My original reason for acting on this skateboarding whim was to have a vehicle that was more similar to my son's scooter than my bicycle is. Donald is well trained and checks for traffic before tearing across the parking lot at our apartments at least 95% of the time. Being not overprotective but adequately protective, this means I must be close enough to him at all times to remind him that one time out of twenty that he forgets. I was accomplishing this by riding my bike not so near to him that I interfered with his scooting liberty, but near enough I could give a quick shout when there was traffic he didn't see. Riding my bike worked just fine for this, but I wanted to ride my bike when he was riding his bike and ride something like a scooter when he was riding his scooter. Hence the skateboard.
I did many things right when selecting my first skateboard. I chose an 8" wide deck, which I knew was largish for someone of my stature and foot size, and correspondingly wide trucks. I was seeking a stable platform on which to express my skateboarding values of understatedness and non-injury, not a board that would be easy to do nollie backside heelflips on. I also selected what it seemed to me, never having ridden a skateboard in my life, would be good wheels given my level of experience and the surface quality of the parking lot where I would do most of my riding. They were slightly soft and, at 54mm, just a tick larger in diameter than a more skilled street skater would chose. The idea was good; the execution was not, which I will explain.
I knew my first few skating sessions would be periods of intense learning. I would not be able to learn my board and watch Donald at the same time, so I skated by myself. At first, I pushed off with the wrong foot and wrecked spectacularly several times. After correcting that one technique issue, though, the learning progressed quickly. I could get on the board, get off the board, speed it and slow it, and even steer it with some success. After about a week, I felt comfortable that I could survive on my skateboard and keep an eye on Donald at the same time. My vision was becoming reality!
Here's the problem: The wheels on Donald's scooter, you see, are quite large in diameter relative to skateboard wheels and they are molded from a very soft urethane. At one minute we would both be putzing around in the Northwest corner of the parking lot near the entrance from Cambridge street. He would stop at the entrance without prompting, as he does 95% of the time, and I would say There's no cars so you can go! Seconds later, he would be sitting in the far southeast corner of the parking lot, at least a hundred yards from me, playing in the leaves, completely oblivious to the fact that the reverse lights of the car parked just a few spaces from him have just come on. I never realized how fast that damn scooter was!
Anyway, the solution was fairly simple. Filmer wheels! These 57mm Ricta Clouds wheels are super soft and super quiet. I'm not sure that they're all that much faster than hard wheels, but they are fast and they roll about five times as far with each push. Plus they look bad-ass, like gumbo mudders for your skateboard. They're great fun! Most importantly, though, I can come pretty close to keeping up with Donald on his scooter. If there's a downside to these wheels at all, it's that they don't slide. I might need to reinstall the old wheels before trying to powerslide across three lanes of asphalt.