Skateboard as a mode of transportation

To start, I’m not a skater. Nor have I ever been on a skateboard for more than a few minutes at a friends house or something. Yesterday I saw a kid “cruising” down the sidewalk on a skateboard and he seemed to be working pretty hard to keep moving at a not very fast speed. I mean I understand having one to do tricks or whatever, but just for a leisurely stroll down to the store or something? I’m sure he spent as much time with one leg on the ground pushing as he did coasting if not more. It occurred to me that’s what I’ve seen quite often regardless of age, though i’m not sure if quality of skateboard would factor in. I would assume some of them had good ones. Now, I’m pretty out of shape but from the looks of it, if I had rollerblades on, I’d easily beat him in a race using a tenth of the effort that he was exerting. The wheels seem pretty hard if I remember correctly and go clump clump clump over every sidewalk seam and the drag on unsmooth surfaces seems terrible. So, what is the appeal here? Are my eyes deceiving me and showing me someone going a lot slower and working a lot harder than he really is? I almost suspect that walking is more efficient unless there is a hill involved.

ooops. I think this was supposed to be in general questions maybe? Please move as necessary.

Maybe he was a beginner.

Lots of people I knew in high school commuted on their skateboards.

Well, there are skateboards and there are skateboards. If he had a regular skateboard, the kind you do tricks on, and it was in bad shape, he could easily be working pretty hard. But there are skateboards more designed for traveling than tricks, normally called longboards. These are longer (duh), sometimes with larger wheels and often better bearings. Someone better informed than me should be in here shortly to give an in depth answer.

They’re probably not commuting very far, or trying to look cool while they move.

I’d like to see a skateboard outrace a road bike. Or even a fold-up one.

I used to commute from my apt to subway stations and around campus on a skateboard until I was 27 years old and moved back up here. Thinking back, it felt like I could maintain the same speed as an all out sprint for the effort of a slow jog. I HATE longboards, they’re skateboards for people who don’t know how to skateboard. That being said, a couple of modifications are required to turn a regular skateboard into a cruiser:

  1. Big soft wheels with good bearings - you can coast a long way on level ground with good bearings and you want big soft wheels so you don’t get stuck on every little pebble. Don’t ride in the rain unless you like buying bearings.

  2. Risers for the trucks so your wheels don’t rub the deck. Also, I tighten the crap out of my trucks to avoid speed wobbles on high speed downhills.

Sweet! Transportation that fits in a backpack! (sort of) These mods decrease a board’s flippability and makes it heavy - but you can still do all the tricks you can normally do with a lighter board, you just have to work harder.

I had to quit riding not only because of where I live now, but because I broke my foot doing something that I had walked away from a thousand times before. 27 is too old to skateboard unless you’re in ‘athlete shape’ which I am not. :frowning: