Whether you’re an experienced roller skater or are just getting into the sport, it’s always fun to learn new skills and tricks you can show off at the skating rink. At Wheels Skating Center, we are big fans of artistic roller skating, and even host an artistic skating club as well as roller skating tournaments and championships throughout the year.
Wood vs. Concrete: What’s the Best Type of Skating Rink?
Gas or charcoal, shaken or stirred … Wood or concrete? You may not have ever considered where you stand on the concrete vs. wood skating rink debate, but don’t worry—we’ve got you covered with this guide to the different types of skating rinks!
What are the types of skating rinks?
Skating rinks usually fall into one of the following categories: Wood, concrete, or less commonly, plastic tile (VersaCourt and SkateCourt, for example). Each has its own unique properties, but here at Wheels Skate Center, we’re partial to hardwood skating rink flooring. Read on to learn a bit about the pros and cons of each type.
It’s a Hard Knock Life: Concrete Skating Rinks
Concrete is a popular skating rink flooring option because it’s by far the cheapest. It’s also very durable, so it doesn’t have to be replaced as often, and quite slippery, which can make it good for doing certain skate moves like spins, or for speed skating.
However, as you’ve probably guessed, concrete floors are hard. That means not only does it hurt worse to fall on concrete, but also that it’s harder on your joints. Just think about what it’s like to run on grass vs. pavement; roller skating is a low-impact sport, but the surface you’re skating on does make a difference in how much of an impact you feel each time you push off.
In addition to the hardness, concrete skating rinks can be hard to install properly. It’s important that they be perfectly level and smooth in order to make a good roller skating surface, but that’s not always the end result.
Life in Plastic: Not Fantastic
There are some flooring systems out there that use copolymer polypropylene (plastic) tiles, which can be a great option for basketball courts, tennis courts, etc. While these systems are sometimes used for skating rinks, they are not ideal for roller skating. Common complaints include:
- Being too noisy
- Being too bumpy
- Making it hard to get up any speed
- Causing “road rash” to exposed arms or legs if you fall down while skating
Why Wood Skating Rinks Are The Best Skating Rinks
And last, but not least, we have wood skating rinks, like the one we have here at Wheels. Usually built out of maple hardwood, wood skating rinks are the classic material choice for a reason. Wood skating rink flooring is more expensive and doesn’t have quite as long of a lifespan as other options, but we think it’s the superior choice based on the experience it gives skaters. Benefits of maple hardwood rinks include:
- A smooth surface with excellent traction
- “Give” or flexibility, which is easier on joints
- Less painful than falling on concrete
- A beautiful look! Sure, we’re biased, but nothing compares to a beautiful wood skating rink built by skilled craftspeople.
Want to experience a wood skating rink for yourself? Come visit us at our Odenton, Maryland skating rink, Wheels Skate Center. Check out our schedule to see skate sessions and special events.
Roller Skating Tips: How to Prevent Pain, Blisters, and Chafing
Roller skating is one of the most fun activities out there, and it’s good for you to boot! (Pun very much intended.) We’ve discussed a lot of the health benefits of roller skating, and it’s true that skating is a great option for low-impact exercise. However, like any sport, roller skating can come with some minor irritations, aches, and pains. Read on to learn how to prevent blisters and foot pain from roller skating, and visit our pro shop at Wheels Skate Center for new skates, skating equipment and accessories, and of course, expert advice from our pros!
Common Causes of Roller Skating Foot Pain
Some of the most common causes of foot pain while roller skating include:
This skating malady is caused by pressure from a stiff skate tongue (the part that goes behind the laces, on the front of your ankle/top of your foot). If the skate is laced tightly, the tongue cuts into the tendons of the ankle, causing pain, redness, and swelling.
Chafing and Blisters
If your skates are too big or too small, you may end up with chafing, redness, and even blisters, which can make skating (not to mention just wearing normal shoes) very uncomfortable. Skate boots that are too large don’t stay in place, causing them to slide back and forth on your foot. Boots that are too small cut into your foot and can rub your skin until it’s injured.
This painful condition is caused by inflammation in the thick band of tissue that runs from the heel to the toes. If you feel stabbing pain in your heels during or after skating, you may have plantar fasciitis.
Tight Achilles Tendon
This tendon runs from the calf muscle down to the heel, and many people find that it can tighten up during exercise. If your Achilles tendon is tight, you may experience pain in and above your heel at the back of your ankle, as well as swelling. In severe cases, your heel may even feel hot to the touch due to the inflammation.
How to Prevent Foot Pain from Roller Skating
The most important thing you can do to prevent foot pain while roller skating is to wear properly fitting skates! It all starts with the skates, so make sure you have the fit right when ordering. If possible, visit a pro shop to order your skates. Here at Wheels Skate Center, we have a pro shop where you can try different skate sizes and brands, so you feel confident when ordering your skates.
