April 17, 2020, Wheels Skating Center marks one month since we’ve been closed for public skating. Like everyone else, we miss our family and friends, but especially our skating family and look forward to being able to see everyone again on the skate floor. We’re excited at the news of reopening the country, the state, schools and businesses again and at the same time, realize that it’s not going to happen overnight. We will continue to follow the Governor’s guidelines regarding COVID-19, which in the long run will make that reopening not only possible, but safer too. Please remember that there are No Shortcuts to recovery from this disaster, it’s going to take time and patience. Please stay Safe, stay Healthy and we will see you all soon.
Spring is officially here! Along with the fresh blooms and chirping birds comes the desire to sweep away the cobwebs of winter with some spring cleaning. But after you KonMari your closet or go full Martha Stewart mode on your kitchen, don’t forget to give your roller skates a little bit of attention as well.
Keep reading to learn how to clean your skates from the pros at Wheels Skate Center.
Spring Cleaning Tips for Skates
Gather your supplies.
- Saddle soap, leather cleaner/conditioner, or gentle soap and protectant
- Mild dish soap
- Soft cloths/rags and an old towel (to protect your work space)
- Paper towels
Clean your skate boots.
Gently wipe any dirt or grime off of your skate boots and clean with saddle soap. You can also use a leather cleaning and conditioning product, or if you prefer, use a mild dish soap to clean, followed by a silicone or beeswax-based protectant.
Loosen the laces on your skates and open the tongues up to let the skates air out. You may also want to apply a silicone protectant to the inside of your boots to shield them from perspiration.
Finally, buff the outside of your boots with shoe polish for a beautiful finish.
Clean your skate wheels.
First, check to see if your wheels have metal cores. If so, you’ll need to be careful not to get them wet, as they will rust. Wash your wheels with warm water using mild dish soap and a soft cloth. Make sure to wipe the outside and inside surfaces of the wheel thoroughly. Pat the wheels dry and set them aside on your towel to air dry completely before reassembling.
Clean your bearings.
Remove bearings and wipe off the gunk with a paper towel. (It will be very greasy, so keep that in mind if you use a rag.)
Disassemble the bearings and place into a dedicated plastic bottle or special bearing washing container, along with bearing wash solution (a product made just for this purpose and available at skating pro shops) or your cleaner of choice. (Other options include isopropyl alcohol, citrus-based bearing cleaners, or acetone.)
Give them a minute or so of vigorous shaking to clean, and then dry thoroughly with a soft cloth. Before you reassemble everything, don’t forget to lube up the bearings.
Once everything is reassembled, give those wheels a spin to make sure they’re spinning smoothly, look everything over to make sure there are no loose or damaged parts, and enjoy your freshened up roller skates!
(To keep them in great shape, remember to wipe your skates down after each use, and open up the tongues of your skate boots to let them air out. Don’t leave them in a bag or your trunk, and don’t try to dry them with a hair dryer or by sitting them next to the radiator—the excessive heat can warp and damage the boots, ruining the fit and/or finish.)
The birds are chirping, the squirrels are frolicking, the daffodils are blooming, and the trees are budding. It can only mean one thing—spring is almost here, and with it, Spring Break close behind!
Spring Break in Anne Arundel County Public Schools begins April 7th and runs through April 13th for Pre-K and ECI students. For other students, April 7th and 8th are early release days, and Spring Break 2020 runs from April 9th through April 13th. If you have school age kids, now’s the time to start making spring break plans so they don’t end up glued to the couch all week. Fortunately, there are so many things to do around Odenton, including these!
Spring Break Activities in Odenton, MD
Time flies whether you’re having fun or not, so don’t let your kids waste all of their spring break time off just laying around watching TV or playing video games. According to health experts, kids (and adults) today spend too much time sitting, so it’s good to encourage your kids to get moving and find physical activities they actually like doing. Finding their favorite types of exercise will help them stay active as adults, which is one of the best things you can do for their longterm health.
Roller skating is a perfect option because it’s not only fun, but also has plenty of health benefits. Your kids will have such a blast zipping and zooming around the skating rink that they won’t even realize they’re getting a cardio workout, strengthening muscles, and improving their balance!
Speaking of the skating rink, Spring Break is a good time for socializing with friends. Busy schedules filled with school, sports, lessons, and other extracurricular activities don’t give kids the same opportunities to just hang out and bond with friends that many of us were lucky enough to experience as kids. The skating rink is an affordable, safe place for kids to have playdates and a place for tweens and teens to hang out as a group.
While we’re always a great “rain or shine” option, early spring is a beautiful time to get outside and enjoy nature. Take a nature walk at the Piney Orchard Nature Preserve, or explore the Patuxent Research Refuge. Of course, you don’t have to go far from home to get some quality time with nature. Encourage your kids to ride bikes with friends in your neighborhood, or build a fort in the backyard for playing, reading, and hanging out sans electronics. Check out our schedule to see the hours of our public skate sessions, and follow us on Facebook if you want to get updates about upcoming events and specials!
Picture this: it is finally the first warm day of the spring. You are incredibly proud of yourself for juggling all the children’s schedules and have planned a family outing to the park. You think you have everything ready for a family day of fun outside: a picnic lunch, snacks, sunscreen, chalk, etc. While racing each other to the jungle gym, one of the children fall and scrape both knees. Ensue meltdown. The only thing that will cure this is ice cream and cartoons, so back in the car you go.
This probably sounds familiar to some of you, because a lot of us have lived this situation out in one way or another.
Family fun is not meant to be all about safety. However, a screaming child with a scraped knee means the end of any fun and the beginning of a large headache. When a child hurts, parents always feel that hurt tenfold. We want to help keep fun fun by preventing skating injuries.
