Oh man, these are the absolute worst. Sure, people say that having big, soft Longboard wheels will solve your problem of feeling the jitters in the road, but there are those roads that no matter what you do to try and prevent yourself from being thrown off your board, it happens anyway! There are these ugly, nasty roads out there with these big cracks in the ground and years of tar snakes that have absolutely just conspired against you to try and remove any kind of pleasure that you could possibly get from your short ride to the store 3 blocks from your house.
And the worst thing is, you know these aren’t going to be fixed any time soon, because you probably live in a residential neighbourhood and it seems that city governments just forget about residential roads about 4 months after they’re built.
It’s a pandemic. Bring up a petition with your neighbours to get your neighbourhood roads repaved! Fresh, grippy and smooth asphalt is the biggest turn-on for the esteemed downhill skateboarder.
I have a story about this. Back in March, a group of friends and I decided to go skate and exploring. This means that you take a car, drive out to a neighbourhood that you’ve never been to before, and skate little hills and pathways that you may find.
We came up on this big, big hill. I mean like, a path down from the top that takes at least 70 seconds to get down. So we decide pretty unanimously to skate it, but it turns out that there’s a very bad patch of road at the bottom. We’re all running through this going 55 km/h, and we all get mad wobbles, because the badly cracked pavement was tossing our wheels from side to side. It wasn’t a fun time. Always scout out your lines before you skate them! You never know what kind of madness you will run into.
There’s another road that we do every week on our weekly night-ride circuit. There’s this giant pothole in the middle of the ground that every single time no matter how many times we remind each other, someone runs into and wipes out.
People who don’t walk in a straight line. Only if I could by something from the Longboard store to fix this!
If you already longboard, you probably know how big of a pain it is to have people in front of you. But you can dodge them, since you’re skilled enough to after a week or two of straight riding. But you know what’s not easy to dodge? People who don’t walk in a straight line. These people absolutely push me to the end of the cliff. Why can’t you just walk in a straight line so I can pass you? Must you absolutely assert your dominance over the sidewalk so that no person, on wheels or not, can pass you and maybe get to where they want to go on time?
I don’t know. It just doesn’t make sense to some people just refuse to stand and walk in a straight line. I don’t want to mention stereotypes but you can honestly confine them to a few different types of people, namely very old people.
Longboard wheels that don’t roll fast enough.
See, we’re longboarders. We like going fast, or at least we like rolling for an extended period of time. So wheels that don’t roll fast enough are a nuisance to us since that slows us down and impedes our ability to get from point A to point B.
So, when we buy longboard wheels from the longboard store that don’t roll fast enough, we get angry. I remember a few months ago I splurged 60 dollars on a set of slide wheels, but when I tried to get to school with them, I found myself pushing 3 times as much. I wish I hadn’t. They’re horrible wheels too. I regret everything. I wish I was smarter.
But yeah, this why we run super big wheels, because aside from commuting, we also like to go fast, and big wheels let us do that. So that is why we don’t just longboard on regular skateboard wheels.
It’s a pretty bad feeling when you are trying to ride side by side with a friend, but you can’t keep up because you have bad wheels on. You just slowly fall behind in speed until they’re 50 meters ahead of you and you’re inching down the hill. It’s pretty frustrating. Make sure you have quality wheels on before you race with somebody!
Cyclists are so gosh-darn entitled! They want the road to themselves and it doesn’t seem like they are ready to share it in any way. I’ve had many run-ins with cyclists before, and every single one of them has been them being ignorant and extremely rude to skaters.
On one occasion, a man in his late 40s came up to us and called us scum. Told us how expensive his bike was and how the carriage he was carrying had his dog inside. He proceeded to follow us for about a kilometer, shouting obscenities and trying to scare us. We caught up with some friends and he left.
It’s just that, we like the road. The road is where our sport happens and it doesn’t make us particularly happy when someone hogs it all to themselves. We’re all about right of way, sharing the road, and passing each other when it happens! But cyclists seem to think that the road was built for them.
We love good cyclists though!
Okay. This is pretty specific to people who do downhill and freeride, but guardrails are the bane of strong, healthy, intact, non-paralyzed backbones.
Guardrails massively screw you up. You slip out in the middle of an extremely fast slide and you just casually glide into a guardrail, there, you get a broken something. You’re doing 180s and you somehow high side head first into a guardrail? That screws you up. In the head, and that’s not good.
I have a friend who just got out of the hospital because he hit a guardrail and started convulsing on the ground. He has major nerve damage, among other things. Lesson of the day, whenever someone says, hey, let’s go out to this new hill I’ve been checking out, ask if it has guardrails in any fast corners. You may risk becoming injured for the rest of your life.
There is this really nice hill in the middle of my city beside the longboard shop. It has paths going down it, and it could totally be a great freeride path, but nobody really uses it aside from the expert here and there because it has these super long guardrails going by it. It isn’t particularly the definition of a safe learning hill. The guardrails have dents in them from people’s helmets.
Damaged Longboard Wheels.