Of course, you may still run into some issues, so check out these tips to avoid foot pain and blisters from skating.
Don’t lace your skates too tightly.
Your skates should be laced tight enough to provide support, but not so tight that they’re putting pressure on the front of your ankle.
Wear thick socks and add more padding if necessary.
Nice, thick socks are a must for roller skating. They provide additional padding, keep your feet dry, and help prevent blisters and chafing. Of course, you may still need to make a few adjustments, so get some moleskin from the drugstore, cut it to shape, and stick it inside your skate boot anywhere that you feel painful friction forming.
Warm up your muscles and stretch before skating.
As with any sport or physical activity, you should always warm up and stretch before skating. Gentle stretching every day can help reduce pain from Plantar fasciitis and also loosen up your Achilles tendon.
3 Signs Your Skates Need Maintenance (And What to Do About It)
Life on roller skates is pretty sweet, cruising along with the wind in your hair and not a care in the world. But just like life itself, occasionally you may hit a bump, feel a tug to the side, or even grind to a stop. Don’t worry, you can always get back on track. Check out these roller skate maintenance tips to learn when (and how) to give your skates the TLC they need.
Roller Skate Problems to Watch Out For
Some of the most common problems you may notice with your skates include:
- Wheels not spinning freely
- One skate “pulling” to the left or right instead of rolling straight
- Wobbling all over the place, or on the other end of the spectrum, you feel like you can barely turn
So, how can you fix these issues?
- Clean your skate bearings. Over time they pick up dirt and debris, even if you’re skating at an indoor skating rink. If you try to spin your wheels and they don’t spin freely, this is the likely culprit. Cleaning your skate bearings is easy, and you should do it every 2-3 months to keep them in good shape.
- Examine your skate to determine why it’s pulling to one direction. It could be due to a bent axle, misaligned plate, or too much tension on one of the trucks. If you’re having trouble determining the cause, stop by our Odenton pro shop to chat with one of our helpful team members. We’re passionate about skating, and we love to help people progress in the sport, so don’t be afraid to ask questions!
- Check your trucks if you feel like your skates aren’t handling correctly; they may need to be tightened or loosened. The looser your trucks, the more easily they turn. The tighter you make them, the harder it will be to maneuver. You want to find a happy medium between responsiveness and stability.
A Roller Skate Maintenance Checklist
Ideally, you’ll stick to a roller skate maintenance schedule to head off any problems before they affect you on the rink. Use this checklist as a starting point, and adjust as needed for your frequency and intensity of skating.
- Every time you skate:
- Unlace and open up the tongue to let your skates dry out. DO NOT sit them in front of a fire, radiator, or attempt to dry them with a blowdryer, as this can warp the skate boot.
- Every week:
- Tighten stoppers
- Check wheel nuts
- Every 3-5 weeks:
- Give your boots, wheels, and plates a wipe down with a soft, damp cloth.
- Check your trucks and adjust as needed. They should be loose enough that you can move them with your full hand, but not so loose that you can move them with just your fingers.
Now that you know basic of roller skate maintenance, put those wheels to use! Join us for open skating sessions, weekly specials, and monthly events at Wheels Skate Center in Odenton, MD.
Winter is Coming! How to Throw the Best Holiday Party Ever
‘Tis the season to party! The holidays can be stressful, and sometimes you just need to take a load off and have fun with some family and friends to celebrate the season. Whether if you’re going out or staying in, get-togethers don’t have to be just another thing on your to-do list for the holidays that add stress, but can be a fun and unforgettable time to spend with others. This year, let’s up the ante! With the winter holidays right around the corner, we have come to share the secrets to hosting a great and memorable party (one that won’t pile onto your holiday stress).
Choosing What Kind of Party:
Casual or high class? Dinner or drinks and snacks? The first step to planning a party is sorting out the element of the party, which all depends on the people you are inviting. A fancy party might not be everyone’s scene, and you don’t necessarily have to have the glitz and glamour to have a good time. You could even host a holiday party at the rink! Have a workout and some fun with your co-workers, family, or friends that no one will forget. For more information, check out our hours and packages.
Invitations and Decorations:
You could go for the simple route of creating an event on Facebook, or you could create some cute evites! They have templates so you don’t have to make the invites from scratch and you can customize them however you want! Decorations can be tricky and also can be pricey, but they don’t have to be. You can take a trip to the dollar store or Walmart and pick up some seasonal fake flowers and make your own arrangement using mason jars. Greenery and twinkly lights are also go-to holiday decorating staples. Cover your banister or mantel with a strip of greenery and a string of lights from the craft section and your home will instantly look like it’s out of a Hallmark Christmas movie.
Most Importantly … Food!
