Snow-skis, ice-skates, and the better quality inline skates don’t have brakes because, as riders progress, they learn to control speed by using a slalom motion, T-stop or other technique. Similar techniques are possible on Chariot Skates.
Simple Hand Brakes (see “Stopping” Video): an effective way for beginners to stop or slow down on slopes is to squat down. This lowers your center of gravity, making you more stable. Then, with the use of gloves or specially designed wrist guards that we are developing, you grab each of the main wheels with your hands and apply the required pressure. It will take practice to develop your technique, and by applying more pressure to either one of the tyres you can control your direction. Advanced skaters may opt not to use this method just as advanced skiers never snow plow to stop, or advanced skates are not fitted with brakes. Nonetheless, it is a good technique to learn.
Advanced Mechanical Brake (see CAD animation in “Prototype trials December 2008” Video): We have experimented with a braking surface on the main wheel and brake calipers that are operated by cables to hand levers in the skater’s hands; the cables are secured out of the way under the skater's elbow pads and to the back of the pants or belt. However, there are a number of issues which have discouraged us from developing these brakes further at this stage:
- the extra moving parts involved have maintenance and reliability issues
- the cables seem cumbersome and make getting into and out of the skates a greater task
- the above issues make them of little value to experienced skaters
- the Simple Hand Braking method has proven an easier, more effective and more reliable alternative for the beginner
- We may develop an Advanced Mechanical Brake later but the experimental prototypes require considerably more development and we don’t wish to delay the release of Chariot Skates when there is an alternative braking method that has some advantages anyway.
Advanced Stopping Methods:
- T-Stop (see Bell do a T-Stop in “Stopping” Video) once a skater is more experienced and can balance comfortably on one skate they can drag the other foot/skate sideways, to stop effectively;
- alternatively, you can control your speed by slaloming, the same way as a snow-skier, transferring weight from one skate to the other as you perform tight turns. Keeping your weight on the outside skate as you go into a turn, you lift the inside skate and either drag it, similar to a T-Stop, or place it back on the ground at an angle to slow you down prior to entering the next turn. With Wheelskates being so much more maneuverable than inline skates, it is very easy to turn and maneuver to control speed, avoid obstacles or U-turn in this way.