There’s a pretty good definition of a healthy wheel and a wheel that won’t serve your needs for much longer. Good, healthy wheels are usually round, and all 4 wheels are usually the same size due to the rider rotating them every session of every few slides. Rotating runs off of a few different chains of logic. Firstly, not every wheel can wear the same way, realistically. At the best, wheels will wear so that the tread is still flat, but each wheel will still wear at a different pace. Usually, in order of most worn the least worn, the back heelside wheel, the front heelside wheel, the back toeside wheel, and then the front toeside wheel will wear. So what people have come up with is a rotation system based on the rotation of car wheels. Pretty much, the wheels rotate counter-clockwise at every major step in the wear cycle, for example after a few slides in a slide jam, after a long and fast downhill run, or just during routine maintenance. Personally, I number my wheels on the inside to keep track. I’ve kept wheels in good condition for months after they should have expired by other people’s standards.
But really, unhealthy wheels are a drag. When you’re parkading or skating a long, flat path, you’ll feel those little bumps in those wheels. And in case of a flat spot, I’ve seen wheels that sound like a helicopter and make a very loud “BRRRRRRRRRRRRRR” sound. That isn’t pretty. In this case, you wear out those flat spots! Do some slides (a lot of slides) and really focus on keeping it at a 90-degree angle. It’s just not a pleasant feeling.
Bad Longboarders who ride the best longboards
We’re all longboarders. But we all accept each other because we respect each other and make sure that we accept and care and teach each other all the time. This is what makes the community go around. However, there are some bad longboarders out there who don’t really focus a lot on those values that we all try to share. Even more often than not they have the best gear! See my rant about Jon - Poser's riding the best longboard brands with no idea!
They're are people who threaten others over races, spew obscenities, make a lot of noise and just do things that don’t really benefit the scene of longboarding very much. Sometimes, the things that they do affect us in a negative way and we don’t really appreciate that.
There are some longboard brands out there, one in particular (I’m not mentioning their name), that promotes a bad lifestyle. I’m talking drugs, hooliganism, breaking property, skating in places where you shouldn’t be skating and just generally fooling around in ways that severely depreciate the value of the community every day that they are out there. They skate the inside of museums, for goodness’ sake.
If you want to become part of the community, and blend in like everyone, either pro or not had to at one point in their careers, also adhere to the values that we represent. Or you will become like that company, ostracized from the rest of the community because nobody wants to be around bad influences.
When you go down, it’s pretty imperative that you go back up. By this, I mean that once you ride down your favorite hill, you’re going to be climbing back up. This part of a ride isn’t really fun, but I’ll be honest with you, it’s the only exercise we really get in this sport. Come to think about it, the whole sport is literally just standing on a board for 30 seconds at a time. But it’s fun. What gives?
Climbing back up to the top is tedious, no matter if it’s a shallow hill, or a short, steep one. It still tires you out. After your first run, your legs and ankles get so tired from climbing up the hill that your performance actually starts to go down. One of the most notorious hikes is the Maryhill Loops Road. It’s a 3-minute long descent, and then you hike to the top over a course of about 40 minutes. 40 minutes of climbing up a 6% grade hill will probably kill you on the inside. My local hill (We call is Scarbs) is a mellow 8% hill, and by the time we’re done our first run and we’re done walking back up, our legs are so tired that everyone is visibly slower the next time down!
We’ve made some solutions, the most obvious of which is just getting someone to bring their car and drive us up and down the run each time. What a lot of people do is, everyone pitches in maybe 3 dollars each for gas, and then we just go ride hard. Skitching is another solution, where the car’s windows are all rolled down, and we grab the car’s window frames and we get pulled up. Skitching is a shortened form of “Sketchy Hitch-hiking”. Pretty neat, and it’s a ton of fun as well.
Unfriendly Police Officers.
We’re longboarders, but in a broad sense of the sport, we’re honestly just skateboarders on oversized skateboards. And yes, we’re quite different. We don’t really cause damage to stuff, we can’t really skate everywhere and anywhere, but not many people notice this fully. Many people still group us in with that mindset from the late 70s where “Skateboarders are bad! They make noise and they’re bad for the community!” was the general opinion and this led to a lot of places being closed to skateboarders.
These days, that kind of opinion still lingers around. It happens quite a bit that cyclists and roller bladers are totally welcome to hang out in a city plaza, but as soon as a longboarder comes by and plops down, we’re told, “Shoo! We don’t want your kind here!”
This stuff happens quite often, but honestly, we’ve mostly learned to accept it as it is. However, something that we really can’t get over is bad police officers who follow us on our runs and do things that make us crash, and then give us tickets for enjoying ourselves. Mind you, most of these tickets get waived as soon as we appeal them in court, but they’re given out to us in the first place anyway.
If you really think about it, skateboarding isn’t a crime. Roads are usually open to vehicular use, powered or unpowered, and there’s no reason why longboards can’t fit into that category. When we bring this up to police officers, they usually then give us tickets for disruptive behavior, which also doesn’t make sense.
10. Rusted Bearings.
Lastly, rusted bearings. Rusted bearings are the worst. They make ungodly sounds, make your wheels roll slower, smell like rotten steel, they’re the color of spaghetti sauce that has been left out for too long.
The worst is when you’re at the top of a hill before a run and you just randomly discover that your bearings are rusted. No more longboarding for you.
WEAR A HELMET. –Ryan L, Longboarder.
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