Baby boomer invents walker-style skating device

If you're loathe to give up roller skating as you age, and if you care more about your health than what you look like maintaining it, Skaters Coach might be for you.

Elizabeth Armstrong Moore
Elizabeth Armstrong Moore is based in Portland, Oregon, and has written for Wired, The Christian Science Monitor, and public radio. Her semi-obscure hobbies include climbing, billiards, board games that take up a lot of space, and piano.
Elizabeth Armstrong Moore
2 min read
Skaters Coach

If roller skating is one of the fun physical activities you hate to give up as you age, and you care more about your health than what you look like maintaining it, the just-released Skaters Coach might be for you.

The device, which looks like what might happen if a walker and a tricycle got together and made babies, is bound to turn heads as you flex your age-defying muscles to the delight of passersby. It's neither as lazy as steering a Segway, nor as crazy as staying upright on a unicycle.

"It's a perfect tool for baby boomers, women, or anyone looking for a great alternative to running," says Tom Demme, the self-described baby boomer with two knee replacements who himself was looking for a way to have fun, stay in shape, and avoid injury.

"You're looking at exactly what I created for myself. My first time out I was skating, and by the third time I had done three miles, which was a real big mistake because my butt and legs were so sore," said Demme. "I was prepared to be ridiculed, quite frankly, but everybody said, 'What a great idea.'"

Handmade in the U.S. with a $599 price tag as of the writing of this post, the 40-pound steel frame Skaters Coach lets people who love to roller blade or skate keep at it without fear of falling. And my personal favorite: it doesn't require a gym membership. Demme even says he'll be providing parts as people do their own maintenance/upkeep, though the tech shouldn't confuse a bike mechanic.

Demme tells me he was initially inspired by the design of a unicycle, and kept adapting the device through trial and error. The 58-year-old says he's been a business owner before, but attributes his ability to design this peculiar-yet-ingenious device to being ambidextrous. "I use both sides of my brain," he says.

And my, don't he look good doing it.