out of the door on a day like this, but as soon as I’ve got past that I realised how much fun I’d been missing by staying indoors.
If it’s hot and sunny, don’t forget suncream! If you do forget, ask me. I usually have a bottle with me. If it’s really hot, having a thin cap or hat helps, as you can wet it to keep cool. Alternatively, a small hand towel, wet, and worn like a scarf.
If you’re bringing a bag and are worried about where it’ll be kept whilst you’re skating, here’s the usual practice.
- I bring a cable lock and lock all the bags in one bundle to the bench where we start.
- Any important valuables such as keys, money, cards, phones, are probably best kept in your pockets or left at home.
- We don’t skate very far from the bench, so your shoes and bags will be in sight at all times.
There is always the risk that someone will try to steal something, but it’s very low in my experience. Because the bags are locked, that means someone can’t so easily grab a bag and walk off invisibly.
Inline skating lessons and the weather – since most skating is done outdoors, we are affected by this. Occasionally lessons are rained off, and should this happen we simply postpone to the same time the following week.
How and when is the weather decision made?
I’ll do my best to make a decision around 2 hours before the lesson is due to start, as this gives enough time to abort before beginning your journey. It’s entirely possible to skate in the rain but it gets slippery, so for your safety I don’t want to be stretching your abilities in these conditions.
From experience, weather forecasts are too unreliable to make the decision on whether the lesson is going ahead. Any forecast more than a day in advance is largely useless for skating purposes in the UK. I thus use the following links to make a decision.
Hourly forecast on the day itself
I check the forecast on the actual day of the lesson, and use that as a general guide.
Weather radar is super useful because it shows historical precipitation which can often let you predict how likely rainfall is in the next few hours much more accurately than the forecast.
The company responsible for this second link also has an excellent app, called WeatherPro. The app itself costs a couple of pounds, as does the annual subscription. It’s a brilliant weather app, I think, and possibly the best and most accurate there is. I love the rain radar, as it shows actual rainfall across the UK and other countries, and can show you the difference between rain, snow, sleet, hail, freezing rain, etc. The MetOffice version is a decent free alternative of course.
How Wet is Too Wet?
I’m happy to teach most lessons if the surface is damp, but will cry off once the road becomes slick with water. There are some modifiers to this, in that tight turns and high speeds are less suitable during lessons when it’s damp, but it’s usually possible to swap around the order of a couple of skills if we should get the occasional period of dampness in a lesson.
In the end, any weather call in advance is a guess, but I’ll try hard not to waste your time. Occasionally I get it wrong, and it either rains during a lesson that I thought would go ahead, or I’ll cancel a lesson and it ends up not raining.
Some lessons, such as those involving learning to slide, can be done in damp or wet conditions. That’s because these are more advanced skills where participants will already have some advanced skating skills, and the wet surfaces actually help us to learn sliding skills.
Quad skates, aka old school roller skates, deal much better with wet surfaces than do inline skates.
Here’s a list of skate shops in London I think worth visiting and/or buying from.
12 Gloucester Rd
Tel: 020 7225 0004
Website: http://www.slickwillies.co.uk (now includes a major online shop)
This shop is closest to Mike’s skating lessons. Slick Willies hires out skates and pads.
Club Blue Room
Club Blue Room
Marble Arch Tower
12-14 Edgware Road
This shop is next to the Odeon Cinema, and hires out skates and pads.
Tel: 020 7724 4884
397 Green Lanes
Tel: 020 8886 7979
Double Threat Skates
119 Pancras Road
This shop is quad skate focused, particularly on the Roller Derby scene
Brixton Ice Rink Shop
53 Brixton Station Road
Tel: 0207 738 7888
Mob: 07977 558 905
Website: Coming soon.
Current opening hours:
London Skate Centre
27 Leinster Terrace
Rent skates here
Tel: 020 7706 8769
This inline skate buying guide is aimed at new and beginner skaters who may not be sure what skate to choose and why. There are so many different skate models and manufacturers out there, and there is so much technical and marketing hype that buying new skates can be a confusing experience.
What type of skating?
Perhaps the most common type of skating is recreational skating. If you’re not sure what type of skating you’re going to be doing, I would suggest start out by trying recreational skates – these are probably the most common skates and are generally good all-rounders. All the other types of skating are specialised disciplines, and the skates used will be optimised for those disciplines. A good pair of recreational skates will give loads of skating pleasure, and still allow you to at least try out some of the other disciplines once your skating has improved.
It’s probably best to get a pair of skates with a heelbrake, as this is the most powerful and practical way to stop for beginners and intermediates. Later on in your skating career you may well decide to abandon the heel brake, and that’s fine too. Starting skating without one, though, will be more limiting.
Fit and Comfort
Most important of all, the skates must fit well and be comfortable. Don’t necessarily expect to match skate size and shoe size – the only way to be sure is to try the skates on, and preferably several different sizes.
Spend more rather than less where possible – below £100 you’re very likely to get uncomfortable skates that don’t work well. Good skates can be resold much more easily, and will help you to enjoy your skating. Poor quality skates will quickly convince most people that skating is not for them.
Where to buy
Go to a proper specialised skate shop, not a sports shop or catalogue. That way you’ll be sure to be able to try on quality skates. My philosophy is to buy properly and buy once.
Here is a list of rollerblade and skate shops in London.
Terms and conditions
- Because of the risk of a fall and injury, all students must wear at least wrist guards and knee pads. Some people also choose to wear elbow pads and/or a helmet for additional protection, but that is your personal decision. Minors are required to wear all protective gear, including helmet and elbow pads. Bear in mind that protective gear doesn’t necessarily prevent injury in a fall. Skating is usually considered a dangerous sport. You agree to take these lessons at your own risk.
- There are times where the weather affects safety – a wet surface can increase the risk of falling. It is your responsibility to indicate when you are not comfortable to continue with a lesson when conditions change. I reserve the right to postpone the lesson at any time if the weather deteriorates. I want to teach you as much as you want the lesson to go ahead, but I also don’t want to risk your safety.
- Packages/vouchers/courses only expire after six months so you can book your prepaid lessons as and when convenient to you. If you have been unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control, I will try to honour expired vouchers/courses if time and course places permit.
- Packages/vouchers/courses are non-refundable once the student has started the first lesson or the booked course has begun without the student attending.
- A paid up course place can be transferred to another course for some or all lessons. I will be as flexible as I can and will always try to accommodate your wishes if time and course places permit.
- Course cancellations/refunds: If you cancel and request a refund: (i) with less than 7 days notice – only half the course fee will be refunded; (ii) with less than 24 hours notice – the full course fee is forfeited. If you do not request a refund you may choose to transfer to a different course as above. Your course payment is still valid and you won’t have to pay any additional fees.
- I reserve the right to cancel a course if a particular course is under subscribed. In that case you can choose between a full refund, or to transfer to another course.
- I reserve the right to change prices and special offers, together with lesson location and the terms and conditions without prior notice. They may also be at odds to publicized facts and prices.
- The right of admission to lessons is reserved.