Food is what brings people together, but cooking can also cause a lot of stress in the kitchen. Don’t need to fret, turn your holiday party into a potluck event! Have your guests bring sides and desserts so you only have to worry about the main entree and drinks. Here are some drink recipes to try to add some holiday flavor to the night.
No matter what holiday you are celebrating, with these tips, it will be a memorable night that won’t give you any gray hairs. The most important tip of all is to surround yourself with people you care about and you’ll instantly have a great party.
Happy Holidays from Wheels Skate Center!
Time to Give Back!! Tips on How to Bless Others This Season
The holiday season is a beautiful time of the year to surround yourself with people and things that you are thankful for. Unfortunately, not everyone has this luxury. There are many people who don’t have any family at all or aren’t on the best terms. Some people aren’t even able to have their daily needs met. Here at Wheels Skate Center, we believe the holiday season is the time of year to give back, so we’re here to share some ideas on how you can bless others and your community.
Help a Senior
The holidays can be a depressing time of year for some. For the elderly, they may not have anyone to care for them or may not have any friends or family around to just be there to talk and spend time with. Life can be awfully lonely, so just visiting a senior and talking or playing a game with them can really make their day. They may not be able to cook for themselves anymore, so just stopping by with a baked good or casserole is not only providing food and service to them, but it also shows the person you care.
Get a Gift for a Child in Need
There are so many wonderful organizations that will allow you to pick out a gift or donate to a child whose parents can’t afford to give them a gift or aren’t present in their life. One organization, in particular, is Angel Tree, which gives gifts to children whose parents are in prison. What’s so wonderful about giving gifts to these children in need is that you don’t even have to break the bank to make these kids smile, just a simple toy or school supplies will make any of these kids happy.
Donate to a Food Bank
So many people aren’t even able to have their basic needs met, so having an extravagant Thanksgiving meal or a multitude of presents is out of reach. By just going through your pantry and donating canned goods, you are already making a world of a difference. See a sale or coupon for one of your groceries? Double up, and donate whatever you don’t need to a food bank!
Take Them to The Rink
Sometimes gifting a family or an individual with experience is worth more than a tangible item. Taking the time with someone to do something fun or learn a new skill is a gift that will last forever. If both you and your giftee don’t know how to skate, we have classes!! And don’t worry, it’s okay to fall, no judgments here.
Whether your gifting someone new skates or donating food, just doing some small acts of kindness can show people you genuinely care about them. But let’s not stop after the holidays are over, let’s continue giving all year round! Be blessed by blessing others.
Reasons to Skate this National Roller Skating Month
October is National Roller Skating Month, so it seems like the perfect moment to bring up one of our favorite topics: The benefits of roller skating! That’s right, roller skating isn’t just a fun, nostalgic activity that takes you back to your 6th grade crush’s birthday party or the heady days of roller disco. (But don’t let us stop you from taking a roll down memory lane.) No, roller skating is a sport, hobby, and social activity with real benefits. Read on to learn some of the many reasons to start skating, and join us at Wheels Skate Center to get in on the fun!
Reasons to Roller Skate
Roller skating is social.
There’s a reason roller rinks have been drawing crowds for years. It’s because roller skating is a social activity; the rink can feel like a party, but it’s a party where everyone is not just dancing but also gliding around with the wind in their hair! Roller skating is a very inclusive activity that the whole family can enjoy, from little kids to seniors. In fact, many older skaters credit the positive environment of the skating rink and the fun of roller skating with helping them stay active well into their retirement years. Just take a look at this nonagenarian roller skater!
Roller skating is a workout.
Speaking of staying active, roller skating isn’t just a social activity, it’s also an excellent way to stay fit. The physical benefits of roller skating mostly fall into these three categories:
- Cardiovascular – Skating can get your heart rate up and provide a good cardiovascular workout without the impact on your joints of other cardio activities like running, jumping rope, etc.
- Muscular – If you’ve ever roller skated after years of not doing it, you know that roller skating uses a lot of muscles! While the fact that skating strengthens your legs is fairly obvious, you may not know that roller skating also engages your core muscles, helping to tone your abdominals and back. These core muscles are what help you adjust your balance as you skate, so even if you aren’t skating hard and fast, you’re still engaging all of those muscles to stay upright.
- Coordination – Speaking of balance, roller skating can also help you hone your coordination skills. Skating is all about balance and agility, being able to course correct and respond to changing conditions as you increase or decrease speed, avoid other skaters, and shift your weight to perform dance moves, spins, and even jumps.
Ready to celebrate National Roller Skating Month with us at Wheels? We can’t wait to welcome you to our Odenton skating rink! And don’t worry if you’re not confident on skates; we have skating classes that are a great starting point for anyone wanting to join in on the fun.
How to Customize Your Skates for a Look as Unique as You!
