A need for an activity outside Transport & Television has
recently led me into Inline Skating.  I am currently learning, and gradually making progress. Why did I do this?

I first showed interest in Skating in 1994 whilst working as a Tram Conductor and seeing all of them whizzing around St.Kilda. I was too nervous to do anything about it, but did go into a hire shop that now seems to be gone (in my green
uniform!) to enquire. I think they found it quite amusing to have a Tram Conductor in the shop! (At the time, we Tram
Conductors were the enemy because some conductors
hassled skaters on board trams!) Anyway, needless to say, I never did the hire. I did get talking to a couple of skaters on board, and both recommended trying it....

Around 1995, I made what seems to be the common mistake of trying cheap gear from K-Mart after a mate did the same. Even after a few minutes use they were uncomfortable, and my mate gave up trying to use them also after a day of "falls!". In 1998, I made a further mistake, this time buying another "Cheap" set from Rebel. As I was embarrassed to be even in there, the objective was to get out "quick". I occasionally played around on these around the house (inside!) This
continued until January 2005, when I decided I would actually do things properly and actually do something about it! 

I ran a web search to find a specialist shop where I could get proper skates and hopefully lessons.  The web led me to
Bayside Blades in Hampton, and after some further thinking and "watching" their site for a few weeks, I finally made
contact and nervously went over to the shop on January 27th, 2005!  I now have some decent gear, and whilst at the shop, found out about the lessons available.  Andrea and Neil at the shop soon put me at ease, and I started feeling less nervous about the whole thing. 


Later towards the end of February, I commenced the five week "Pathway Progressions" course on a Tuesday Night with Andrea.  Following that first 5 weeks the course went back to Saturday Afternoons.  I continued to attend for a
number of months, but nerves prevented me from joining in the group lessons fully, so it was decided to move me onto one on one lessons.

Unfortunately while practising by myself, I had an awkward fall which resulted in a fractured thumb.  To allow this to heel, I needed to be off skates for 6 weeks or so.  This was a
frustrating time, fearing I would lose what I had gained.

Before too long, I was able to move for quite a distance on skates, although still too fearful to be too "free and easy" at the moment.  I have managed to move for quite some
distance on paths in such places as Port Melbourne &
Hampton.

The one on one lessons continued fortnightly until September 2006, where the last lesson consisted of a journey from
Brighton Beach to the shop at Hampton.  This was just before the shop moved to Highett.  It was an aim of mine to make it to the shop on skates, and this was achieved.

Other developments have included becoming a volunteer with the Skate Victoria Speed Branch, where I do various
volunteer work for the Speed Skaters.

Sadly, skating has turned a bit sour for me now:-

Around 2012/2013 I was "bullied" by some stupid kids down at Dandenong while skating.  They were making comments about my weight, and was I desperate to do it to lose weight, etc.
They had a bad effect on me, because I never went back to that path to skate again, and ever since I have been worried about being teased again.  At the moment I don't skate, and I'm getting fatter and fatter.  Bullies think twice about what you do, it has bad effects on everyone!

In addition, my relationship with Bayside Blades turned sour, when my former instructor and her partner
advised that "they couldn't be my friend".  As a result, I cut off contact with the shop, and took my business for skating needs to the internet  - buying from the USA.  I still miss Andrea, and I now can't bear to see her again.  As a result, I had to resign from Skate Victoria so I didn't have to face her at the meetings.

And as a result of my attempts at producing Skating Related TV Shows, the skating community has now shunned me.  My name is mud among them! 

I used to post my experiences on skates to the "old" Inline Plus Forum (now closed).  Before I closed the forum, I saved the messages posted there.  Click here to read the posts!

ABOVE: Myself "geared up" after one of the
lessons on 16/4/2005

ABOVE: Several months on!   -   6/10/2006
At least I am standing on the path now!
Photo taken at Port
Melbourne by John Stewart