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Category: Personal

Powerslide SUV Next Renegade 125 Review

Unboxing and first look

I remember when the Rollerblade Coyote commercials aired in 1997, I was really into skating at the time, and lived in a small town surrounded by forests and dirt paths. The idea of skating on uneven surfaces was a dream of mine, but the price tag was crazy high for the teenager I was so it remained a dream for a long time.

Fast forward a few summers, and I’m now an adult with a bit more disposable income, living in Belgium (known for its waffles and broken-beyond-repaid sidewalks). Combined with the all-year-long wet weather, it’s not the most welcoming place to be skating.

Early June, out of curiosity, I wanted to check whether those off-road skates were still a thing, and realised they still were, and that several other manufacturers started their own lines of off-road skates.

I spent a few days reading reviews and watching videos, and crossed my fingers while purchasing my first pair.

Most reviews are a few years old and it wasn’t easy to cross-reference opinions about these skates, since the branding and models have evolved a bit over time. Here is a 2020 review of the SUV Next Renegade 125 skates by PowerSlide.

Here are a few videos I watched that convinced me to purchase:


James Mackey has several other reviews of the Imperial SUV
This one convinced me on the 125mm when I was also hesitating with 150mm

I ordered the skates from https://www.der-rollenshop.de/, which provides a good choice and reasonable prices. Shopping experience was quite good and they were kind enough to let me know that my order would be delayed because the bottle of anti-rust lubricant I ordered together with the skates was out of stock.

The box contains the skates and a Torx tool, so no need to order a separate one. I also ordered a nordic tire pump from Powerslide with an integrated gauge, since I had read that inflating had to be precise in order to have the best skating conditions without risking to blow a tire.

Size-wise, I do a 10 UK, ordered the 44-45 size and they fit perfectly, even without using the head moulding.

Comparison with Fitness skates

I started skating as a teen with street/agressive skates (my beloved K2 Fatty), but later on I moved to fitness models that I thought would be more comfortable to wear on the long run. I now own a pair of Fila Primo Evo that served me well, but are still not very practical on broken roads and pavements, and I managed to fall badly at least once due to gravel.

Compared to fitness skates, the Renegade 125 are massive. I read reviews, and kinda expected this, but they feel much heavier. The impression might also come from the hard boot, but they feel stiff and bulky.

The wheel train length is also something to pay attention to. You can see on the pictures below that the wheels extend beyond the boot by a good 5cm, so you need to be careful when crossing skates.

125mm vs 80mm

Skating experience

I’ll say it again, the Renegade 125 feel heavy when worn, and you’ll quickly feel it in your butt and knees.

I read people complaining about acute pain on the arch of the left foot when used for some time. I did experience it on the first run, but for me it was a fold in the liner that was too rigid and rubbing hard against the top of my left foot. I re-did the lacing so it would fit the curve of my foot top better, and on the second run I didn’t experience any pain, even after riding for 1h.

Tires add a huge lot of friction to the skates, to a point it feels like skating on a … bike. It is not possible to do any kind of slide with them on, so if you try a power slide or power stop, you’ll end up flying in the air.

As a result, a lot of your kinetic energy will be dissipated in the ground, and if you start to skate you’ll quickly slow down and stop. I think it’s a double-edged situation, because if you’re riding on hard surface where you’d probably pickup a lot of speed, then you don’t really need SUV skates. On the other hand, this offers much more control and stability when riding off-road, so you don’t accidentally end up in a tree because you couldn’t break quick enough. Just stop skating and you’ll stop within a few meters.

They are surprisingly manoeuvrable for their size and weight, I was able to make (relatively) short turns, and overall riding in the city was very smooth. I never had the impression I was riding skis for example.

The real deal here is the fact you can get a smooth skating experience over every type of surface. I went over pavements, broken sidewalks, manholes, road, tarmac, gravel and even small potholes and not only I couldn’t feel the difference (vibrations are well absorbed by the inflatable tires), but I kept control in all situations. Not once I felt like I was going to tip or have my wheel stuck in anything, while it was a constant concern when riding my fitness skates.

Accelerating on broken pavement? Sure. Jumping on gravel? Yep. I didn’t try riding on wet surfaces yet, but given the grip they have, I am not worried anymore of clouds passing by.

Summary

The Renegade 125 skates are a niche product, for people who are tired of only skating 10 days per year when the roads are empty, clean and dry. They require a strong lower body to operate, and can appear frustrating if you expect the “fitness” experience on all surfaces. You’ll get a lot of freedom, but you’ll have to sweat for it.

I think it’s a good compromise between the “nordic” skates and regular fitness skates, and the first few rides were very pleasing. I’ll soon try a longer trail with some forest path to really test them out, but since my original reason for purchasing them was all-weather skating on the Belgian roads, so far I’m very pleased.

