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How to Skate on Bridges


Sooner or later, you'll encounter wooden bridges, which have wide ruts and deep grooves in them, especially if they're older and not well maintained. In these situations, you need to adjust your skating to compensate. The idea is to avoid getting the wheels of your skate caught up in the rut or groove, especially if it's wider than your wheels. Use the following steps to quickly alter your path and bypass the potential hazard.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: indefinite
Here's How:

1. To spot a rut or groove, always look 10 to 15 feet ahead after you clear the entrance to the bridge.

2. If you see something that looks suspicious immediately in front of you, roll your ankles slightly to the right or left to initiate a quick turn in that direction.

3. After you've moved a couple of feet over to the right or left, rebalance by shifting your weight back over your skates until you're pointing straight ahead again.

4. Without making any strides, glide with both feet together past the rut in the bridge. You should have enough momentum to roll past the hazard and up over the top of the bridge.

5. If you feel yourself slowing down too much, make two or three short strides to pick up speed and then go into another two-footed glide, being careful not to slide into the groove if you're adjacent to it. Ok, but what about those vertical rises at the entrances to some bridges? How do I handle this type of bump? Glad you asked! Read on, as the rest of our how-to covers this situation.

6. The entrances to some bridges, of wooden or metal construction, are inclined with plates, which let you roll smoothly up and onto the bridge without a hitch. However, other bridges have no plates and the ground has eroded away leaving abrupt, 90-degree, vertical rises in your path. In addition, the height of the rise varies. Sometimes, it's only half-an-inch high, but I've come across some as high as three inches. You need to adjust your tactics according to the height of the rise!

7. When your about 20 feet from the entrance to the bridge, look ahead and quickly check the height of the rise.

8. If it's a half inch or less in height, lean back slightly on the heels of your skates and lift your toes up so your front wheels are slightly off the ground when you hit the rise. This means your front wheels will always clear the rise and allow for a smooth transition onto the bridge.

9. On the other hand, if the rise is between one-half and two inches in height, you need to use a different tactic.

10. Slow yourself down by applying your brake just before the entrance.

11. Place your right or left skate out in front of you.

12. Step up and lift your front skate over top of the rise so it lands flat on the bridge.

13. Quickly pull your back skate up and place it flat on the bridge, being careful to lift it high enough so you clear the rise.
Tips:

1. The last tactic takes some timing and coordination, but once you get it right, it'll prove invaluable.
2. If the vertical rise is greater than two inches, the best approach from a safety standpoint is to come to a complete stop at the entrance to the bridge and just step over the rise, one skate at a time.
3. Getting stuck in a deep rut or wide groove can cause an abrupt change in your momentum, which is undesireable as it can cause your upper body to shift rapidly forward or through you out of balance laterally to the right or left.

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