I told you about discovering the very nice ice skating facilities within convenient biking range of my house. And then having the place immediately close because of The Plague. And then returning to it this year when it reopened and really enjoying it. Then I started looking into ice skates that were not so hockey-specific which got me mixed up with impressive speed skating people.

It turns out that you don’t just pop down to Walmart for fancy speed skates. Even the hockey shops here (yes, that’s a thing) are clueless about the entire sport. After months of research and struggle in pursuit of better skates, I have finally achieved success. I now have proper skates that are right for my skating.

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The Bont carbon fiber boots are super cool. And, importantly, they fit. (For future reference, I wear 8|41|272mm in this brand’s weird sizing.) So I’m pretty happy. The boots are Dutch orange, but the frighteningly sharp 16.5" blades are actually made in Holland from Sandvik 12C27 knife steel. These skates are awesome and I’m delighted with them.

One slight annoyance is actually quite interesting and, fortunately, quite fixable: the blades are bent. This is deliberate so they more easily make severe left turns. Serious speed skaters only can skate in counter-clockwise circles. The concept of skating clockwise to them is strange — no competitions are like that, so why would you ever want to do it? Well, I’m not racing anybody and my skeleton is telling me that overcooking one side of my body is probably not the smartest thing I could do. The whole idea of an old man skating at all is sketchy enough. I come to this with a lot of in-line speed skating experience so my ability to turn right is probably my strongest skill for someone who owns ice skates like these. It turns out there are special bending jigs that can straighten them back out (or bend them more).

Here is a video of me trying them out today for the first time.

It was a good day to play with them since I had the whole rink to myself. A great day!

UPDATE 2021-10-17

I just returned from spectating at the Buffalo Speed Skating Club’s big regional meet. It was fun to see many people wearing my exact skates. Mostly people like this — note the skates of the one in blue.

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UPDATE 2021-10-30

If you really want to get a sense of the 3d form of these skates, you might enjoy looking at the images in my post about photogrammetry where one of these skate was the test subject.