Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find some answers to common questions. If you have a question that isn't answered here, feel free to post it to the email list.

1. You look way too fast for me -- I'll never be able to skate with you because I can't keep up.

Triangle Skating Club isn't about skating fast. It's about finding other skaters in the area and having fun while skating. Sure, there are a few of us that train for races, but that isn't the focus of the club. Even if you have no desire to ever skate fast, you are welcome to join us on any of the "beginner" skates. (We might also refer to them as "no-drop," "social," or "fun" skates.) There are more and more recreational skaters joining all the time, so we're always going to have these types of skates, and they'll always be at a pace that everyone is comfortable with. So come on out and join us!

2. None of the skates take place anywhere near me. Can we organize a skate somewhere else?

Of course we can. One of the reasons for having the club is to make it easier for people to find each other to skate, wherever they are. The best thing to do is to post a message to the email list and see if there are any other people interested in meeting at a specific time and place. If enough people are interested in doing it on a regular basis, we can even add it to the calendar.

3. The descriptions of the skates say a helmet is required. Do I really have to wear one?

Well, we like to encourage safe skating, and a helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment you can have. Many of us skated in the past without helmets, but came to realize that protecting your head is just too important. We see many people on the trail with every piece of protective gear possible - knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards - but no helmet! They're protecting everything but the most important part of their bodies... So yes, helmets are required. You can get them at any bike shop -- even Walmart and Target carry them. Will we kick you out if you show up without one? Probably not... But you really should have one, and we will keep encouraging (nagging) you to get one if you keep showing up without one. It's only because we care... :)

4. Okay, so you've talked about helmets. What other equipment is useful?

Protective gear is always a good thing, especially if you're still learning. Knee pads, elbow pads, and especially wrist guards. Don't worry about feeling "out of place" if the other people aren't wearing as much padding as you. It's definitely better to have too much padding and not need it, than to not have enough and get hurt.

Another useful item to have is a hydration pack. The most common brand is called Camelbak, and they can be found in various sizes at bike stores and sporting goods stores. A hydration pack is a small backpack or fanny-pack that holds water in it, and has a tube that you can drink from while skating. Especially during the summer, you don't want to get too dehydrated while doing any form of exercise, including skating. You can carry a water bottle instead, but they don't hold as much and aren't as convenient to carry as a backpack.

The good thing about having a hydration pack is there's usually a little room to carry a few things in it also. A few examples of items that you can carry: cellphone, driver's license, a few dollars in case you need to buy something, a powerbar or other snack, and a couple tools for adjusting your skates if necessary.

5. Some of your skates are out on the road. Isn't that dangerous?

Well, the road skates are definitely for experienced skaters. There is some additional risk when skating in traffic. However, we carefully pick the routes to avoid high-traffic areas when possible. Many of the routes we skate are used by bicyclists too, and we basically follow the same rules that bicyclists do. So the risk involved really isn't any different than riding a bike.

6. I'd like to start doing the road skate, but I'm not sure if I'm good enough...

Skating on the road has a few challenges that skating on a trail doesn't. Obviously, there are cars to deal with, but not too many on the routes we skate. The key is to not panic when one goes zooming by you. Another challenge is hills. The course may have steeper or longer hills than you've climbed before, so you might get tired. And of course, there are downhills as well -- so you should be comfortable going downhill, and able to brake when necessary. Another challenge is the surface of the road. We try to pick routes with as much smooth pavement as possible, but sometimes it's not possible to avoid some rough roads. Particularly rough road is called "gatorback." It's a little harder to skate on rough road than it is to skate on smooth road, so you'll get tired faster. But, we do try to avoid the rough roads if we can.

If you've never skated on the road before, we would prefer to have you come to one of the trail skates, or come out to the track, before joining us on the road. That way, we can make sure you'll be okay once you get out there. You'll need to be able to skate about 25 miles (or whatever the length of the course is we're doing that day). You'll also need to be able to use your brake effectively.

7. I've tried skating down hills before, but I don't feel like I'm in control, or that I can stop myself if I need to...

This is fairly common, but goes away with practice. If you're not comfortable going down hills, you should stick to the trail skates and the track skates until you have mastered them. We can help you learn to stop more effectively, which usually makes people feel more "in control" when going down hills. Braking is definitely a must-have skill. Feel free to come out to the track and practice with us. Once you've mastered it, your enjoyment will increase dramatically.

