Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Skate Upgrades!

I have been lagging with my writing and have in fact had three sessions since last I wrote. Not only have I learned a whole lot more about roller derby but I have also greatly increased my knowledge of my skates. 

Even though there is more skating session info and other stuff to talk about I first have to tell you about my skates. I got new bushings!! Do you know what a bushing is? I just learned. I do recall hearing them spoken about as well as my trucks, and knowing it had something to do with the bottom of my skates but that's about it. But now I know for real. You can too! Check out the diagram here (you have to scroll down a little) if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, it is really good and makes it simple to see all the bits on the bottom. 

The whole assembly with the bushings (numbers 4 and 6 in the diagram) is called the truck so loosening the nut at the end is having looser trucks. I also learned that there are different hardnesses of bushings, so not only had my trucks been tightened tightly I had the hardest bushings possible (I switched to medium softness). So with the hard bushings there had been very little give of the boot on top of the wheels, leaning to either side didn't really make the skate turn just start to tip over. This is also why (I can tell now) I had an easier time with plow stops then some others. With looser trucks and softer bushings plows are now more work for me. 

The reason getting new bushings on my skates, and loosening my trucks a bit, was such a big deal for me was how it has allowed me to weave on one skate. This is a skill I will need to pass my WFTDA test (I have mentioned it before) and had hoped that hardware changes would help. Guess what? They did! 

When I went to Cardinal skate shop (if you recall, earlier I didn't purchase items there and felt bad) the girls who were working there (who turned out to be Bambi and Dust Bunny of the Gores) were super helpful. Dust Bunny actually showed me how to take my skates apart and put new bearings in the wheels, put in new bushings, loosen my trucks and change my wheels (to the red outdoor wheels I purchased). I feel like a pro! Also I couldn't help myself I bought a pair of those cute bootie shorts with the skeleton hands on the ass. 

I had already been skating outdoors on my indoor wheels. I went to the skate park near us where I take the kids to ride their bikes (it has ramps and stuff that they like to use). The ground is asphalt and somewhat littered with broken bottle bits and crap. I did end up getting used to it with my indoor wheels on, but it took a while. It came down to little steps, better footwork. I figured that was a good way to get better at that, nothing motivates like the the fear of falling on broken glass.

At any rate, I was hoping it would be a bit better with outdoor wheels on and of course I wanted to know what the softer bushings and looser trucks felt like. I reminded myself that I would have to tighten my trucks no matter what initially as the new bushings squished in a bit. I had a new skate tool now too to do this with. See, pro! 

So when we got home we stopped for bikes and off we went to the skate park. It was SO exciting in how different it felt. When I first got on my skates I felt like I was on jello, they are bouncy and squishy now. Of course being on the bumpy asphalt made me have to get used to the new squishiness fairly quickly, again the fear of broken glass was a good motivator.

I was very excited to try and skate on one foot and do some weaving but I had to skate around in circles getting used to the new feel for a while before I could do that. Eventually it was feeling more normal and I tried the weaving on one foot and I could do it! Not to say I was a super pro and perfect at it, but I can do it. I still need lots more practice to be super good at it but the difference in how I can move my skates by the pressure in my foot is crazy! As you can tell this excites me a great deal.

I have many more things to talk about (cool derby websites, the upcoming test, a derby moniker for me etc.) but I think I will leave you with this for now. I am going to re-watch Doctor Who episodes to try and spot The Silent. 


  1. Hi, I'm Ana. and i'll join derby soon as it's still new in Malaysia i have no clue on how to start & what to buy. i'd like to ask you some good tips & advice for buying those derby equipments. there are no skate shops here that offer great choices of roller skates. so i need your help here. :)

  2. Hi Ana! So nice to hear from you. There are so many different skate shops online so getting good gear shouldn't be a problem. I will write in my next post with some answers for you. Soon I will be hearing your stories about joining freshmeat!