Just a quick note to say hi, and share experiences which might be useful for anyone else thinking about starting skating for the first time ever & trying to choose skates etc.
First buy skates. I went to Club Blue Room, glad I did (rather than buying online) as there are really few reviews of skates on the net, also manufacturer's websites are not helpful. and I would probably not have got correct sizing and great comfort by buying online. The guy there looked at my feet, recommended Rollerblade as comfortable for me, and spent a lot of time with me. I bought a pair of Rollerblade Spark Pro, I would not have minded if they cost a bit more than buying online, but they did not, it was cheaper than amazon etc. Plus they give a voucher for a beginner's lesson with http://skateinstructor.com
, which was very good. Also had a one-to-one with a skater known on the London scene in exchange for a few beers, and practiced with another, both qualified instructors. Some instruction really makes a difference.
The Spark Pro are super comfortable, and they look good (though the alu frames are pressed and look a bit tinny, & do get scratched up in time). 84mm wheels on the large side maybe for beginner. I wanted a second pair (as I left the first pair in another location where I spend a lot of time), turns out Rollerblade Spark 84 LX are the same skate with slightly different styling. I shopped around. Club Blue Room were still the cheapest I found in UK. I would not order from US. I did find a bargain via German Amazon (may be hard to use though if you don't know the language), but certain sizes only. I guess some German chains sell off all their inline skates at the end of summer. So I ordered from Germany, they came in 3 days and were OK. The Spark Pro say made in China, the Spark 84 LX say made in Vietnam, they seem great though one wheel spins slow, one bearing makes a bit of noise. Not enough to worry me. I would definitely recommend buying in Club Blue Room or maybe your local shop, rather than online. In this case online worked as I knew exactly what model & size I wanted, and I would still have gone to the shop for convenience had I not found a really massive discount.
I'm a slow nervous learner, never had good balance. Learning skiing 3 years back did help, especially helped with confidence (on the basis that I knew if I practice enough I will get it, even it takes me longer than some other people who have skated & skied as kids, etc.). So I just got on the skates almost every day for the past six weeks, sometimes to skate, sometimes just to spend some time getting the feel of them. Now I can skate around town, started going about town (on pavements, not roads) after three weeks on skates in a small town where drivers are patient, though crossing roads is still scary. I keep plimsols tied to my belt so I can always take the skates off if I have to. BTW I had a big fitness gain within first two weeks. It was hard on the thighs, even though I was moderatly fit to start with. You get fit and lose fat without even noticing you are exercising, because you are having fun or concentrating on balance and technique.
I absolutely love it. A great feeling. People on the scene are amazingly friendly even to an incompetent beginner. And pretty women often give me a smile, which I like. It might be with the thought 'look at that wierd old guy, anyway good for him for trying', but I still enjoy it