The Board Blazers Blog


How to Keep Your Bike or Board from Getting Stolen on Campus

Bikes and skateboards are great for swiftly moving around campus, racing to reconcile the time spent studying and hanging with friends, and just to enjoy the outdoors. Yet, in the rush, it’s easy to neglect the security of your possessions. Thieves are waiting, and you can easily fall victim to theft. However, don’t worry, Board Blazers has you covered! There are many ways to stay safe and avoid unwanted problems with a stolen bike or stolen skateboard.

Stolen Skateboard Prevention

Take it With You

Even though they are less expensive than bikes, unattended skateboards are equally appealing for thieves around campus. The only way of being sure your board is not stolen is to take it with you wherever you go. Depending on the size of the board, this may or may not be practical. An alternative is to store it inside your locker, of course, if the size of the locker allows it. Some campuses are installing special skateboard racks that allow you to safely lock your board, but these are few and far between.

Locks for skateboards are far from being as effective as they are for bikes. Almost all skateboards are very easy to disassemble in a short amount of time and with common tools, which means the safest option is to drive the lock through a hole made in the board’s material. If you do want to purchase a lock for your skateboard, Valet My Stick cable lock is recommended by several users. Remember, the thicker the cable, the better.

Use a Nearby Skate Rack If Possible

Examples of a locking skateboard rack.On campuses where the issue of stolen skateboards has evolved to the rank of being a serious problem, skate racks are introduced. According to the Los Angeles Times, if you’re school or area doesn’t have a skate rack, talk to your administration about investing in one. This elegant solution is certainly a big step forward from securing your skateboard to a post and praying to see it again in the next break or after class. 

Personalize Your Board

Unique personalized boards and engraved tags can also make the work of thieves harder. A stolen board would be much riskier to use again in the campus or area from which it was stolen since it can be easily recognized.

Above all, the best way to care for your bike or board and prevent it from being stolen is to limit the time you are leaving it unsupervised. Also, everything becomes easier to steal at night and in remote places, so prepare a safe shelter for the night. Making sure your friends know how your ride looks like can be a very effective safety net as well. It can prove useful in spotting something that was stolen but not removed from the campus. If you have any bad experiences or tips about stolen bike or stolen skateboard prevention, please do share in the comments!

Stolen Bike Prevention

All Locks Can Be Broken

To start, it is important to know that any lock can be broken. Nevertheless, breaking good locks usually takes a longer time and requires use of considerably more advanced tools. The more you are open to spending on a lock, the fewer worries you will have about it being stolen. Therefore, definitely invest your time and money in finding and buying a good lock. If you’d like to save time, try the Kryptonite New York 3000. This lock fits a lot of our requirements and is recommended by the LondonCyclist.

There are two parameters that compose the resistance of a lock: the quality of the material and the size of the section. Weight is usually a good parameter to encompass both. A heavier and bulkier lock is, in most cases, a better lock. Sometimes manufacturers label their products in terms of minutes or hours a bike can be left unattended, but this is more of a marketing instrument. If you have ever watched a construction site, you probably know that there is a tool to cut anything, so forget about the word “unbreakable.”

If the places where you usually leave your bike are public and crowded, any attempt to break a good lock would be hard to disguise. Additionally, don’t just rely on the lock. The object you are linking or locking your bike or skateboard to should be at least equally resistant. Therefore, scan the area for large posts, fences, trees, and other unmovable objects.

Carry a Backpack

Remember that a bike has many parts which can be easily removed and stolen. Most modern bikes have a quick release mechanism for the front wheel, so consider driving the lock between the spokes. It’s best to take with you more advanced lighting systems and cyclocomputers, as well as your helmet. Having a small backpack can be very useful in these cases.

Don’t Get Too Fancy if it’s Not Necessary

If you’re just using a bike for the purpose of transportation, don’t stress over getting an expensive bike that grabs attention. Instead, consider buying a plain, cheap bike for your campus needs. Many claim that an expensive and unique bike is harder to steal, but that is just a myth.  Don’t expect to see your thief cycling with your stolen bike undisturbed on alleys inside the campus. A stolen bike is usually sold on the black market with you having few chances of seeing it again. Once it’s stolen, it’s usually gone.

