March 12, 2006 Since man invented the wheel, the promise of personal transport has been within reach for anyone with a vivid imagination and a healthy dose of engenuity. Ice skaters wishing to skate all year round made the first recorded wheeled shoes around 300 years ago, and the first patent for a roller skate was issued in France in 1819. The roller skate achieved mass popularity across Europe and the United States a century ago, with hundreds of skating rinks attracting the young-at-heart. But the availability of advanced plastics in the sixties really opened up the realms of personal transport as successive waves of roller skating, inline skating (the invention of the RollerBlade) and skateboarding captured the imagination of the youth of the day, creating sub-cultures, efficient personal transport and extreme athletes capable of performing tricks that seemingly defy Newtonian physics. With advanced materials now readily available for the fabrication of even the wildest ideas, new concepts for skating on tarmac keep coming and the latest such promising technology is Freeline Skates – one tiny, aluminium body, two-wheeled skateboard for each foot, ridden with a sideways stance like a skateboard and capable of being powered on the flat or even uphill by a body twisting motion. Very fast, very unique, very cool!
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