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Get fit on roller skates with Derby Skate Club in Portland

Get fit on roller skates with Derby Skate Club in Portland

Derby Lite Maine

Roller skating is SO MUCH FUN.

Or at least it was, back in 1990, which was the last time you actually went roller skating. (Paul never asked you to couples skate, and you cried in the girls’ room at the skate center, remember? Wait. That was me.)

Nowadays, roller skating still sounds like a ton of fun, but also like something that you can’t really do anymore because you’re older/out of practice/have questionable balance/a bum knee or a totally legit fear of falling on your arse in front of a large group of strangers.

But you can! And Derby Skate Club might be just the ticket. (Next session starts January 9, 2018 at Happy Wheels in Portland!)


If you want to come see what it’s all about before you sign up: Derby Skate Club info night Nov. 28, 2017 5:30-7 p.m. at Happy Wheels Skate Center, Portland. More info: www.facebook.com


Derby Lite skills
Skaters practice some skills during a Derby Skate Club (previously called Derby Lite) class at Happy Wheels in Portland. Shannon Bryan photo

Derby Skate Club is “roller skating for fun and fitness.” It’s skating like you remember it, except the 90-minute, women-only class is set up like a work out. There’s an off-skates warmup, then on-skates skill building. And by “building,” I mean that you can show up the first class with zero skating experience and you will LEARN how to skate. Each week, you’ll build on those skills. (You’ll also work up a good sweat AND get to choose a cool Derby name for yourself.)

The warm-up is done in sneakers, not skates, to make it easier for you to not fall down. Shannon Bryan photo
The warm-up is done in sneakers, not skates, to make it easier for you to not fall down. Shannon Bryan photo

Derby Skate Club was born out of Roller Derby – the competitive contact sport you’ve perhaps watched here in Maine. (If you haven’t check out
mainerollerderby.com, bangorrollerderby.com, centralmainederby.com, and rockcoastrollers.org). Maybe you thought “Hey, that looks awesome! I’d love to try it…except I don’t want to be hip checked or knocked into or compete whatsoever.” No problem. Derby Skate Club is non-impact and non-competitive. It’s not roller derby.

Skaters work on skills during Derby Lite. Shannon Bryan photo
Skaters work on skills during Derby Skate Club. Shannon Bryan photo

And yes, you can do Derby Skate Club “even if you haven’t been on roller skates since your seventh grade birthday party.” So says Olive Spankins, Derby Skate Club founder (and one of the organizers of Derby Lite, which existed before Derby Skate Club). She competed with Maine Roller Derby for years, and now takes pride in getting new skaters skating. The mantra I heard her say multiple times during my recent peek at Derby Skate Club: “If you’re moving, you’re perfect.”

You don’t have to be super fast or perfectly balanced or nail every skill on the first, tenth or 100th attempt. Just put on the skates and move.

"Touch two people!" Shannon Bryan photo
Pack drills during a Derby Skate Club class – skaters aim to stay within an arms reach of each other. Easier said than done! Shannon Bryan photo

You might tumble, it’s true. I saw a few splendid spills during the class I looked in on. But all skaters are required to wear a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards and a mouth guard, so your body will be well protected. And no one’s going to laugh at you.

Skates, pads, smiles at Derby Lite. Shannon Bryan photo
Skates, pads, smiles at Derby Lite. Shannon Bryan photo

You’ll meet some cool new people and pick up skating skills that you can use to impress your friends and get a workout that’s way more interesting than an elliptical trainer. The skaters I watched were smiling most of the time, because skating is still so much fun.

Shannon Bryan photo
Shannon Bryan photo

Derby Lite

The Winter 2018 Beginner Session begins Tuesday, January 9, 2018.
Classes will be from 5:30-7pm on Tuesday evenings at Happy Wheels Skate Center for 12 weeks. 12 Class Session fee: $162
FMI or to register: www.eventbrite.com

If you want to come see what it’s all about before you sign up: Derby Skate Club info night Nov. 28, 2017 5:30-7 p.m. at Happy Wheels Skate Center, Portland. More info: www.facebook.com

Derby Skate Club: www.facebook.com/DerbySkateClub/

NOTE: You’ll also need gear, which you’ll have to buy on your own (or maybe you have some roller derby friends who have used gear they’ll sell/lend you). You can buy skates, helmet and pads through the Derby Lite website when you sign up (you can buy the full gear set for $132 right away or make two payments of $89.50 – one at registration, one at the end of the session). You can also buy in-person at Turn Two Skate Shop at 643 Forest Ave. in Portland.

Pack drills, buttons and post-skate core strengthening. Shannon Bryan photo
Pack drills, buttons and post-skate core strengthening. Shannon Bryan photo

MORE COOL WAYS TO WORK OUT: SEE THEM ALL


Shannon Bryan

Shannon Bryan

I don't like "exercise" any more than you do. But you know what I do like? Paddleboarding with a friend all afternoon (and then sitting in the grass to drink chardonnay). Bike rides and nachos, hikes, yoga classes held in breweries, group paddles to Fort Gorges, you get the idea. Because Maine is my gym.

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