Secret tags and registration numbers engraved on the frame of your bike can prevent the thief from selling it. Although it is used in some countries, the system has yet to become a general solution, as it needs the development of a national registry and cooperation with authorities.

Above all, the best way to care for your bike or board and prevent it from being stolen is to limit the time you are leaving it unsupervised. Also, everything becomes easier to steal at night and in remote places, so prepare a safe shelter for the night. Making sure your friends know how your ride looks like can be a very effective safety net as well. It can prove useful in spotting something that was stolen but not removed from the campus. If you have any bad experiences or tips about stolen bike or stolen skateboard prevention, please do share in the comments!

 

About The Author:

Yogin Patel is a serial entrepreneur who currently attends Arizona State University. At the age of 16, Yogin became an independent marketing consultant, along with an avid blogger and online marketer. In the past year, Yogin has worked with several small businesses, including local restaurants, hotels, and personal brands. He builds clean websites, ranks businesses on the first page of Google, and manages social media for brands. In his free time, Yogin likes to read thought-provoking books and play basketball with friends. To learn more about Yogin, or to get in touch with him, go to YoginPatel.com, or add him on his LinkedIn. Yogin blogs at Doolid.com.


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6 Things You Can Teach Your Kids About Skateboard Safety

Skateboarding Safety 101           

Skateboarding can be an infinite source of fun for kids craving to travel at faster speeds, lose contact with the ground from time to time, and experience higher adrenaline levels. In the urban environment, skateboarding can be the ultimate expression of freedom and nonconformity. Children of all ages fall in love with skateboarding, leaving their parents to worry for their safety. We will explore a few ideas to help your kids skate safely as well as share skateboard safety tips that everyday skateboarders can use.

1. Don’t Worry as Much

Let’s face it: The mind of a loving and caring parent is the perfect generator of worst-case scenarios. From a parent’s point of view, the streets are packed with careless drivers, bad road signs, and hard surfaces, all conspiring against the well-being of their child. However, embracing this mentality can in fact work against safety and promote fear. It is a known truth that the fear of doing things wrong can prevent us from doing them in the first place. Learning how to skate safely is very similar to learning how to drive. The more you do it, the better your reflexes and intuitions become. Don’t restrict your kids to skating only in your front driveway. Instead, allow space to explore. Being put face to face with real life scenarios and challenges will allow every child to develop a sense of self-preservation and be better equipped for the future.

2. Yes, Wear A Helmet!

This advice is timeless, but is worth mentioning again and again. According to Stanford Children’s Health, only 1/4 of all children under 14 wear helmets, despite the fact that helmets can be the difference between life and death. You cannot stress enough to your child how important it is to wear a helmet. Skateboarding is all about keeping balance and when you fail to do so, the warm embrace of gravity awaits. Of course, plain and simple helmets are considered by most kids “not cool” enough to wear, but you can counteract this very easily. Helmets with custom designed stickers can be an object your kid wears with pride and will never leave at home. In fact, read our post about how to get your kids to wear a helmet for more ideas!   

Not only is the head exposed to trauma from falling off a skateboard, other parts of the body can also be subject to injury. Additional equipment like knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards are very effective in preventing sprains, dislocations, or bruises. Again, you will probably face opposition from your children, so try to make the whole process of transforming them into street warriors as fun as possible.

3. Use the Right Shoes

We’ve talked about protective gear but it’s easy to neglect the most important part about skateboard safety. Choosing the right pair of shoes for your kids to wear while skateboarding can sometimes prove to be a daunting task in terms of safety. Exclude from the beginning anything which is not close-toed, like sandals or slippers. Pay special attention to the material and quality of the sole because it needs to provide an optimal interface between the skateboard and the person riding it, delivering enough friction. Vans are considered the ‘classic’ skate shoe, and while expensive, are known for their high quality. Special shops dedicated to skateboarding are the best place to help you make an educated decision. Convince your kid to try a couple of pairs until a perfect fit is found.

