We’ve all been there. You reach over to shut off the alarm, only to realize that you’ve hit the snooze button five times. You’ve missed the bus again. What to do if you can’t just call it a day and stay in bed? Maybe you can walk, if you’re lucky enough to live close to school. Or, if you ride your board, maybe you can make it by first hour. Hey, it’s one less tardy.
Before you decide to skate to school, though, you should know what you’re getting yourself into. If you got a board for Christmas three years ago and it’s still sitting unused in the closet, maybe consider calling a cab. The same goes if you used to skate and you’re still holding on to some poor, decrepit, thrashed-out old setup. But, if you know what you’re doing, don’t hesitate. Grab a quick breakfast pastry — untoasted — and hit the door. Here’s what you’ll need to know.
Skate to School Checklist
Look, we’re skating for transportation here, not working on our progression. No hitting that perfect marble ledge at the bank on the way to class; you’ve got somewhere to be. Don’t let that get you down, though. Skating for transportation can be freeing in its own right.
If you’ve got the basics of skateboarding down, using a board to traverse the urban landscape is exhilarating. Moving past, around or over obstacles and going faster than everyone else is Zen-like. It gives you some time to let yourself go and just... be. You’ll want new or like-new components, though. The ride is a lot less liberating when you spend all your time pushing, and it takes much longer.
The whoosh of bearings during an ollie gives every skateboarder the chills, but only if the bearings are clean and functional. The dirt and grime that builds up in bearings scores the metal and slows them down over time. The heat and friction takes a permanent toll, and worn bearings are never coming back to life. Yocaher bearings are fast and smooth right out of the box, and they can renew the feel of your whole setup.
Second only to the hiss of spinning bearings, the roar of urethane on concrete stirs skaters’ souls. The urethane in skateboard wheels does not last forever, though. Nose slides, tail slides, power slides — They each take a toll on wheels and create mind-numbing and board-slowing flat spots. The whole process is so gradual, you might not even be aware of how much your wheels have degraded. But, when you put on some fresh Yocaher urethane, the speed and smoothness of your original complete returns.
What About Longboards?
The same rules apply if you’re longboarding to school: no lingering. Whether you’re on a speedy cruiser or a freeride setup, it’s time to see what those wheels and bearings can do. If you have Yocaher wheels, you’re in business. They can handle practically any terrain you throw at them, and they slide like butter. But, there’ll be time for peeling off urethane after school. It’s time to pack up and roll.
Throw These in Your Backpack
We know, the books you bring home to study every night are a heavy load, and they probably leave little space for anything else. But there are a few essentials that you should wedge into your backpack if you can. Cram them in if you have to, just don’t get caught needing and not having these items.
A broken bearing can derail a skate session, but it is a calamity when you’re trying to beat the clock. Keep a spare bearing on hand just in case. Having a spare truck bolt, kingpin nut and axle nut is also a good idea. And remember, the right tools get the job done quicker. You’ll need a screwdriver or Allen wrench — depending on the type of truck bolts you use — and a skate tool will keep you from having to lug around a socket set.
Cleaning and lubing bearings is a chore that few skaters enjoy, and most of us put it off for as long as possible. Those old, rusty spinners in your wheels are bound to seize up sooner or later, though, and Murphy’s Law dictates that it’s going to be at the most inopportune time. Even picking up dirt from the street on a single ride can make bearings start to creep. Keep a small bottle of lubricant like Speed Cream in your pack for an emergency bearing restoration.
It’s okay. We all reach that day when we have to turn to deodorant to control odor. If you skate every day, you might have grown immune to it, but the combination of sweat and street grime produces a rank cloud that follows skateboarders. Pack a small can of deodorant body spray to keep from offending everyone at school. If you plan on doing some real skating after school, leave the deodorant stick at home. Antiperspirant sticks can melt when left in the sun. Then, not only are you out of deodorant, but you have a nice pool of goo at the bottom of your pack.
The skateboard is the single greatest achievement of mankind’s ingenuity, but it carries its own set of challenges as a form of transportation. Schools have parking lots and bike racks, but they never have skateboard parking. It is left to skateboarders to figure out something to do with their boards.
If you’ve gotten permission to skate to school, you might have gone over this with a teacher or principal, but you will need some place to store your board. If you have a locker, you may be in luck. That is, of course, if the space is large enough to accommodate a skateboard. If not, or if you ride a longboard, you’ll have to make other arrangements. A particularly cool teacher or administrator may allow you to stow your board in a classroom or office. Or, maybe a janitor will let you stash it in a broom closet. Storing your board anywhere safe is better than option B.
If there is absolutely no space to keep your board where it safe from theft and out of the way, the only other choice is to carry it. Whatever you do, though, don’t walk around looking like a poser all day. Don’t mall grab it by the truck or perform the dreaded nose-pinch maneuver, and don’t go clanking it off the other people in the halls between classes.
Carrying a skateboard is wrong as a matter of principle. If it was meant to be carried, they would have put handles on the thing. If you’re forced to carry your board, consider purchasing a dedicated skateboarding backpack. Look for one with adjustable Velcro straps on the back so you can cinch your board up tight. There are even some newer packs that can accommodate longboards, though most are designed for street-style setups. Even on days when you don’t miss the bus, a skate backpack lets you represent the brotherhood.
Honestly, there’s no need to pretend to miss the bus. If you want to skate to school, don’t let anything stop you. If you know where you’ll keep your board at school, and you have a suitable pack with some critical gear onboard, there’s no reason to keep taking the bus. If you have your board, you’re ready to rip as soon as the last bell sounds, and any random curb at school can become an obstacle to shred.