Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Travel Light, Travel Often

Luigino 2013 Backpack

 There are only a few more days to enter your haiku in the comments section!  Get yours entered quickly to be eligible to win a new set of Heartless wheels! *This contest has ended, thank you for all the entries! -Shocker*

Atom Skate Bag
Today we are talking all about traveling.  If you are on a league in a "remote" area like mine and have to travel quite a bit to play other leagues or put on training camps, the Antik Roller Bag and Luigino 2013 Backpack are perfect for carrying your gear.  When packing for long weekenders, I will pack my uniform, a few pairs of socks, a pair of comfy pants, and a couple shirts along with a few Wisp travel tooth brushes and floss.  If I need anything else, I will just borrow it or hope the place I'm staying has it.  Normally, I only need to check bags when I'm bringing stuff to sell or on my return trip.  I like to be able to check my skate bag on my way home since it's not as important to have my skates immediately when I land and can risk my bag being delayed.   A plus for the Antik Roller Bag is that all you have to do to air out your gear is open it up!  It has mesh zippered over two compartments inside the bag so when you open it, everything stays in place.  Genius.

When I am trying not to check a bag and don't have room for all my gear, I will carry my skates on a Bruised Skate Noose and have never had an issue having my Antik Roller Bag, laptop bag, and skates as carry-ons. Plus, the skates are a great conversation starter!

PowerDyne Y Tool

Reflex Skate Tool
Something to keep in mind: TSA will confiscate tools longer than 7".

Some tools under 7" to add to your arsenal include the Y Tool, Reflex Skate Tool,  and  Bones Bearing Tool

Bones Bearing Tool

Stink Out!

If you have a bottle of Stink Out, which I hope you do because it is a miracle for stinky pads, make sure you have it in a plastic bag or somehow protected so it doesn't seep out when pressure causes it to swell.  If you are carrying it on the plane with you, remember it is one of those items TSA wants to see in a Ziploc bag with the rest of your liquid items.  Stink out comes in 2 sizes, 2 oz and 4 oz.  Currently, TSA allows up to 4 oz for each liquid container, so you should be good as long as they don't freak out about something else (we can only hope!).

Now that we have talked about things you should do/carry when traveling, here are a couple tips of things NOT to do.  Don't check your skates if you need them for the trip, they could get lost or delayed and while you can usually borrow or purchase new gear, you probably don't want to break in new skates at a bout.

Don't have a carry-on bag that is too large or too heavy.  Not only do other travelers find it quite annoying to wait for you to attempt to squeeze your bag into the overhead, but flight attendants will end up taking your bag and check in in the belly of the plane, for which many airlines now charge you.  Stay on the flight attendants' good side by knowing the limits and you might just get an extra bag of nuts for your effort.

Lastly, Zuca Bags have become more popular and I even had one for a while, but I gave it away.  It was nice to be able to sit on it the couple times I found myself without a chair and wanting to give my legs a break, but that wasn't worth the stinky gear which couldn't dry inside the bag or having to play Tetris to get all my gear inside.  The regular Zuca Bags don't fit into most airline overhead compartments or under the seat in front of you, however it will fit under the center seat on certain airlines.  If you want to keep your leg room and choice of aisle or window, you could spring $295 for a special travel bag, but why would you do that when you can get other bags that work better for much less?  Just stick with the Antik bag or Luigino backpack and you will save money and have a more enjoyable travel experience.

Well, that's about all I can think of right now.  What are your travel secrets?  Post them in the comments and remember to post your haiku as well so you can be entered to win a set of Heartless wheels!

Until we skate again and safe travels!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Outdoor Skating Part Deux

In the Outdoor Skating post from a couple weeks ago, we talked about what wheels, bearings, and gear work well for taking your skating passion to the street.  I'd like to continue that topic by discussing a few more outdoor skating essentials.

Changes to Your Skates
Other than changing out your wheels and possibly bearings, you will probably want to invest in some softer cushions.  If you don't know much about cushions or even what a cushion is, check out More Cushion for the Pushin.

If you still have the cushions that came with your skates, chances are they are hard.  Hard means stiff, stiff means you are going to feel every crack and pebble.  Stiff means you are going to shimmy your thighs into Jello oblivion.  Stiff means your feet will vibrate until they go numb after a few short minutes of skating.  Get the picture?

If you have already discovered the joys of softer cushions, you may need to go softer or even conical to keep your legs and feet happy for the long haul.

Other things to consider are some sturdy laces and protective leather toe guards.  The best laces I've found so far are hands down Crazy laces.  I haven't seen a broken one yet, which is important because having a lace break puts a damper on any skating activities.  As for toe guards, I recommend getting some plain Derby Vixen toe guards, which are more protective than strips but you won't be getting your fancy ones torn to shreds.

What to wear
What is the weather like?  Are you skating in a hot, muggy climate or will you need to bundle up to stay warm?  Whatever the climate, dress like you are going to work out.  Flexible, moisture wicking clothing that you can wear in layers work best.  Check out Pivot Star's Francey Pants if you are in the market for some sweet workout pants.  If you are in a cold climate it can be important to be able to shed layers as you start to sweat, then replace them as you cool afterwards.

Some skaters like to wear jeans when skating outside to protect themselves from road rash, but I don't recommend them.  Jeans aren't comfortable to work out in and collect sweat like crazy.  Learn to tuck and roll when you fall to reduce the chances of getting road rash.

I suggest wearing sunglasses, even if it isn't too bright out.  They help to keep the wind and bugs out of your eyes as well as excess sunlight.

Pretty much dress like you are going to practice, but add some shades and sunscreen!

What to pack
I have a couple of small back packs with internal bladders that I like to take with me when skating outside.  Not only do they carry my water, but I can also stash my keys, ID, Chapstick, cell phone and sunscreen.

If I'm going for a long skate-over an hour or so-I'll bring some snackage like nuts or energy bars.  Nothing too heavy but substantial enough that you won't have to stop again for a while.

Hopefully these tips will help you enjoy skating outside even more.  If you have your own tips or tricks please share! 

We will be giving away a set of Heartless wheels at the end of May to one lucky G Spot reader, all you have to do to enter is post a Roller Derby themed haiku in the comments.  If you post as "Anonymous," make sure you put a name in your comment along with your haiku so I can enter you in the drawing.

Until we skate again,