Dusted off the roller-blades (once we found them, hanging behind the winter coats in the closet) for a skate along the canal. We bought two pair of these things about eight years ago because we were living so close to such a nice, smooth paved trail, and it seemed a shame not to try them out. I've used mine about a dozen times over the years. The Wife tried it once or twice and decided it wasn't for her.
Funny, how life was eight years ago, when we'd invest a few hundred dollars sports equipment just to try something out.
They demand a vigorous sort of exercise, these rollerblades; it’s not so easy to have a leisurely adventure with them as it is when bicycling or walking. And they limit where you can go. Long, smooth stretches of pavement are best, and the trails had better be isolated from cars, and they’d better not slope more than a degree or two from the horizontal. You have to carry a pair of shoes along with you if you hope to venture far from the path, and this is on top of the helmet and other protective gear you should have on.
It’s a very first-world leisure activity, rollerblading. It requires a great deal of infrastructure.
Still, we had a good time and I got a good workout while we were at it. The Wife stuck with her vintage bike, of course, as it’s got a pair of brand-new whitewall tires on it and they needed breaking in. The sun was out, the air cool, the wind light. We watched a man land a 12 lb. striper and then toss it back into the water. We spent a good 15 minutes sitting on a park bench, watching the passage of a 30’ sailboat and a 60’ fishing vessel. The fishing boat was remarkably loud with its diesel engines. I wonder if those fishermen keep earplugs in all day, and what the world sounds like to them when they get home and go ashore?
On the way back we found we had the breeze in our face and a slight hill to climb, so by the time we got home I was out of breath and happy we hadn’t gone further before turning around. Time was I could skate all the way to the southern mouth of the canal and back with a lit cigar clamped between my teeth. It seems, perhaps, I’ve let myself go a little.
My own freebie bike needs a new tire. Once that’s taken care of I’ll probably favor that over the rollerblades. It’s easier to zip into town and pick up library books and drink a cup of coffee on the bike. But it felt good to get some use out of these silly old shoes with the wheels on them. When I’m in the mood for jogging, and then remember how much jogging hurts my knees, I’ll just might pull them out again.