As Dr. Seuss said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” If you skate regularly and have decided to buy your own roller skates, you probably already want to stand out with your own skates and style. Read on to learn how to customize roller skates to make them totally YOU.
3 Ways to Customize Your Skates
- Laces, Pom Poms, and Skate Covers – The possibilities are endless when you change up the colors and patterns of your skate laces and other accessories. Pom Poms are a fun way to add some personality, while skate covers are not only decorative, but also functional, protecting your skate boots from scuffs and scrapes.
- Wheels, Bearings, Plates, and Trucks – The longer you skate, the more you’ll learn about how different pieces of the overall skate fit together to impact the “ride” and performance of the skates. Whether you’re trying to make your skates faster or improve responsiveness, visit our pro shop for help choosing the components that will take your skates to the next level.
- Other Gear – Don’t forget to trick out your skate bag as well! You can get skate bags in lots of colors, not to mention all the possibilities for decorating with patches or stickers. You can also express yourself with different colors and patterns on your helmet, wrist guards, and elbow/knee pads.
At Wheels Skate Center, we carry a wide selection of roller skates and skate accessories in our Odenton, MD pro shop. Looking for something we don’t have in stock? Just let us know and we’ll be happy to order it for you!
From Party Crashers to Derby Jammers: Roller Skates Through the Years
Roller skates have come a long way, baby! From an 18th century party trick gone awry to a beloved American pastime, roller skates have changed quite a bit through the years. Check out some facts about the evolution of roller skates, and visit us at Wheels Skating Center to pick out your own set of wheels at our skating pro shop!
1760: Started from the bottom, now we’re crashing into a mirror.
Roller skates have not always been a smooth ride. The first pair of “skaites” was created by noted tinkerer and inventor Joseph Merlin, whose design basically substituted the blade of an ice skate for two wheels in line, making them the first ever inline skates. Unfortunately, Merlin’s design didn’t go too much farther than that, and he learned the hard way that he should have included some sort of braking mechanism.
1819: Roll with the changes.
In 1819, French inventor Monsieur Petibledin filed a patent for a skate with a wood sole and up to four rollers of copper, wood, or ivory arranged in a straight line. Unfortunately, much like the earlier iterations of roller skates, they were quite hard to use, as they could only roll straight forward and back.
1863: At last, quad skates have come along.
Roller skates got a major upgrade in 1863, when inventor James Plimpton had the idea to create a pair of skates with two parallel sets of wheels – two in the front, and two in the back. And thus the quad skate was born! Quad skates are what most people learn to skate on, and are what you’ll get if you rent skates at our Odenton skating rink. Plimpton’s design not only revolutionized the placement of roller skate wheels, but also introduced rubber springs, making them the first land skate (as opposed to ice skates) that could travel on a curve.
Late 1800s On: Getting better all the time.
Roller skates continued to improve over the years, with new developments like ball bearings which allowed wheels to roll smoother and faster, and new materials (especially plastics) making skates much more lightweight. In the 1980s, the Olson brothers even revisited the in-line design of the original roller skates, updating them with modern materials and brakes.
Over the years, roller skate manufacturers have continued to innovate and improve on skates, giving us the huge variety of roller skates that we have today, from roller derby and jam skates to speed skates and artistic skates. Next time you’re looking for fun things to do in Odenton, come skate with us at Wheels!
Ice-Breaker, Friend-Maker: Why You Should Plan a Back-To-School Skate Party
Time flies when you’re having fun, and this sure has been a fun summer! While it may be hard to believe, there’s actually less than a month until the first day of school in Odenton. If you have a child in elementary, middle, or high school – or if you teach school – consider planning a back-to-school class party at Wheels Skate Center.
Why Plan a Back-To-School Party?
While summer break is a much-needed respite for teachers, parents, and kids alike, it can also be pretty disruptive to learning and socialization for some kids. Check out just a few reasons why you should plan a back-to-school skating party in Odenton this year.
- Skating is great for breaking the ice. Instead of those boring icebreaker games we’ve all played dozens of times, doing a group activity gives everyone the opportunity to meet and mingle in a more natural, low-pressure environment. Plus, roller skating is sure to put everyone in a good mood, ideal for making friends and first-impressions.
- Skating parties are for everyone. Especially when it comes to elementary and middle school students, it’s important to choose a venue and/or activity that the whole family can attend. Many students have younger siblings, so a roller skating party is an ideal way to ensure the whole family can come without having to get a sitter.
- We put the FUN in fundraiser parties! If you’re getting a group together at the skating rink anyway, why not kill two birds with one stone by soliciting donations for your school, organization, or project? We offer school fundraiser events as well as private parties, so you can choose the event that’s right for your group.
Want to schedule an event with us? Please fill out our reservation request form to get started.