Outdoor Skate Time!

The weather is finally breaking, Spring is round the corner and this all means we can finally skate outside again! Before you grab your stinky gear bag and head outdoors, let's talk indoor versus outdoor wheels.

You may have noticed a little 86A or 97A on your wheels. The hardness or softness of a wheel is measure on a durometer scale. Which goes anywhere from soft skates at 78A to very hard skates at 101A. 

For outdoor wheels, you are going to want something very soft to help absorb the bumps and roughness of skating on sidewalks and streets. If you wore this soft of a wheel skating indoors you would feel like you are sticking to floor, but for outdoor, the softness of the wheel helps you roll over small rocks, gravel, dirt, and goose poop (just kidding don't roll over goose poop).

You can always use the same wheels and bearings for indoor and outdoor BUT here is why you shouldn't

  1. Skating outdoors on harder indoor wheels will wear those wheels down much faster. You risk ruining your expensive indoor wheel.
  2. Same thing applies for bearings. Skating outdoors will gunk up your bearings, which can be cleaned but that is a hassle.
  3. Outdoor wheels are cheap.
  4. Get cheap bearings to go with your cheap outdoor wheels and you won't gunk up your nice bearings. And then you won't have to switch bearings every time you switch wheels (trust me that is a real pain).

So here are some good and inexpensive outdoor wheels and bearings. If you are local also check with Holiday Roller Rink in Elkhart, IN for cheap bearings (no guarantee so call ahead and just mention you need inexpensive bearings for outdoor skating).


DOUBLE SHIELDED BEARINGS 8PK - $9 this is an 8PK so buy two packs



Of course the most cost efficient option is an outdoor pack



Derby 101 Gear Guide

Roller derby is this amazing thing, you went to your first session and you are now ready to kick some butt, but first you need gear and with derby there is a lot of gear. So take it from skaters that been around the track a couple times. Below is a list of the essentials for a new derby skater and a little explantion about each product. 


In every other category we will list a couple options but for the mouth guard there is one favorite. Sisu is low profile so you can breath, eat, and drink with it in and it forms right to your mouth so there is no worry about it fitting right. 


The S1 is a multiple impact helmet. Derby is a full contact sport and it is worth taking into consideration that your noggin might get knocked around a little. It is more expensive up front but will last longer.

Triple Eight is a starter helmet. It is not meant to be worn after 1 collision. It will do it's job protecting your head but after one good hit you should purchase a new one.


Triple Eight pads package is clearly the most cost effective and can be too tempting when it comes to getting everything you need in one place. The elbow and wrist guards are not bad but we highly recommend investing in some heavy duty knee pads (not included in this package.

187 Killer Pads are just awesome. When it comes to knee pads the protection they offer is far superior to Triple Eight. The same is true for the elbow pads but you will fall on your knees far more than you will fall on your elbows. The 187 wrist guards are low profile, which some skaters love and some don't. It means they offer less support to the wrist, which if you look at the Triple Eights above, it is clear they would go further down, covering your wrists more. 


The R3 is a very common starter derby skate. It is perfect for improving your skating skills while learning the sport of roller derby, the only downfall with the R3 is that the boot is made up of a synthetic material which will break down faster than a leather boot. This skate comes with a PowerDyne Thrust Nylon plate, which is light and flexible. Like anything else, you get what you pay for. The bearings and wheels included with these skates are good but not the best.

If you are an avid skater but new to the sport or just ready to go all in for derby you might want to go right to the Vixen. It has a sliker boot which offers more mobility for ankle. A leather boot is going to last longer and form to your foot better, as you break it in. These boots are known to be slim, so it will take longer for a wider foot to feel comfortable in these skates. This skate comes with a PowerDyne Thrust Nylon Plate which is light and great for speed.


Antiks are known for the high ankles on their boots. The high ankle offers lots of ankle support and stability, great for blockers. The Antik has a built in toe protector and a wide toe box, which makes them easy to break in.  A very comfortable skate. This skate has a PowerDyne Triton plate which is aluminium with a wide foot plate design for added stability.


Roller Derby changes lives. I don’t mean to sound overdramatic about it, I’m just stating what has been proven to be true for so many people that I’ve encountered through this sport…and for myself.

You see, I entered the roller derby community during a crossroads in my life. I was engaged to a nice man, spending almost all of my spare time at home, and was on my way to what some people might describe as the “perfect cookie-cutter life”. Little did I know how much my life was about to change, and change forever.

Long story short, roller derby, and the empowered women within it, opened my eyes to a new reality: I can do what truly makes ME happy and there’s nothing wrong with that. I had a long history of doing what would make others happy, what I would probably be content with, and going down what would be the easier or more “normal” road. Roller derby helped me admit to myself that while making others happy is a good thing, I deserve to be a lot more than just content with my life. It also showed me that there really is no “normal” when it comes to someone’s path to happiness.

Roller derby helped me grow into a more independent, open-minded, and complete individual. It made me stronger as an athlete, and as a person. It helped me realize that I could choose a different path than the one that I was on. I don’t spend all of my time at home anymore. I volunteer, get involved in the community and participate in more physical activities. Roller derby introduced me to my fiancé and teammate, Arielle. I have reached a level of happiness that I never thought possible.

