By Andrew Liszewski
I’ve seen quite a few different variations on the inline skate including the addition of larger wheels for off-road travel and even an electric motor so you don’t have to exercise at all. But the Booster Blades are definitely the most unique, and quite possibly the most dangerous set of inline skates I’ve ever seen. The easiest way to wrap your head around the crazy looking mechanism is to think of the Booster Blades as a cross between a set of inline skates and a bicycle. The rider uses a natural ‘stepping’ or ‘pedaling’ motion which is translated to the rear wheels via gears, sprockets and a chain to propel them forward.
Drive is via a belt over a spiral cam, which turns a 33 tooth sprocket, from which a 6mm pitch chain drives an 11 tooth sprocket on the back axle. The back axle drives the rear wheel through a freewheel, giving forward propulsion geared up 4:1.
Braking is achieved by a specially shaped brake block, which presses on the back tyre when the boot plate is tilted back. This can only be done when the mechanism is in the down position.
Apparently the Booster Blades gives the rider more speed for less effort, but they can also be ‘locked down’ and used as conventional inline skates at the push of a button. And while previous experience with inline skates is a plus, according to their website the Booster Blades still have a bit of a learning curve that’s not unlike learning to ride a bicycle.