What to expect

Inline Skaters

Photo: Keiwan Liu

We leave from Wellington Arch at 8pm on Friday. We start from Serpentine Road at 2pm on Sunday. Aim to get there a few minutes early so you don’t miss any announcements and don’t get left behind.

The skates last about two hours and are split into two sections, with a half time break in the middle. Usually we loop back around to the start point, except for special events and skates where we finish up somewhere else and you’ll need to find your own way home.

On Friday, the second half is usually a little faster than the first half.

You need to be a competent skater. You must be able to control your speed on downhills, stop and turn safely, and be confident skating near other people. If you’ve never done a street skate before, the LFNS is not the best one to start with. Try the Sunday Stroll or the Wednesday LondonSkate.

Without being a snob about it, there is a certain minimum standard of construction for skates if they are to be comfortable on London’s roads. For brand-new skates it’s around the £100 mark. If this seems like a lot, why not hire a pair first to see if you’ll like it? Most people use inline skates (a.k.a Rollerblades, but Rollerblade
is just one of several companies that make good skates).

Quads, boards and bikes

Some people come on quads (what most people mean when they say ‘Roller Skates’). Some people turn up with more outlandish equipment yet (e.g. cyclists, skateboarders, inline Nordic skiers) – if this is you, please be mindful of the people around you. For safety reasons we might ask you to follow behind the rear marshal instead of mixing it with the body of the skate.

Too slow?

If you can’t keep up, don’t be discouraged: it’s happened to all of us. You’ll probably find it’s not about the speed but about how long you can keep going for – when you get tired your skating gets sloppy and you’re more likely to make mistakes. Good skating technique helps a lot too: if you’re skating with less effort, you won’t get tired as quickly.

Come back next week and see how much further you get. Practice in the park, or anywhere else convenient to you, and consider taking lessons. We suggest asking on various skate forums – see the links on the right side of the page.