Special Series: Alternative Transportation

By: Jodie Darrell, Staff Reporter | Photos By: Scott M. Roberts


“Transportation” is a special fall term series that looks at various means of transportation. Look for “Scooters” in issue three.

Longboarding as a primary mode of transportation can be challenging, but worth it for the long-term benefits, said former student Kevin Baca.

Learning the best roads for travel and severe hip pains were two of the biggest hur­dles for Baca, he said. The ben­efits were time management skills, self-reliance, health and self-esteem, he said.

“I think it has made me stronger in the long run. I don’t get sick nearly as often. I feel better throughout the entire day. There isn’t a point when I get ter­ribly tired,” said Baca.

More perks of longboard­ing are a heightened awareness of surroundings and time man­agement skills, said Baca.

“You are the one getting yourself there. There isn’t a motor that can pull you or a better street to take. You have to find the quickest route and take that one every time, even if it’s not the easiest route,” said Baca.

For people who are not motivated to go to the gym, longboarding is good exer­cise. Baca said he skates a minimum of 28 miles per day. Longboarding makes staying in shape easy, said Baca.

Longboarding is a fluid movement that can be easier than bicycling because, once a flow is established, it allows the rider to move forward without exerting much effort, said Baca.

Longboards that are made from bamboo or other recycled wood are available for purchase. Bamboo is an easily renewable resource. Buying these kinds of boards help the environment, said Baca. On top of being good for the environment longboard­ing has very modest upkeep costs, said Baca.

“I feel very rewarded in the fact that I invested in a good product. It’s something that gets me where I need to go. It’s always there. I don’t have to spend money on insurance. I don’t have to spend money on gas or car repairs,” said Baca.

As with any type of transportation, there are hazards that riders should be aware of, said Baca.

Broken bones can happen and it can be self-inflicted – especially in the beginning, said Baca.

“Be ready to get hurt,” said Baca.

The proper equipment is crucial when it comes to bad weather. For example, a non-waterproof board will be ruined if ridden in the rain, said Baca.

“You have to be ready to deal with bad weather. Getting stuck in places,” said Baca.

Riding a longboard pres­ents the hazard that drivers are not as observant of skating pedestrians; being aware of sur­roundings plays into this as well, said Baca.

“Be ready to get hit by cars,” said Baca.

Tips For Safety:

These are safety tips that every longboarder can follow to prevent injury.

  • Wear a Helmet
  • Wear slide gloves
  • Wear a good pair of sturdy shoes
  • Wear flexible clothing
  • Be aware of surroundings
  • Keep wheel bearings clean
  • Stay loose during ride
  • Stretch

Longboarder’s Toolkit:

“The Reflex Utilitool has a screw­driver for the bolts that secure the deck and trucks together, a socket for the lock nuts that tighten to the aforementioned bolts, a socket for the lock nuts that secure your wheels to the axle and a socket for the kingpin that secures the axle hanger to the truck baseplate,” said Baca.

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