4. Maintain Your Ride

In terms of skateboarding, the board is the equivalent of a vehicle. Constant maintenance and repairs are needed to ensure proper functioning. Look for any problems like slippery surfaces, sharp edges, or cracks in the deck. Also, if it’s required, get professional help to repair serious defects. Pass the repair knowledge on to your children. By knowing what might go wrong with the board and what to expect when it happens, your kid will stay on the safe side.

5. Control the Fall

Failure is part of any success story so don’t expect your kids to always land on their feet. The most any person can do is minimize the risk of injury. There are a couple of tricks on how to ‘control’ the fall in order to reduce pain and injury that you should share with your children. For example, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons suggest that landing on more “fleshy” parts of the body is better than landing directly on the bones. Another great way to reduce the effects of impact is to lower your body as soon as you lose your balance.

Here's a great video to learn how to fall safely:

 

6. The Beginner Effect

According to the Consumer Protection Safety Council, about a third of total injuries happen within the first few weeks of a child’s first time skateboarding. Therefore, learning proper technique and building a solid foundation can significantly help a skater’s chances of not getting injured. It is important to know how to completely stop, turn corners, and slow down. In addition, like learning how to play the piano, one shouldn’t try to do the complex tricks until the basic skills are mastered. Practice is definitely key. In a safe environment, where surfaces are smooth and cars are not in sight, kids can learn quickly and safely.

There is no magical solution for guaranteeing 100% skateboard safety. Nevertheless, following the above recommendations will increase the safety of your children and make you feel less worried when your young ones are hitting the streets. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or a particular safety tip that you use with your children. We would all benefit from the knowledge!

 

About The Author:

 

Yogin Patel is a serial entrepreneur who currently attends Arizona State University. At the age of 16, Yogin became an independent marketing consultant, along with an avid blogger and online marketer. In the past year, Yogin has worked with several small businesses, including local restaurants, hotels, and personal brands. He builds clean websites, ranks businesses on the first page of Google, and manages social media for brands. In his free time, Yogin likes to read thought-provoking books and play basketball with friends. To learn more about Yogin, or to get in touch with him, go to YoginPatel.com, or add him on his LinkedIn. Yogin blogs at Doolid.com.


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Bikes vs. Boards: Which to Choose for College?

A bike or a skateboard is a must for getting around a large college campus, but we know it can be hard to decide between the two! Here’s what to consider to make the right choice. 

First off, if you’re trying to decide if transportation is even necessary, the answer is a resounding YES! Especially if you don’t have a car, a skateboard or bike is practically a necessity. Not only will you be able to get to class faster (perhaps saving a valuable 5 minutes of sleep in the morning!), but it will also allow you to pack more into every day. Want to play on an intramural team, but the games start all the way across campus 5 minutes after class ends? No problem, if you’ve got a ride. Want to meet a friend for lunch, but worried you can’t squeeze it in between classes? With a bike or board, you certainly can! Most of all, transportation affords you a sense of FREEDOM so you don’t feel trapped on campus. 

Board Blazers was born at Arizona State University, so we know a thing or two about riding on campus. Here’s what we’ve found:

Practicality

In this category, a bike has several advantages that a board can’t match. Most of all, you can go faster and further on a bike. For these reasons, if you’re living off campus and looking for a way to commute to campus, you’ll definitely want a bike. Plus, bikes are much better for carrying stuff. If you’re taking books, a laptop, or a project to class, either use a backpack or get a bike with a rack or basket. Need to make a grocery run? Carrying all those bags home on a skateboard is going to be awfully tough. Plus, your bike can be used for recreation too! Invest in a solid mountain or road bike, then get out and explore the local terrain. Join a local cycling club to immediately make friends and get plugged into the local scene.