Wheels Skating Center is here to save your family fun days from tragedy. From food to fun, we have everything covered. But to keep your day rolling smoothly, here are our three best tips to keeping safe while roller skating at Wheels Skating Center.
3 Roller Skating Safety Tips
- The most important is the safety equipment that you choose. Today, there is a pad for just about every body part when participating in a sport. However, the few we suggest investing in when your kids begin skating are a helmet, knee pads, and wrist guards.
- Skate Mates. No, we’re not talking about your child clinging on to you for dear life. These clever little devices slide along the rink while providing smaller skaters something to hold on to.
- Roller Skating Lessons. Try out a family skate night or one of our open skates to see if skating is something your family enjoys doing. Our public skate times have skaters of all different skill and experience levels. If it is something your family wants to improve on, then consider taking some lessons. We have classes every Tuesday night from 6-7 p.m. and they are only $6.00 per lesson. They’ll give your kids the confidence to breeze around the rink without any major spills. You can check out our schedule here for more information.
We hope that these tips will help decrease the stress in planning a family fun day. We hope we have encouraged you to try your next family night out here at Wheels Skate Center. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about roller skating, safety and first aid at the rink or anything else.
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.
Valentine’s Day is almost here, and if you haven’t yet made plans with your special someone, it’s time to get started. This year, why not try something a little different for your Valentine’s Day date? Check out these unique date ideas in Odenton to help you think outside the box and surprise your partner with a special outing.
Why are creative dates important?
Variety is the spice of life, and according to relationship experts, couples who try new things together are happier than those who don’t. It makes sense, after all—the excitement of new love fades over time under the harsh glare of day-to-day routine, so if you want to keep that excitement alive, you’ve got to put in the work. And yes, that means getting off the couch, putting your phones down, and spending some quality time together!
Creative Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day (Or Any Day!)
The best dates are ones that change up your routine and inject some novelty into the day-to-day, so it’s important to think outside the box and come up with some cool new activities to do with your significant other. These are some ideas to get you started, but don’t be afraid to come up with something that is personal to you and your partner!
Roller Skating Date
Join us at Wheels Skate Center for a roller skating date that will make you feel like lovestruck kids again! Roller skating is a perfect date activity because it’s active, fun, nostalgic, and makes for great memories. Request “your song” and hold hands with your boo while you glide around the skating rink.
If you or your partner aren’t super confident on skates, don’t worry—we have skating classes for beginners! Our skating classes take place on Tuesday evenings and admission is only $6 including skate rental. From 6:15 to 6:45 we work on forward skating and balance skills, while 6:45 to 7:15 is reserved for learning backward skating and turning skills. (Please note that doors open at 6 pm and skaters must be on the rink at 6:15 in order to participate in the lessons.) Learning a new skill together is a good way to build intimacy and strengthen your sense of teamwork.
Turn the love you have for each other outward and shine it on those in need. Find a local charity or nonprofit organization you both feel passionate about and sign up to volunteer together! Whether you end up walking shelter pups, sorting food bank donations, reading to seniors, or whatever else you decide, you’ll feel more connected with your partner and proud of yourselves for putting your values into practice.
Team Up on a Scavenger Hunt
Speaking of teaming up, combine your powers to solve a scavenger hunt! Annapolis has several scavenger hunts you can try for different neighborhoods, so get ready for adventure and spend a day exploring with your favorite adventure buddy.
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.
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.
The holidays are all about spending time with the people you’re closest to, so make the most of the season. There’s still time to squeeze in a little more fun with family and friends to make some new memories before the new year. Check out our list of December events below and get ready for family fun in Odenton this month!
Special Events to Celebrate the Holidays
Holiday Skate Party
When: December 14th, 2019 from 10 am to 12 pm
Join us at Wheels Skate Center for a very merry holiday party! Put on your favorite tacky sweater, don’t forget your Santa hat, and lace up your skates for a holly jolly good time with your favorite Christmas music. Bring your friends and family to rock around the rink with you! And if our holiday skate isn’t enough for you, don’t worry. We’ll also be hosting our usual skating sessions from 1 pm to 4 pm and 8 pm to 11 pm.
School’s Out Skates
When: December 23rd, 26th, 27th, and 30th, 2019 from 12 pm to 3 pm
Don’t let the holiday break pass you by without doing something fun with your friends! Instead of wasting time watching Netflix or staring at your phone, invite your friends to meet you at Wheels for our School’s Out Skate events. Admission is only $5 and includes quad skate rental.
New Year’s Eve Celebration
When: December 31st, 2019 from 6 pm to 10 pm
Come party away the last night of the 2010s at our New Year’s Eve Celebration! It’s sure to be the best New Year’s Eve party in Odenton with great music and atmosphere. Dress to impress in your blingiest sequins and glitter! Admission is only $8, so invite your favorite people and send the year off right.
More December Events in Odenton
Don’t just wait around for our holiday events. While they’re definitely not to be missed, we have recurring events to liven up your week.
- Adult Nite – Every Tuesday* it’s “adult swim” at the skating rink, with 21+ skating from 7:30 pm to 10 pm. No kids allowed, the adults are skating!
- Dollar Nite – Wednesdays* are Dollar Nites from 7 pm to 9:30 pm. Come out and skate for less than the cost of your morning coffee.
- Kid Fun Time – Saturdays* are for Kid Fun Time! Join us from 10 am to 12 pm for a kid-focused session with $6 admission.
*Please note that our weekly events do not occur on holidays and may be cancelled or rescheduled as needed.