Monday, September 15, 2008

Project: Skorpion

Earlier this summer, I tackled the problem of having to walk to Mazo beach. My current situation is the following:

TransportCost (150 miles, $3.80/gal)Travel to BeachEnd Result
Car$19.00 (30mpg)Can fit only 1 bike, so we go at walking speedEaten alive by mozzies
Motorcycle$12.66 (45mpg)No bike, we walkEaten alive by mozzies

Since I don't really like the end result, I carefully evaluated my options. The solution for most people is to purchase a bike rack ($65) for the car. Since the price of gas is always rising, and I'd prefer to ride the motorcycle anyway, I decided to purchase a pair of "Hummers for my feet" ($150). They are quad-line skates with 5 inch wheels -- plenty big for the long gravel path. There are two other options for this type of skate that I could find: The famous Landroller skates ($200) and some even bigger Trail skates ($370). I chose the Skorpion skates (Hummers) due to cost and reviews saying the Landroller boots were very uncomfortable.

The idea was to purchase two sets, one set for each of us, and attach them to the motorcycle. (I only purchased 1 set to try.) This would provide efficient travel to Mazo, and mozzie-dodging travel to the beach. Also, we'd be the first to skate to the beach! At a total of $300, it would require 38 trips to the beach in order to be cost-effective (as compared to taking the car and two bikes, and assuming gas prices don't change).

After waiting a month for them to ship, and almost another month of being too busy, I finally got to skate. I tried pavement, grass, and small-sized gravel similar to Mazo. Years ago, I was pretty good with in-line skates and thought that quad's would be easy. I was wrong -- they don't seem as stable as I'd like.

First of all, the wheels stick out on the inside, which makes it easy for them to catch. Landroller wouldn't have this problem, since the wheels only stick out on the outside. Second, the short wheel-base makes it difficult to keep your balance in the forward/backward direction. Most quads have that issue. However, going on uneven surfaces like gravel makes staying balanced far more difficult since the skates push forward and backward depending on the resistence of that inch of terrain. In other words, there's a big learning curve to using these on gravel or grass! I think that Landroller would be a bit easier since the wheels are slightly bigger and further apart, and the trail skates would be far easier than both of them.

It didn't work as expected. I might be able to skate well enough in them for next year, but would much prefer to try the other skates instead. If you'd like a pair of new Skorpion skates for cheap -- make me an offer!


Allnudist said...

Well, can't say you didn't try!

Say, you run into rangers ocassionally, ask them about those little electric ska5teboardlike scooters, ok?

They're not really motor vehicles, more like mobility-assistance devices. Grteat for thos unable to walk far.

They'll probably say no, but they are allowed in state parks.

Meanwhile, keeep on writin'!

allnudist said...

Holy smokes! Did I make all those typos? I'm soo ashamed...