Cost

Score one for skateboards, and make sure to pick the right type of board. Longboards are common on campus, and will typically cost you $99 – $149. Penny boards (aka “plastic boards”) are a little smaller, and are often the best type of board for campus cruising.  A solid penny board usually costs between $49 and $99. If you’re going to buy a skateboard, make sure to visit a local skate shop, not a big-box retailer. Even if a local shop is a little more expensive, they’ll hook you up with better equipment, personal service, and local insider knowledge that’s worth the extra cash.

Bikes have a much wider price range, but you’re almost guaranteed to spend more than on a skateboard. Expect to pay at least $200 for a decent quality new cruiser, and even more if you want a good mountain or road bike. Plus, bikes require some maintenance. Fixing a flat and an occasional tune-up aren’t costly, but they’re expenses that skateboards don’t require. When buying a bike, a local bike shop is the way to go. If (and when) your bike needs maintenance, they’ll often fix it for free or a reduced price if you originally bought the bike there.

Lastly, remember to look for deals on used bikes and boards! Many students sell their rides when they graduate, so ask around. If you’re a new student, ask your campus tour guide if they know anyone selling a used bike, and which method of transportation they prefer.

Maneuverability

Bikes have brakes! College campuses are crowded places, so keep in mind that you’ll be maneuvering through crowds and dodging other riders. Especially at hilly campuses, bikes are better. Sure, you can always brake with your foot or jump off a skateboard, but then your board often goes darting off into a crowd. Many campuses have even implemented “walk-only zones” or other safety measures in an effort to decrease the danger for pedestrians and improve traffic flow. Potholes, uneven sidewalks, and even trash also pose a problem for unstable boarders. In this case, bikes are a better choice.

Storage

Once you reach your destination, don’t forget that you’ve got to lock up your bike every single time. Bike racks are common at many schools, but often so crowded they turn into a demolition derby. Sometimes, there’s no rack close to your destination, leaving less desirable options such as locking to a tree, post, or even just running the lock through the tires. Plus, if you move around campus during the day, it might be a hike back to where you left your bike.

After you arrive, you have to carry your skateboard, which has both advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, you’ve always got your ride with you, so you can hop on wherever you’d like. But, it can be a burden to carry around all day, and if it’s a particularly large longboard you’ll have to leave it by the door when you get to class. This is dangerous, because skateboard theft is common at many schools. Because of this, we highly recommend a penny board since it’s easier to carry and you can keep it with you at your seat in class.

Theft of both bikes and skateboards is rampant, so always keep your board with you, and be careful about leaving it in the back of a lecture hall. Or, if a bike is your thing, the phrase “buy a cheap bike and an expensive lock” rings true. Invest in a quality U-lock. Locking skateboard racks are becoming increasingly popular, but still aren’t mainstream.

In the end, choose whichever you feel more comfortable with or the option that best fits your needs. Check out your campus to see what’s most popular. That’s a good sign of the best option in your area. If you’re a commuter, have a lot of hills around campus, or just prefer the speed, practicality, and maneuverability of a bike, go for it! Or, if you’re looking to save some cash and don’t want to deal with the hassle of locking up a bike every time you stop, become a boarder.

What’s your pick? Comment below to let us know!


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The Scoop on Selecting A Skateboard

If you’re looking to buy a skateboard for yourself or as a gift, here’s a guide to the basics. If you don’t know what ABEC means, read on because this article is for you!

This article is designed for new skaters looking to buy their first board or adults buying a skateboard as a gift for kids. We know the sheer number of options can seem daunting, so here’s what you need to know before you get to the store:

Type of Skating

First off, decide what type of skating you’ll be doing. Do you dream of cruising down the beach boardwalk, or know you’ll be using your board as transportation? You’ll want a longboard or a penny board. If you’d like to do some sweet tricks at the skate park, a shortboard is for you. For a first board, we’d recommend a shortboard, because you can do tricks and still cruise with a shortboard, but a longboard is too heavy and bulky to perform tricks.

Still wondering? The type of competitive skateboarding you see on TV, like at the X Games, uses shortboards. The terms “street skateboarding” and “vert skateboarding” also refer to shortboard skating. If the board leaves the ground, that’s a shortboard.

