There's nothing worse than buying a skateboard and getting looked down on by the 12yr-old shop owner, except having him beat you up when you ask for rollerblades. Avoid both predicaments at Flywheel Skate & Style, an Alberta shop just opened by a lifelong roller derby bruiser that stocks everything you need for boarding, derbying, and roller hockeying, and specifically designed its interview process to weed out condescending losers (booo, condescending losers!!) and hire people who're legitimately interested in getting others involved in rollersports (yayyy, those people!!). Have them gear you up for:
Skateboarding: Stock ranges from classic street boards by Element and Santa Cruz to custom, locally carved longboards from Loyal Dean that can be paddled, upright-Venetian style, with a giant street-oar. There's even an automatic garage-door opener rigged up like a rotisserie to display customizable decks, plus a rail you can use for a test-grind (not you, R Kelly… get back in the closet!).
Roller Hockey: The sport that time forgot, roller hockey still has a thriving underground, and Flywheel's one of the only indie shops to stock everything from badass Bauer skates, to sticks and nets that'll allow you to turn hoops or tennis courts into outdoor rinks, with bum urine subbing for octopus stank.
Roller Derby: In PDX, Derby's also for boys named Bertha, so Flywheel can outfit even Sasquatch-sized feet with custom skates (standard four-wheelers, plus inline speed boots), and the joint's fully stocked with hot pants (you know you want 'em), wrist guards, and butt pads, or what Sir Mix-A-Lot calls "my houses".
Fly's also offering safety classes, group skates, screenings of derby bouts, and eventually, all-ages concerts, although no safety class in the world can sufficiently protect you from 12yr-olds.