I’m not saying that the physical act of participating in roller derby did all of this though. I believe that being involved in a sport dominated by women from all walks of life is what did it. I was surrounded by women who worked in hospitals, law offices, were artists, writers, students and stay at home moms. While they were teaching me to skate faster, hit harder and play smarter they were teaching me life lessons too. The courage, independence, and motivation to be who I really was deep inside is what this team of amazing women has given me the strength to do.

I walked into tryouts being the person that I thought I was supposed to be, I now skate off of that track as a different person…the person I really am.



I'm not the fastest, not the most agile. I'm not graceful or dexterous, I'm not the strongest. Three nights a week, I drag myself out of work, away from home, out into the bitter cold, or the blistering heat, or the howling wind, or the driving rain, to face these realities. I strap on my gear and I lace up my skates to do battle. I chase Fast and strive to stay on its tail. I dance with Agile to keep up with its spontaneous rhythm. I stretch with Grace to match its fluidity and I push back against Strength to earn its respect. Every week, I line up and face off with these seemingly indomitable forces and sometimes, I win. Mostly, I lose. But I've got a secret weapon.

When armed with this weapon, I find the motivation to go in again. I hit the gym on my only day off, I spend money on new wheels instead of new clothes, I work an eight, nine, 10, 12 hour day only to rush out into the night to kiss a cold concrete floor. I take every frustrating moment, every heartache, every stress, every setback, every weight on my shoulders and push them back with every lap. I ignore the bruises, I tape up the wounds, I sustain the injuries because I want to see if tonight's the night where I beat Fast, I juke around Agility, I out-spin Grace, and I knock down Strength. 

I go into battle--the battle with fatigue, the battle with frustration, the battle with pain, the battle with myself--armed and determined to do the best I can, win or lose. I polish this weapon, I tend to it and strengthen it with work, with understanding, with time, with kindness, with tough love, with patience, with forgiveness, with acceptance. 

I am surrounded by those who leave cozy family dinners, rush from college campuses with books in tow, drive from miles away to face their own challenges. Some are fast, some are agile, some are graceful, and some are strong, but when bonded together, all are all things. 

My secret weapon is my team. Win or lose, you'll never find me unarmed. 

And I'm always up for a fight. 

HaHa Harley


Roller derby has the ability to impact the lives of those involved in ways that you would not think possible. The sport draws men and women from all walks of life and all for different reasons. It can be completely life changing for a person, and for me it was. Let’s go back to June 2012, I had just turned 20 weighed about 225 pounds, suffered from severe manic depression and social anxiety, and had recently filed for divorce from my abusive husband. I was in a rut and I needed something and I didn’t know what it was. I was just about ready to give up when I saw something on Facebook about a roller derby open skate.

At the time of my open skate I could skate forward, and well -- that was about it. I didn’t make it through to Derby 101. The day I received the email, Genevicious just so happened to being eating at the restaurant I was working at, and after talking myself into it, I mustered the courage to walk up to her. After a quick conversation and me stating how much I wanted it, she informed me I could email a coach and see if I could get a second chance before 101 started. Before she left, I was set up with a second chance in two weeks. Someone who had no idea who I was took a chance on me. That’s the moment that Roller Derby started to change my life.

Every moment on the track for me was a struggle. Stopping, falling, not falling and stepping laterally were my enemies and I wasn’t even in 101 yet. This was just 2 weeks of open skates and lessons at USA skate. By the time 101 started I could function enough on skates to be comfortable. The struggles became harder at the time -- 25 laps in 5 minutes seemed impossible. After 3 months, our season had started. I had passed all of my testing and everyone was on a team, except for me. I wasn’t ready, but I finally started speaking up. I asked for helped. I was determined and things started to click on and off the track for me. Three practices a week, countless hours of outside of derby workouts, and watching bout footage; and come December at a practice, I was welcomed with several congratulations. I had been put on a team charter.

For the first time in my life, I had a lot of people tell me they were proud of me -- including my father. I had finally followed through with something and it was bettering me. I was determined. I was constantly getting my butt kicked on the track, but I grew with the sport. To date I’ve lost about 75 pounds, I am no longer on medication for my depression, and I am happy and healthy. Roller derby gave me back a lot of things I had lost. My confidence, my health and my life. I’ve been given a second family, which is not where I came from, but has gotten me where I am going. I never had too many people to fall back on -- my mom and my best friend -- but now I have about 40 women and numerous coaches and volunteers to help pick me up when I fall.

If you are debating joining roller derby, but are too scared of failing, take the chance. You only fail if you don’t try.

Under the Helmet with Smash Bandicute


Real Name: Helena Gazella

Number: 24

Day Job (since derby doesn't pay yet): South Bend Chocolate Cafe

Position: You will see me in the pack giving the jammers hell

People often ask me "why do I do it?" Why do I play roller derby? Why do I put my through the ringer two hours a practice, three times a week? Why do I volunteer so much time for something I don't get paid for? 

Because it's fun. And I'm good at it. I've never played sports before derby, nor did I have any hobbies to occupy my free time. Roller derby has opened up so many doors for me. It's allowed me to become close with many different types of people. It has given me a confidence that I lacked throughout the majority of my life. It's turned me into an athlete that I never imagined I could be. 

What do you to recover from workouts and soreness?- I usually recover with a protein shake, a hot shower/bath and lots of stretching. 

What is your pre-bout routine?  My bout days usually go like this: I wake up entirely too early. I make a big (but healthy, for the most part) breakfast, put on my "boutfit" and usually listen to something upbeat.. Which usually turns into a dance party in my room until it's time to leave.