When you sign up for an Adventure, we’ll email you a link to a Pre-Departure Packet full of information about the local area and the tour itself. We will include a suggested Packing List of clothes and other items. Here we discuss the equipment (not clothing) you should have on a tour. What equipment is (and is not) included in your trip price?
- Equipment for activities including kayaking, whitewater rafting, and horseback riding is included.
- Trekking Adventures include group camping equipment. Sleeping bags are not included but can be rented for $75.
- Skating equipment is not included on skate tours.
- Bikes are not included but can be rented on both biking and skating tours.
On our biking tours you have the choice of bringing your own bike or renting one from us. The bikes we rent are generally cross bikes with upright handlebars and sturdy frames, suitable for both paved and unpaved roads. These bikes rent for $25 per day (25 Euros per day in Europe) unless otherwise indicated and most participants prefer to rent a bike unless they are within driving distance of the tour. Road bikes (sleeker frame and dropdown handlebars) are available for an additional charge in some tour locations. We also have bikes available for rent on most skating tours. This allows you to bring your non-skating friends with you on a skate tour.
We do not provide inline skates on our Skating Adventures because you are more likely to have a pair that fits if you buy and try them in advance. Unless you race, the most important aspect in choosing a pair of skates is comfort. This is doubly true for an inline skating tour where you will be spending long periods of time in your skates.
If you need to purchase a new pair of skates, the first step is to understand what category you should be considering. Your comfort and skill level are most important when choosing inline skates. This is doubly true for an inline skating tour where you will be spending long periods of time in your skates. Beginning inline skaters should look at Recreational Inline Skates that typically have wheels no larger than 80mm. They focus on comfort with the smaller wheels providing for stability, speed control and confidence.
Those familiar with inline skates will find more enjoyment on the skate tour skating Fitness Inline Skates. These have wheel sizes ranging from 84-100mm. Your skill level will determine how large of a wheel to consider. Advanced speed skaters can easily use their race skates. Large wheels are fast, cover long distances more easily and also get over cracks and bumps better. However, the larger the wheel the harder it becomes to maneuver. Large wheels also require more skater ability to get up and down from speed.
Urban Inline Skates found in similar wheel sizes (84mm-100mm) can also work well. Most times however, they are heavier (more fatigue over longer distances) and not as ventilated as a Fitness Inline Skate. Aggressive Skates with small wheels are not recommended. These are just no fun on a skate tour as the smaller wheels and shorter frames are not designed for long distances.
Where should you purchase skates? One option is to go to a good sporting goods retailer. Finding one with staff that actually knows something about inline skates can be challenging, but if you’re lucky you can try several on and skate in the store’s aisles with them answering any questions you might have. Selection is often limited.
- Discounts off Merchandise
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- Fast & Free Shipping within Contiguous 48 States ($50+)
- *Free Return Shipping on Skates (See IWin for Details)
Inline skates often come with a thin footbed. If you generally have no problems with your feet, this will probably be fine. However, if the bottoms of your feet become sore or if you currently wear orthotics or special liners in your everyday walking or running shoes, you should put similar footbeds in your skates. You can get off-the-shelf footbeds for about $30 at your skate retailer and a custom-molded version for about $100.
Wheels are described by their diameter (size in millimeters) and durometer (hardness). A large wheel rolls faster, and a harder wheel generally wears more slowly but has less shock absorption. On the skate tours, we recommend you use as large a wheel as your skill level will allow. For hardness, softer or high performance wheels are recommended to allow you to roll more easily and with more comfort. Your wheel size should generally be between 80mm and 100mm with hardness between 80a and 82a (lower is softer). It recommended you bring spare wheels should one wear unexpectedly.
Unless you are into racing, the stock bearings on your inline skates will be perfectly adequate for the skate tour. It is recommended that you have a spare set should something unexpected happen, but otherwise you should not worry about this too much.
If you are needing bearings, they can use one of several rating systems (ABEC, SG, ILQ, SWISS or other). The higher the number, the more precision a bearing is said to have (an ABEC7 will perform better than the same brand in an ABEC3). Brand awareness and experience will help considerably if in the market for inline skate bearings. Once again, the folks over at InlineWarehouse can offer recommendations, if needed.
Maintenance of bearings is a whole ‘nother ballgame. The best maintenance is prevention – avoid skating in the rain. Rain gets in the bearings, washes away the oil or grease, and allows the bearing to freeze up. However, sometimes you can’t or don’t want to avoid the rain. (We have certainly skated in the rain many times and it doesn’t hurt.) In this case, have a separate set of “rain” bearings, spin them when you are done, and replace any that freeze up. It costs a little money but saves a lot of time. The alternative is to clean and oil your bearings when you are done, which can take from one to two hours. Which to do? It depends on how much you value your bearings versus your time. Remember that bearings lubricated with grease (standard in new skates) are a bit slower but much more rain resistant than bearings lubricated with oil.
Skate & Bike Protective Gear
You are required to wear wrist guards and a helmet on all Zephyr Inline Skating Adventures. Why these two? Wrist injuries are the most common skate injuries and head injuries are, obviously, the most serious. Wearing knee and elbow pads is up to you but we certainly recommend them.
Why wear protection at all? Two good reasons. First, any time you put eight wheels under your feet you are increasing your risk of falling. Second, many accidents occur not because you are out of control but because the skater, biker, or car next to you is. Third, it is a good example for kids. These last two reasons make it seem a bit absurd to see a family skating (or biking) down the path, the kids with helmets and the parents without. The assumption is the kids have less control. This misses the point. Wear your gear, especially for your kids’ sake. Helmets are also required on all Bicycling Adventures and all bicycle days of other adventures.
A nice bag with an external skate carrier is not required, but it makes life easier sometimes. Whichever brand you choose, it can transport your skates, wheels, bearings, protective gear, hydration and/or valuables conveniently and easily.