Size and Shape

There are 3 main types of skateboards: longboards, shortboards, and penny boards. Here are some rules of thumb: If the deck is plastic, that’s a penny board. “Penny” is a brand name, but it’s also become the universal term for a plastic boards designed for cruising. If the front (nose) and back (tail) of the board are symmetrical and the edges of the wheels are rounded, that’s a shortboard. If the board is larger than average, the nose and tail are not the same shape, and/or the edges of the wheels are flat, it’s usually a longboard.

Here’s a graphic to show you the differences in shape:

Skateboard Shapes

After you decide on a shape, you’ll need the right size. Surprisingly, width determines the size of a skateboard, not length. The width of an average board is 7.5 to 8 inches. Height, weight, shoe size, the type of skating you’d like to do and personal preference are all factors in choosing the right width, but to keep things simple, use this handy skateboard sizer (click the blue “what size” button).

Check for Quality

Trust us, it’s much easier for beginners to skate on a good quality board. The wheels will roll easier, it will be more stable, and it will be easier to turn (that’s a good thing!). Set yourself up for success by inspecting the board for quality in the store. As an easy rule of thumb, you’re checking for the amount of plastic. More plastic = bad.

Here’s what you’re looking for:

  • The trucks connect the wheels to the deck. If the trucks are plastic, that’s a bad sign.
  • Pass on plastic or rubber wheels. Wheels should be made of urethane (often a whitish clear color), which provide a smoother ride and better grip. Ask a salesman if you’re not sure.
  • Spin the wheels. Do they spin freely, without any grinding or wobbling? ABEC is a scale of the preciseness of a bearing. You want ABEC 5 or 7 for skating.

This guide to avoiding cheap skateboards will give you more information about how to test a board for quality. We can’t understate the importance of picking a high quality board for newer skaters.

Where to Buy

If you’re not familiar with skateboarding, you’ll want to visit a local skate shop. Even though they’re often a little more expensive than a big box retailer, skaters swear by them because they offer quality products, insider knowledge, and personalized service. Ask an employee to help you pick out a board, and then use this guide to check for reasonable quality and price. You can be assured that most boards at a dedicated skate shop will be of reasonably high quality. As a bonus, you can also ask the salesperson about local places to skate. If you’re spending upwards of $50 on a new board, don’t be afraid to ask him or her to throw in some free extras like skate wax or skate stickers.

While low prices at big box stores might be tempting, beware that they often sell low-quality boards that can ruin your early skating experience. In addition, the employees likely won’t have the same skating expertise as those at skate shops, so you’ll miss out on the local knowledge, free goodies, and step by step guidance. Don’t order a skateboard online, because you won’t be able to do the super-important quality inspection that we discussed earlier.

Price

Warning: Don’t cheap out. When you walk into the shop, tell them you want a “complete.” That magic word indicates a pre-assembled skateboard that includes all components. Otherwise, you’ll be left to select the deck, trucks, wheels, bearings, hardware, grip tape, and riser pads separately. A complete will often cost slightly more than building your own custom skateboard, but it will save you time and trouble by greatly reducing the number of decisions you’ll have to make in the store. Once you’re more experienced and have learned about your personal preferences you can switch to a new custom board.

In general, here’s what you can expect to pay for a complete skateboard at a skate shop:

Shortboard: $49.99 - $99.99

Longboard: $99.99 - $149.99

Penny Board/Plastic Cruiser: $89.99 - $124.99

If you’d like more advice about choosing a skateboard, check out these 5 Things NOT To Do. Keep in mind that the ‘perfect’ board is really a matter of personal preference, so comment below to let us know about your favorites!


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Hard-Headed: How To Get Your Kids To Wear A Helmet

 

If you feel like you’re fighting the Battle of Gettysburg every time you try to get your Tony-Hawk-to-be to wear a helmet, it’s time for an intervention. 

