Explorer: Ready to give roller skating a try? Here are 5 things to know

Imagine the feeling of smooth plastic wheels gliding against a polished wood floor while listening to live music with your friends. This is what roller-skating venue 4Wheelies in the old Ottawa Citizen building has to offer. If you already enjoy roller skating or would like to give it a try, here are five things you […]
Photo: Kit Gervais
Jaspreet Kaur, 4Wheelies marketing and social media specialist, poses outside of the masquerade ball event on Nov. 18.

Imagine the feeling of smooth plastic wheels gliding against a polished wood floor while listening to live music with your friends.

This is what roller-skating venue 4Wheelies in the old Ottawa Citizen building has to offer.

If you already enjoy roller skating or would like to give it a try, here are five things you need to know about the venue:

1. They’re beginner friendly

Markus Rennick, the manager of 4Wheelies, says they actually tend to get more beginners coming to their venue than pros. According to him, professional roller-skaters seem to have their own preferred spots to skate around the city.

The place has only been open since July 2023, so there’s still room to grow and gain a reputation.

2. You should wear protection

Rennick suggests wearing wrist guards every time you skate.

“No one ever wears wrist guards, but I recommend it. Our biggest injury is broken wrists, so that’s good for everyone,” he said.

Protecting yourself is the number one priority when taking on an activity like roller-skating.

Jaspreet Kaur, 4Wheelies marketing and social media specialist, agrees.

“Everyone under 12 needs to have a helmet,” Kaur said. “So that is very important. That is required. Without a helmet, they won’t get entry in there. We definitely recommend wearing security gear like knee and elbow pads, cause you can really easily get injured. We always recommend everyone else to wear helmets as well.”

Angela Ives Thurston, a guest and Ottawa Valley Roller Derby member, said she gets nervous when people don’t wear protective gear.

“It’s stressing me out so much when people who don’t have a lot of skating experience don’t wear helmets,” she said. “Because like, we’re trained to fall properly.”

As roller derby is a full-contact sport, they need vigorous training to prevent injuries.

Algonquin College professor Kim Bosch, right, and friend Stephanie Marhue, left, enjoying the 4Wheelies masquerade ball event.
Algonquin College professor Kim Bosch, right, and friend Stephanie Marhue, left, enjoying the 4Wheelies masquerade ball event on Nov. 18. Photo credit: Kit Gervais

3. The venue is set out to do unique roller-skating events

On Nov. 18, the venue hosted a roller-masquerade ball event. Between live music and fun lighting, they hope to give guests a unique experience.

Kaur explained they came up with the masquerade ball idea because who would think of roller-skating in masks and fancy dress.

“We wanted to have unique events every month, or every couple of months or so, that everyone can come and enjoy,” Kaur said. “Because like Ottawa has the tag of being so boring, right? So, we want to remove that.”

Coming up they’ll have a Winter Wonderland Party in December. “You combine some unique elements and then you combine what people really want.”

Rennick thinks they might be able to do outside events in the future.

“As far as like doing events outside of our facility, that’s maybe in the long term, but not the short term,” he said.

The Winter Wonderland Party and other upcoming events are up on their website.

4. The venue does birthday parties or corporate events too

The venue can host a variety of things, from roller-skating lessons to your niece’s birthday and even corporate team-building events. They’re closed on Mondays for corporate parties.

“We host corporate events on Mondays,” Rennick said. “So it’s usually a team building exercise for corporations, which means I’ll have someone here who will teach them how to skate and go through to go through the event.”

The events are typically to reduce stress in the workplace and provide time to relax. They have an arcade and party rooms for birthdays, along with the same live music as the other events.

They also provide roller-skating lessons to provide beginners with tips on how to skate for both adults and children.

5. Having fun is the goal

Most importantly, have fun roller skating. It can be a learning curve for some, hence the classes, but it’s a great experience to bond with friends and strangers alike.

“Know that they’re going to sweat,” Rennick said. “So, wear something that you can sweat in. If you’ve never done it before, you’re going to fall.”

“I do know that they’re going to have a good time,” Kaur said. “They’re going to enjoy good music, they’re going to have fun roller skating.”

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