The attendant on the flight to Anchorage raises his eyebrows and I can see him doing the mental math…. or trying. “Ok, the plane is full, she has a backpack and a small personal item – check. But what is THAT?” By the time I pass him, I see his expression change from suspicion – am I sneaking on a third piece of carry-on? – to curiosity – how am I going to get that thing in the overhead bin? The skate portage contraption (padded grippy luggage strap, small bungy cord and hair tie) is my solution to the traveling-with-skates dilemma. And I never travel without them. If I check them, I may not have them for skating tonight when I land. If I put them in a carryon bag, it’s a battle with the bin door.
My new Rollerblade Tempests won’t fit in a trad skate bag.
Half the fun of traveling with this hobbled contraption is watching the looks I get. You can almost read the thought bubbles.
“Those wheels are HUGE!” This look is followed by the full body once-over, the search for visible wounds…
“People still Rollerblade?” I HATE that one. Tells me we skaters have some promoting to do!
“She’s in good shape… no wonder…” Then I might see a regretful look down at an oversized belly ….
“I used to do that and it was so much fun!” That’s when I know I have met my new mark.
I started traveling with my skates exposed out of necessity, but have learned a far more valuable side benefit. I get to talk to imperfect strangers about skating. And skates. And why they should get out their old (fill in the blank … Solomons, K2s, Zetrablades, Bravoblades, etc.). We talk about how they got into skating. Who bought them their first pair of skates. I watch for that faraway look in their eyes and wait for the “I probably couldn’t do it anymore” … and I know it’s time to close the deal. My iPad2 is my ally in the war to win back skaters wherever I go. In under 60 seconds I have Mr. (or Ms.) Usedtobeaskater looking for paths in his local area and pointing him to the growing network of resources for skaters. Yes, growing. The sport is growing again. More on that tomorrow. Today, I have some skating to do. Alaska is my 24th state and I won’t miss a moment. My Zephyr friends are waiting.
“own your roll”