Skikes are a cross between roller skis and skates. What makes them great is their flexibility. They can be used on more or less any road or track, with a pair normal running shoes and they have brakes.
A few years ago I bought and tried some roller skis but I found them very difficult to use. The small wheels kept getting twigs stuck in them and the lack of brakes meant I was too afraid to go down, and therefore up, any hills. Sometime later a friend recommended Skikes. I bought the Skike V07 Plus model.
Skikes are similar to roller skis in that they have wheels, you use poles to help propel yourself and it is the same basic technique as roller or cross country snow skiing. Skikes have a number of features that distinguish them from roller skis;
Shoes. You can use normal running shoes or boots with Skikes. For people who don’t already own a pair of cross country ski boots then this is a good thing. Velcro straps lock your feet in.
Brakes. Skikes have brakes. When you lean back, or straighten your knees, an arm pushes onto the rear wheel slowing it down. They are very effective and easy to use. This gives you the confidence to go up and down hills.
Wheels. The wheels on Skikes are large pneumatic tyres. This means they can roll over rough terrain and sticks without a problem. The sort of stuff that would have you fall flat on your face on a roller skis. The tarmac doesn’t have to be smooth. In fact, you can take Skikes off road on gravel and well packed ground. The tyres are also easier to balance on. If you start to lose your balance on one skate then rubber tyres flexes a bit giving you a chance to recover.
The techniques for Skikes are the same as for cross country skiing. You can skate without poles just like roller skating. Or, do Offset (V1 alternate), then into V2 (one-skate) and finally V1 (two skate). V1 Alt is what most beginners automatically do. The other techniques require a lot more practise as you are balancing and gliding on one wheel. Balance is the key to Skikes. The better you can balance on one skate the better and the more efficient your technique is.
Skiking uses your arms and legs and so it can be a better workout than say cycling. One good thing is that although I feel tired after a Skike session I don’t get sore muscles like a would if I was jogging. It doesn’t happen every time but on some days it just clicks and you find yourself just skating along smoothly and it feels fantastic.
Skikes can be used off-road although I haven't yet tried that.
So how how do Skikes compare to normal rollerskis. Well it really depends on what you want. Rollerskis are lighter and the thinner wheels force you to balance properly. So if the focus of your rollerskiing is training for the winter snow then rollerskis might be a better choice. If however you just want to have fun, get fit or if the tracks/roads nearby are rough with lots of sticks etc then Skikes would be a better option.
Skikes can be good fun and a great way to workout. Biathlon Australia has roller skiing groups in locations such as Sydney. There are also groups in Perth and Melbourne.
If you want to try out Skikes in Sydney or even have a lesson then Biathlon Australia has equipment to rent. Contact us and organise a Skike demo.
With any Skike or roller ski it is recommended for safety that;
The road is free from traffic or the traffic is very light and travelling slowly.
You should wear a bike helmet
Wear protective clothing including knee pads, elbow pads, bike pants and gloves.
Wear brightly coloured clothing.
Keep to the side of the road.
Be aware of bikes, pedestrians and cars.
It can be a dangerous activity so do so at your own risk and use caution.