How to Rollerblade on Rough Ground

Rollerblading is complete freedom and boundless adventure. And all of us at are passionate about it. But what happens when you encounter uneven terrain, rough roads, bumpy paths, and rugged urban streets? We’ll show you how to rollerblade on rough ground like a champ.

Also read: How to rollerblade for the first time

In this tutorial, you’ll learn tips and techniques that will help you inline skate safely and with confidence. Honestly though, you will never skate cracked, bumpy, and rocky surfaces the same way you skate smooth ones. But at least, you won’t have to take off your skates every time the riding gets tough.

Also read: Best novice-level inline skates

How to Inline Skate on Uneven Surfaces: A Video Tutorial

Watch Bujie at 2:18 to learn how he skates on bumpy dirt roads

Inline skating on bad roads and poorly maintained sidewalks can be a nightmare if you don’t know how to do it like a pro. Rough surface rollerblading is one of the 11 inline skate tricks demonstrated in the video above published on our Youtube channel.

Embrace the Tough Challenge; Don’t Complain

If you’re like most people, you’ll likely complain and whine about the deplorable state of roads where you’re at. But that’s not super productive if you want to become a badass inline skater.

Here’s what to do instead. View the rough road or surface as a challenge that you can actually conquer.

As you master how to rollerblade on rough terrain without toppling over all the time and likely hurting yourself, your balance will get better. Also, your riding ability will improve…with time and practice. We speak from experience here.

Instead of allowing roughness to intimidate you, take it on and defeat it. That’s what skaters with a can do attitude react when they encounter crappy sidewalks, cracked streets, and other bumpy surfaces.

Wear Protective Gear, Because You’ll Likely Go Down

We all know there’s absolutely no way to eliminate falling when it comes to rollerblading. Falls are a fact of life that we have accepted and even embraced.

But falling is never fun, and I don’t know anyone who enjoys it. And there are certain skating situations that tend to increase the odds of falling over. Rough ground rollerblading happens to be one of those scenarios.

Get the Stance and Weight Distribution Right

a person riding inline skates over a rough stretch of a road
Bujie of riding rollerblades across a rough patch on a low quality road

To inline skate on rough roads safely…

Shift your weight away from the front wheel so that obstacles will not trip you up all the time.
Bend over a little, not too far forward to avoid falling headlong.
Keep your knees bent even more deeply and stay low for better stability.
As you shift your weight away from the front wheel, don’t transfer it to the rear wheel. Instead, move your weight to a position over the center of the skate.
When you begin to lose balance, adjust your overall stance to prevent a crash. Your body is intelligent in its own weird way and knows what to do to regain the balance every time you lose it.
If the outdoor surface is extremely bad quality, you usually don’t have a choice other than to just walk on your skates. Walking on rollerblades isn’t technically different than walking in sneakers or skate shoes. However, it’s a weird stance and it’s not unusual for strangers to gawk, so embrace that, too.

That’s a summary of what to do when faced with a rough road or other low-quality surface. Let’s now add some meat to this quick-and-dirty guide on rough-road inline skating.

This Advice Never Grows Old

When it comes to inline skating, there’s one piece of advice that never gets old: stay low. One more time won’t hurt, so bend your knees deeper and stay low. You do this to improve stability and minimize the chances of going down. Also, keep a somewhat wider stance for the same reason: stability.

Your Chest Should Lean a Tad More Forward

Your back shouldn’t be super straight, though. I know this conflicts with the standard rollerblading advice of ”keep your back straight up”. But if you follow that advice when rolling over large cracks, rocks strewn allover the surface, and potholes, you won’t like what would happen.

If you don’t bend over a little and have your chest over the toes, you’re likely to fall backwards and hit the back of your melon. Helmeting up certainly helps, but it makes sense to make backward falls less likely.

Have Most of Your Weight Over the Center of the Skates

How does weight distribution change when skating on rough ground? When doing regular skates on smooth streets or sidewalks, your front wheels bear a little more weight than the rear wheels.

But when rollerblading on rough roads, you don’t want to have the majority of your weight over the front wheel. Instead, have the bulk of the weight over the center of the skate.

Before I learned this trick, a small rock would always trip me up. And I’d fall over and kiss the pointy edges of the terrible surface with my palms, which hurt real bad.

Use Protective Gear, a Helmet and Pads

peter of skating magic with a helmet on as well as elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards

We get it. Many skate helmets give you that dorky look. Plus, it’s not unusual for some skaters to joke about padding up.

Some skaters , especially skateboarders, are notorious for not wearing any kind of protection. No helmet and no pads. But someone takes an extremely bad fall every once in a while. And the wise take notice and change their ways.

We at take a dim view of anyone who thinks helmeting up and wearing wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads is silly or uncool. The gear ain’t necessary attitude is plain stupid. It’s the quickest route to the emergency room.

Inline skating on rough ground can (and does) increase the likelihood of crashing phenomenally. We strongly recommend wearing a certified skate helmet, and wrist guards designed to make fractures less likely to happen.

We’ve looked around, and no wrist guards protect better than the Demon Fleximeter Wrist Guards. Skaters on this subreddit have praised these pads heaps. We’re actually thinking of ordering them and putting together a video to explain how they differ from their competitors.

How to Inline on Rough Roads: Conclusion

Embrace rough terrain as a challenge to conquer in your rollerblading journey. Maintain the right stance, distribute weight strategically, and wear protective gear to skate confidently and safely. But if you’re looking at an extremely rough stretch, walking on your rollerblades may be best.