Whether you prefer inline skates or traditional quad skates, favor skating on planes or ice; what makes skating all the more fun is the ultimate speed and sheer excitement. This idea of going in speed, with the wind gushing over your face, is something that excites and lures many riders towards speed skating. The concept of speed can barely leave your mind when you are on skates.
Have you ever wondered how fast can inline speed skates go? Ideally, for fitness or recreational skating in the outdoors, the average speed may range between 6-20 miles per hour. However, other factors in the route, such as uphill and downhill movement may further influence the pace of the rider. Some skaters may approach speed as high as 40 miles per hour while moving downhill.
You can quickly achieve high speed with inline skating. The key is to maintain balance with speed. Once you have mastered how to keep balance, you can enjoy the real fun of speed skating. However, your speed may vary depending upon the skating style you prefer. In essence, ice skating is entirely different from inline or roller skating, not only in tactics but also in comfort and skills.
Speed in Different Types of Skating
Skating can be broadly divided into three different categories [source], which impact not only the use of equipment but also training, comfort, speed, and maneuverability:
- Inline Skates – These skates can help you achieve very high speed. However, they require a steep learning curve, especially in the beginning. Once you achieve stability and learn to balance on the skates, you can skate very fast with a wider range of motion.
You may find quad roller skates a lot more stable and easier to use in terms of boosting your speed in comparison with any other skates. You can roll around comfortably because of the extra stability provided by four wheels, which are evenly spaced to support the ultimate balance. Also, it is easier to stop on quad skates. However, you may miss out on the extreme speed you can acquire on a pair of inline skates.
Once you achieve stability and comfort moving on inline skates, you can hit a high rate of speed. It all depends on your level of expertise and the surface you skate on. In the beginning, you should start slow on the inline skates, with a speed of about 2-5 miles per hour. This speed can be the average speed of a newbie or someone who enjoys outdoor skating for leisure and fun. After an experience of a couple of months, you can gradually accelerate your pace to about 6 miles per hour.
Many people take up inline skating as a cardiovascular exercise. They intend to reach a very high speed of about 9 miles per hour. Some exercise guides suggest that inline skating at an optimal speed of 9 miles per hour can help you burn around 350 calories every hour.
Any speed beyond that counts to be racing. However, records reveal that inline skaters may achieve a speed of 20 miles per hour during skate marathon; wherein you need to cover a long distance at a stable speed to finish faster. Your stamina also plays an important role in achieving the speed you can possibly achieve. Further, the landscape may influence your pace. You can achieve higher speeds going downhill, but stopping may be a problem.
- Roller Skates – Typical four-wheel roller skates may not move as fast as inline skates. The quad skates are primarily designed for artistry and not speed. However, skating on a hilly terrain, which has a steep angle, maybe a completely different story. With that said, the acceleration will be caused by the surface and not the skate itself.
You may end up hurting yourself when trying speed tricks with roller skates. You have to keep balance on the rough terrain, maintain speed, and gracefully stop, or you may eventually fall and cut, scrape, or bruise yourself. Even a small crack or tiny gravel on the road may impose a challenge when skating downhill on traditional quad skates.
You can navigate moderate hilly terrains on roller skates at a comfortable speed. Again, it depends on your expertise and ability to handle obstacles or surface issues. In a nutshell, inline skates are more robust and maneuverable when dealing with obstacles in comparison to traditional roller skates.
- Ice Skating – You can achieve very high speed with ice skating. The speeds are comparative to what you achieve with inline skates or rollerblades. Further, the speeds may accelerate when dealing with steep falls or inclines. The surface of ice is smooth and less resistant in comparison to asphalt or concrete, which further supports high speed.
Factors That Influence Speed of the Skaters
The speed of the skaters depends on various conditions far beyond physical training, expertise, and duration. Consider the following factors when analyzing speed for the skaters:
1 – Pavement – The texture of the surface play an important role in speed. Course pavement tends to slow you down. Further, fresh asphalt may look clean and smooth to skate on, but the tar is sticky and may impose extra resistance to slow you down. Especially during hot sunny days when the sun warms up the pavement. Beware of the asphalt when you are skating outside on a freshly patched segment of the road to avoid toppling over.
2 – Wheel durometer – The composition of the material and stiffness of your wheels may contribute to your speed. Wheels get harder and bulky as durometer increases from 0 to 100. The ideal value of the durometer of your wheels should be 85 for skating outdoors.
3 – Wind – The wind may exert a sudden push in or against the direction of motion, thereby affecting your speed. A strong tailwind while moving downhill may seem fun and can accelerate your speed. However, skating in a windy atmosphere may be challenging and take the fun out. Even reasonably low wind may influence your skating speed. It is advisable to monitor the upcoming weather forecast and consider how the direction of the wind may impact your skating.
4 – Wheel size – No denial, the larger the wheels, the faster they roll. Standard skates usually have 80 mm wheels. You can increase wheel size by purchasing skates with a frame designed for larger wheels.
5 – Bearings – Your skates must have suitable bearings. Cheap quality skates with low-quality bearings do not comfortably glide. You may not want to invest in high-tech supreme-quality bearings, but your skates must have decent-quality bearings to support continuous movement and smooth glide. Make sure you check this article How to Choose Roller Skate Wheels Bearings?
How long will it take to travel a mile on inline skates? The time will depend on the speed that you can maintain on your inline skates. Hypothetically, if you skate at eight mph, you may take 7.5 minutes to cover a mile. Again, at an average speed of 10 mph, you can cover the distance in merely 6 minutes. Further, skaters who can maintain a pace of 12 mph can travel a mile in just 5 minutes.
Is it better to have more wheels for high speed? For inline speed skates or rollerblades, more wheels certainly provide a better grip on the road, but at the same time, they also increase the rolling resistance and reduce speed. On the contrary, fewer wheels provide better speed but offer less grip and require more balance and expertise.
What benefits are provided by the three-wheel skates? The three-wheel skates are a staple for the inline skaters or rollerbladers. The first major advantage of these skates is the bigger wheels size. The primary benefits of having bigger wheels are that they reduce vibration, sustain longer, and offer a smoother ride. Further, the three-wheel design maintains a short wheelbase. The larger wheels on the skates provide more glide and are incredibly maneuverable. They provide high top-end speed through an efficient skating experience. You can enjoy a smooth stride and effortless glide even at a fast pace.
Is there a right way to fall during speed skating? A nasty fall is always intimidating. Falling backward may damage your head, hips, tailbone, and spine. Again, falling forward may injure your face. The right way to fall is to keep your body slightly forward and maintain your arms, head, and ribcage away from the surface to prevent a direct hit. Try to sit down using your thighs and one side of the buttocks. This position will absorb the significant impact of the fall and prevent injury to your fragile tailbone area.
The bone in the thighs is considered the biggest and strongest bone [source] in the body. It is further supported by connective tissue and muscle and connective tissue [source]. The thigh bones serve as the best support system during an eventual fall. Never try to use your hands to prevent or help break a fall. Wearing wrist gear may reduce the likelihood of accidental injury when you use your hands to save large parts.