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Why openpyxl development is stalled for now

I thought that I could communicate a bit more on why things haven’t seemed to move too much since my last announcement about how openpyxl development was going to rock in 2013.
In January, I turned 30, but I also became pretty sick, and what was first diagnosed as simple cold was in fact a severe viral disease, that left me and my liver in pretty bad shape. I’m now recovering from the virus (while my antibodies count is still hitting the ceiling) but for a whole month I was unable to focus for more than a few hours a day, and even then, only thanks to high doses of drugs to keep the fever at sustainable levels. I chose to invest all the time I had to do my day job and also to try my best to support my wife who is taking care of the kids (I unfortunately failed at the latter :-p).

I’m since then undergoing weekly blood analysis and have a MRI scheduled next month to see how bad my liver is and how to make it recover fully, and in the meantime I’m starting to feel better, but I’m definitely feeling like a cranky 80 years old man after 4PM, and this might last for a period ranging from a few weeks to a few months.

I’ll try to review as many pull requests as my strength enables me to in the coming days, but please bear with me, as everything will get in, but maybe not very fast πŸ˜‰

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I have been silent for a while … this is why 😁

my two sons, born end of August

Apologies to all the people who were awaiting for some openpyxl news, my wife and I have been quite busy those last months πŸ˜‰

Meet Dorian and Gabriel, my two “first borns”. They are in an excellent shape, and their parents as well (well, as much as someone who didn’t sleep a full night for a month can be).

Raising newborn twins being a quite demanding job, I’ve stepped back from my work, and also from my opensource contributions for the moment. Hopefully we start to get used to our new life and I should be able to resume my activities soon.

Wish me good luck ! πŸ™‚

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Making of a mascot

Although I like the current tone of the Adimian website, with the nice black and white contrast, I still feel it needs a more cheerful image, because you can be serious in your job and yet retain some sense of humor.

So I’ve been sharping my Inkscape skills (don’t laugh) and produced this nice fellow:

Actually, I noticed I was wasting plastic cups every day at the coffee machine, so I thought “let’s buy a mug”, and as I don’t like the idea of someone else accidentally drinking in my cup, I then thought I’d better customize it, say with my company logo. It definitely sounded too serious, so I decided to draw a mascot for the company, and to put it on the cup instead.

Took a few hours to get the shape and the colors right, I know he’s plain ugly and any one-handed monkey could have done better, but well, I made it so I’m proud of it πŸ˜‰

Next step: find a printer with large supplies of lime-green ink !

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Working from the couch

Red sofa
Image via Wikipedia

Those days I’m in southern France, in a small (15 sq.meters) flat originally rented for my wife who’s working at the local museum.Even if I’m here to cheer her up, I still have to get some work done, but obviously there is no room for a large desk (nor for any desk actually), an external 24″ monitor, or my beloved wireless keyboard and trackpad.

There is not even a decent table, we have to put our dishes on a stool and eat in the sofa. In those conditions, I’ve been trying two configurations: the standing desk and the lap desk.

The standing desk

Pros

  • trendy
  • good for your back as it preserves the ‘S’ shape of your spine, instead of bending it into a ‘C’ like modern office chairs do
  • looks like a good idea when the only flat surface you have is a 30cmx40cm stand-up kitchen table

Cons

  • 16 hours on your feet is quite a lot of time, especially when you don’t have proper shoes nor proper rubber carpet
  • putting an expensive laptop on top of plastic candy boxes, next to an open window is … stressful

The lap desk

Pros (compared to placing the laptop directly on your lap)

  • comfy, veery comfy
  • prevents lap burns
  • greatly improves wrist position and angle
  • you can move around the house (seated on the couch -> seated on the armchair -> laid on the couch)
  • as the couch/armchair is much softer than the usual office chair, you can stay seated much longer before feeling tired

Cons

  • (not sitting properly in the couch is) bad for your back
  • (being seated too straight in the couch is) bad for your neck
  • (not moving your bum for 4 hours straight is) bad for your knees
  • (not changing your posture for several hours is) bad for your shoulders

As I couldn’t find any affordable cardboard boxes to build my poor man standing desk, I opted for the Logitech N550 lap desk which is an excellent product. It keeps the laptop cool, and the additional speakers have more bass and power than the internal ones. This version is for 14″ laptops at best, the N700 and Comfort Lapdesk are slightly larger, but the foam shape is different (it ends with a ‘^’, while the N550 is like a ‘<‘) and I find it more comfortable this way.

I’ve also looked at different brands and models, but the Logitech are the only ones that I find soft enough and properly engineered, for example, CoolerMaster makes ugly all-plastic stuff intended for overheating laptops, with giant fans, but no foam, no cushion of any kind. Not suitable when you need to work several hours a day.

To avoid neck and shoulders pain, it’s important to be properly seated, and moving around the flat for 1 minute every 2 hours keeps your knees from hurting.

It won’t replace my casual desk at home, but I definitely won’t work with my laptop on my lap anymore, and after one full week in this position, I found that I could work for 4-5 straight hours without notice, like in good days at my office desk. Totally worth it !

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