Since the dawn of time, getting kids to wear a helmet has been one of man’s greatest struggles (ok, we might be exaggerating just a bit). But whether they’re biking, skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, riding a motorcycle (let’s hope not!), or even playing a sport, it can be tough get your child to wear his or her helmet. Board Blazers LED skateboard lights are a great safety feature, but there’s no more important way to stay safe while riding than wearing a helmet. Next time you’re fighting against the “Cool Factor” with your kids, don’t let them be hard-headed – instead, try these tips to get (and keep) their head in the game:

Listen, Think, Act

First off, put yourself in your kids’ shoes. Believe it or not, times might’ve changed since you were a kid (surprise!). The reasons that you didn’t want to wear a helmet as a kid might be totally different than their reasons today. If you take the time to listen to them instead of simply bracing for an argument, you might find that their objections are much easier to overcome that you expected. For example, maybe they think wearing a helmet is cool, but they just don’t have a place to store it at school. I’m sure you’d agree that this is a much easier problem to fix than fighting the prevailing winds of peer pressure. Don’t assume you know why you child won’t wear a helmet: ask them first, then use the following tips to react to their objections.

Work Together

This is the single best way to get your kid to wear their helmet: work with them, not against them. We all respond better to things that are our choice, instead of being told what to do. Don’t demand compliance from your kids. Scare tactics, false threats, and punishment are guaranteed to build resentment. Instead, position yourself as a concerned partner who is genuinely trying to help them avoid serious injury. Show them that you’re on their side by getting them to want to wear a helmet instead of demanding it. With this basic idea in mind, the more specific tips below will help you both trying to avoid a staycation at the ER.   

Get Their Buy-In

Again, put human nature on your side. We’re all likely to be much more supportive when we’re personally invested in something. For starters, always let your child pick out his or her helmet of choice (assuming it meets safety standards and is reasonably priced). This way, you’re building buy-in from the beginning. Plus, rather than trying to guess what they’ll think is cool, you’ll save yourself the guesswork by letting them choose!

Better yet, get your kids to spend some of their own money on a helmet. For example, give them a gift certificate to a local bike shop as a birthday gift, then take them to get the helmet of their choice with that money. Or, if you give your children an allowance, encourage them to split the cost of a helmet with you. They’re much more likely to wear it if they bought it! Pride of ownership is a powerful thing.

This:

This graphic from the Washington Post sums it up perfectly. ‘Nuff said.

Build Habits

Consistency is key. There are no exception to the universal “Always Wear A Helmet” rule. None. Not “just to ride around the neighborhood,” not “if there are no cars,” not even if they accidentally forget it. Trust us – selective safety is not a thing. If you expect your kids to wear a helmet every time they ride, pretty soon putting on the helmet will become as automatic as skipping the ad before a YouTube video. Every time. No exceptions!

Cool It

Helmets aren’t the ol’ bulky plastic brain buckets of yesteryear. In addition to letting them choose their helmet, there’s tons of new accessories to make a helmet look even cooler. Try letting your kids customize their existing helmet with one of these new peel and stick helmet mohawks. Another major problem with getting kids to wear their helmet is that they often take it off as soon as they’re out of sight of your watchful eyes. If you can afford it, an easy and fun way to get your child to keep his or her helmet on is by mounting a GoPro camera to it. They’ll be so excited to capture cool videos from their very own helmet cam that they won’t want to take it off!

cool helmet

Set the Example

Setting the example is a key to good leadership, and it applies here too. If family bike rides or ski trips are your idea of fun family bonding, or you ride a bike to work, make sure that you model good behavior and wear a helmet every time you ride. You already know your son or daughter looks up to you as a role model, so one of the best ways to non-verbally communicate the importance of a helmet is by wearing one yourself. You might want to skip that helmet mohawk we recommended though!

Make it fun!

Most importantly, make wearing a helmet fun! All of these points are designed to get you to work together with your kids to encourage responsible use of a helmet. By listening, accessorizing, and setting a good example, you can make wearing a helmet something they want to do, not have to do. Better yet, print off this article and have them read it themselves, then let them check out Tony Hawk’s website. If the world’s most famous, successful, and rich pro skater wears a helmet every time he rides, your son or daughter can too!

How have you encouraged your children to wear a helmet? Help fellow parents out by sharing your tips in the comments!


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