The Derby Dish: Diary of a “fresh meat” derby dame Episode 5: Clean Bearings are the way, and the truth, and the light.

By: Roadside Bombshel #3165

Cleaning my bearings was a mind blowing experience.

I knew I needed to clean my bearings from the angry squeaking sounds they were making and the fact that a bunch of my wheels weren’t spinning very well.  But I avoided it because (a) I didn’t know how (b) I didn’t have the equipment and (c) what’s a bearing?

I mean, what do I look like, a fucking mechanic?  Equipment should just always work.  But putting off the job wasn’t making my wheels roll any better, so I had to take action.  As it turns out, cleaning them was pretty straightforward once I got the right tools for the job.  And wow.  It I am so glad I did it.  Before, my dirty bearings barely moved…and now they are shiny and dizzy from all the spinning they do.  I was high on life (or was it Varsol fumes?) afterwards and even still. I feel like I have moved a level up in the skating game because now I know exactly what I am rolling on.  I am stoked to learn more about my equipment and eventually upgrade.

Here are some tips for those of you who are thinking of cleaning yours.

Things you will need:

  1. Something to clean them with. You can use pure alcohol, Varsol (paint thinner, can get at Canadian Tire or any other hardware store), or citrus cleaner.  Apparently citrus cleaner is the best, and you can get it at hardware stores.  I used Varsol because Slick, my skating coach, told me to.  Don’t use water!
  1. Something to clean them in. You can get a Bones Bearing Cleaning Unit from Cardinal Skate Shop or just put your cleaning solution in a metal container and go at them with a cheap vinyl toothbrush.  Main thing is you wanna agitate your bearings to loosen the crud and get all the dirt out of your bearings.
  1. Something to dry them with. Drying out your bearings is key because if you get even a little bit of moisture in your bearings, it’s game over.  You can air dry them over night or blow them dry with an air compressor (canned air – the stuff used to clean out keyboards) if you need them right away.  I bought one in the computer/electronics section of Canadian tire.  Have some paper towels on hand so you can lay out your newly cleaned bearings like a virgin on pure white linen sheets.

Warning: you can damage your bearings beyond use during the cleaning process, so be careful.  I messed up a bunch of mine through removing and cleaning the dust cover.  The dust cover is the black rubber piece if you are using Bones Mini Logos or the red rubber piece if you have Bones Reds.  Use a tack and pry the dust covers off gentle and easy, and wipe them down super gently.  One dent and that sucker is unusable.

I used Ivanna S. Pankin’s guide to cleaning bearings and wheels, so check that out for easy step by step instructions.  For even more details, check out what Bones has to say.  You can also YouTube it. Or just hillz at me!

Similar to the first time you really look at your own vag in the mirror, examining your equipment will help you gain a higher and divine understanding of how to reach derby Shangri-la.

Follow Roadside BombShel on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RoadsideBomShel


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