Another cause of feeling out of control comes from skating technique. If your skates "wobble" at high speeds, your weight is most likely too far forward. Try to get your weight back on your heels. A good test is to see if you can wiggle your toes. Also, make sure your wheels are perpendicular to the ground, your feet close together, and your knees bent. Again, come on out to the track and we can help you work on these things so that you're more comfortable on a hilly course.

8. You mentioned races earlier. What events do you train for?

There are a lot of inline skating races around the country, but not many in this area. So we generally have to travel if we want to do a skating-only event. The few of us that do participate in races often attend ones that are marathons (26 miles) or longer. One race in particular we do is called Athens to Atlanta, which is an 87 mile race in Georgia.

We also participate in some cycling events around the area. These come up from time to time, and have distances ranging from 10 miles to 100 miles. We participate in a 2-day cycling event called Tour to Tanglewood, which is a charity ride for MS Society. In past years, there have been around 1000 cyclists, and about 10 skaters. We'd love to get the skater participation up of course!

See the calendar page for a list of local and non-local events that we may be participating in...

9. I could never skate the kind of distances you mentioned for the races! You're all nuts!

Well, we may very well be nuts... :) However, anyone can skate those distances with a little bit of training. We can even help you put together a training plan. It's very empowering to finish an 87 mile skate. (Or even a 26 mile skate for that matter.) Just remember, all of us started out as beginners. There's nothing magical about being able to do these events. Try it - you'll like it! Trust us... :)

10. I'm thinking about getting new skates. What should I get?

Well, that's a very complicated question. It really depends on what kind of skating you want to do, what your budget is, and a bunch of other factors. Your best bet is to ask on the email list. You can also search the list archives and see past discussions on this topic.

11. So there are TWO email lists? Why???

In the beginning, there was just one email list -- InlineNC. And that list is where the bulk of the discussions take place. So if you have questions about skating technique or equipment, events that are coming up, or anything else - that's where they belong.

The TriangleSkateClub email list was created to fill a very small niche. That is, just finding out who is skating on a particular day. You see, people from all over the country subscribe to InlineNC, so we don't really want to bother them with emails like "I'm going to be skating in Durham today - anyone want to join me?"... Emails like that are what the TriangleSkateClub list was created for. Some cross-posting does happen on occasion, so you might get some duplicate emails by subscribing to both lists, but it's pretty minimal.

To get the most benefit, you should subscribe to both InlineNC and TriangleSkateClub. You can get InlineNC in "digest mode," which will be just one email per day, if you find the number of emails to be too much.

12. Where can I find other information online about skating?

Check out the links page. There we will have links to other skating clubs, skate manufacturers, events, online stores, instructors, and anything else skating related that we come across.

If you have a site that you think should be listed, post a message to the email list or email us directly.

13. Are there any fees for being a member of Triangle Skate Club?

Triangle Skate Club is totally free. We're just in the process of getting organized now, and growing the club. In the future we may start having a nominal membership fee to cover expenses like the website and advertising. However, if we do that it will be as little as possible. We're not here to make money. We're here to skate! And the only purpose of having a membership fee will be to attract more skaters.

But don't worry about that now... We're not charging anything, so just come on out and skate!

14. Is there anything I can do to help?

Of course! Spread the word! What we need most is to let everyone know that the club exists. So if you know anyone that skates, tell them about us. We're trying to become a more noticeable presence in the area, so the more people we have out skating, the better.

Now, if you'd like to help out in other ways, we can always use a hand. Whether it's helping with the website, or driving around trying to come up with new places to skate, or designing logos and t-shirts, we'll take whatever help we can get.

15. I want to learn to skate better? Can someone help me?

You're definitely welcome to ask any questions you might have while skating. We will certainly try to answer any questions you have, or make some suggestions on things to improve your technique. The times we're at the track are really good for working on improving your technique...

You can also take classes with an instructor, which we can help you find.

Additionally, you may want to attend a clinic. We recommend the following: