Andreas Wilcox
  • 02 Aug 2018 » Going the longboard distance
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    When I meet new people my interest in longboarding can easily pop up and like some kind of low budget door salesman I love extolling its virtues. One of the aspects, which I get most questions about, is my love for riding long distance where you do full day or multi-day trips.

    And now that I’ve done it for a bunch of years and gathered some experience I figured I’d write a four part series on what I’ve learned, so that you too can start out on your own!

    I’ve been doing long distance trips pretty much since the first year I started riding, on the first trip I rode 70km in one day and since then I’ve only grown more bold. Stockholm to Örebro (210km) in one day and Örebro to Gothenburg (330km) with camping gear in 6 days; add to that a lot of 60km+ day trips around Örebro. Luckily I have my awesome travelmate Fredric Wallin to join me on the longer crazy escapades.

    Why? you might ask. For me it’s about the calm relaxation I get. Might sound weird with it being a physical activity but no matter how rough the roads get I’m just in the moment, all life’s other worries seem disappear when I’m on my board. It’s just me and my board riding the road and enjoying the nature surrounding it. When I get back I might be tired but I’m also thoroughly relaxed.

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    I hope I might have piqued your interest by now. If you’ve never ridden a board before you have a pretty obvious obstacle to get over first… learn to ride. There are a lot of excellent videos on longboarding like the one I just linked so I won’t reiterate all the details.

    Easiest way to start is to find a friend who has an extra board to borrow it or just join them on a ride out sometime. Like me! If you’re in Örebro then just hit me up and I’ll get you rolling.

    Of course, you can buy your own but buying is a whole different jungle that I won’t get into now and it probably wouldn’t help you much anyway if you’re new so buy a used board to learn on. And your first board probably shouldn’t be a longdistance board to begin with anyway.

    Just make sure you’re comfortable with pushing, foot-breaking, turning & carving. You definitely want to be able to switch up your pushing leg so make sure you learn how to ride switch (ie, opposite leg forward on the board). I’d say that learning mongo and switch mongo pushing is also beneficial, this is where you stand on your back foot and push.

    Oh, and wear a helmet. It’s not worth going braindead over a simple accident. I still wear my helmet everytime I ride and it’s saved me a couple of times over the years. Make sure it’s a skate helmet and not a bike helmet, you want to cover the back of your head. It’s worth having elbow-, knee- and hand-protection when starting out as well.

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    In the next post I’ll get into tips for finding and riding the long lonely road. But until then, I’ll leave you with answers to the questions I get the most.

    How long does it take to ride 1 mile (swedish mile, 10km)?
    Depends on you have a heavy backpack or not, without one I’d say it takes about 35-40 minutes per mile and with a heavier backpack it’s a little over an hour per mile.

    Isn’t it really tiring?
    Yes and no, a whole day will get you tired but during the ride you’re mostly fine. You absolutely have to switch which foot you’re pushing with every couple of minutes. Hills will of course affect your energy levels but I usually regain that energy shortly after. Just decrease your speed to conserve energy. But a lot of it is just handling it mentally, being in the right mind set.

    What happens if it rains?
    You keep going. Backpack (if you’re wearing one) should be covered to handle the rain. Otherwise the board will roll on and when the sun comes out again (hopefully) you and your board will get dry again.

    Isn’t it scary with all the vehicles driving past you?
    Not really, most drivers give you quite a bit of space. You have to be a little careful with semi trucks because when they pass you by (especially ones with two trailers) they’ll give you a pretty hard gust of wind.