LandRoller MoJo Skates
As many of you know from my previous posts on transportation tech (such as the e-moto electric folding bicycle [here] and the razor electric scooter [here]), I love alternative transportation and hate having to rely on public transportation. There is a reason for that. Last week I tried once again to take the subway. It started off normal enough, going downstairs and underground into the station. But once I entered the train car I was greeted with a surprise–a homeless woman sitting in her own urine, yelling at herself. Gross. So here I am with another way to get around town without relying on cars or public transportation.
This idea started while watching the winter olympic speed skating competition. I thought if ice skaters like Apolo Ohno can glide across the ice so effortlessly, why can’t I do the same on city streets. With that question in mind, I surveyed the latest in skating technology and found you the LandRoller Mojo skates.
- Normal rollerblades have five 3 inch wheels mounted to the boot. Like with bikes and cars, the larger the tires the smoother and easier the ride. LandRoller replaced the smaller rollerblade tires with one 5 inch tire and one 6 inch tire.
- Normal rollerblades have five wheels mounted underneath the boot in the center of the foot to make balancing easier when standing straight. However, when pushing off with a foot at a 90 degree angle, the skater loses some of their potential power and reach because the wheels are set halfway in at the center of the foot. LandRoller placed their wheels on the side of the boot, giving the skater an extra few inches in the push off.
- Normal rollerblades are not known for their sexiness. In fact, rollerblades have gained an out-of-date 80’s stigma. LandRoller fashion designed the Mojo to make it more appealing. The boot is redesigned, shorter and more colorful. Also, the Skates can be attached to a single strap and carried around by a carrying handle/strap.
The Ride: LandRoller was nice enough to send us a pair of skates to test. Not having been on skates for about ten years now, I knew that I would need to practice in safe areas before hitting the mean streets of New York City. First, I practiced standing and rolling around my basement. Then, I took the skates to Central Park for a safe test through the closed off road. The first thing I noticed…was that other people noticed. I was stopped so many times by people asking questions that I lost count. After fending off the onlookers, I finally found a straight away that I thought would be a good starting point.
- Straight Away: I kicked off slow, taking small strides and getting used to the feel on my foot. I immediately noticed the smoothness of the ride due to the larger tires. On the smooth road I didn’t feel a bump, and when going over grass or pebbles I was able to handle the slight vibrations easily without losing my balance. In this respect, the LandRoller was a superior all-terrain skate. After a few minutes with no incline, I reached the downhill portion of the test run.
- Downhill: This was by far the best part, I didn’t have to do a thing as I glided downhill. I just stood up straight and took a smooth ride down the hill. But what goes down, must eventually go back up; at the bottom of the hill, I was met with the uphill portion of the test.
- Uphill: Skating uphill was almost as slow as walking, and at times forced me exert myself more than if I had been walking in the first place. The biggest reason for my exertion was that before practicing pushing off, I would take strides with my skates at a 45 degree angle. When going up hill, this worked against me, making me roll backwards when trying to go up. With more practice, I was able to push off with my skates closer to a 90 degree angle, perpendicular to the way I was facing, minimizing most gravitational rollback. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a challenge to get uphill, but at least I learned not to work against myself. Either way, I worked up a sweat to get there.
- After Effects: It took a few outings for my feet to get used to the LandRollers. By the end of my first test rides my feet hurt bad. I couldn’t wait to get home and get my feet unstrapped from the boot. When my feet were free, I noticed that I had a few blisters already forming on the inner arch, where the new wheel alignment scheme forces pressure on the foot, and a few scratches where the top of the boot meets the leg. But with successive outings, the pain and bruising was less drastic. My feet just had to get used to the new boot, like growing calluses after playing baseball for the first time.
Impression: The LandRollers are definitely a fast and fun way to get around, but they were better suited for a sporty outing than a commute to work; on a full test ride to the office, I beat my subway time by about 5-7 minutes but got to work in need of a shower and change of clothes. Overall, a fun, stylish and sporty toy.