Even though you “are what you eat” to a great extent, I don’t recommend chowing down on inline bearings for breakfast.

What would you call that? Bearing-O’s? ABEC-5 crunch? Ultimate Fibre?

Actually, there is a reason I am boiling my bearings.

In 2000, I raced the Casino-Niagara inline marathon during a biblical rainstorm. While skating 26 miles through occasionally ankle deep water, the bearings I had used for 5 years of racing caked up with goo, crud, mud, slop.

It was so bad that after the race, the wheels were impossible to turn with hands.

I dismantled my wheels, & put the bearings in a Gatorade bottle & filled it with water. When I got home that night, I replaced the water with solvent & let them sit for a week.

Still no go, they were cruddy, crusty, & barely turning.

Most normal people would have thrown them away, but because I’ve inherited the pack-rat gene (it’s genetic, along with the ability to wrap Christmas presents), I’ve never tossed these rusty-goobered-mementoes into the trash.

Yesterday as I told this story, my friend Kim Kraan recommended:

“Just boil the crap out of them, I mean really crazy boil, so the bearings are just hopping along. Then dry them out in an oven. You would be surprised at what you can save.”

My gosh, IT WORKED!!!

Now they are not “race fast” anymore, but they turn very nicely, and after a few training sessions, I think will be respectably fast.

So here is the first recipe I have ever published in this blog-

Take one pile of abused bearings & remove bearing shields if you can

Scrub rust off with citri-solv & a stiff toothbrush if you are motivated (I wasn’t)

Add bearings to a pot of ferociously boiling water while preheating stove to between 300 & 400 degrees F

Stir bearings frequently, noting the nasty color the water gets

After 15+ minutes, remove from stove,

Run cold water into the pot, cooling the bearings, spin them under running water, removing more crap

smack bearings hard onto a paper towel, tapping out lots of water

Place bearings onto cookie sheet

Immediately bake until ALL water evaporates & remove from oven (it took 10 min)

Once bearings are cool enough to handle, replace bearing shields & relube


Final important step: Clean kitchen & grubby/greasy/sandy pot VERY WELL so your wife/housemates don’t flip.

p.s. Kim & Eric are running 4 inline races in Salt Lake city this summer, more details & prize list here.

16 Responses to “Breakfast?”

  1. You’re a nut! My bearing recipe goes something like this: Pre season, buy one good set of bearings and wheels. Put new bearings in new wheels for racing. Use old wheels/bearings for training. Skate for the season. Repeat next season.

    This recipe has a rain variation: Bearings get wet. Buy new ones.

    (of course, I’m also the oblivious-skater-perfunctory-sharpener who can sharpen her long track skates, start to finish, in 5 minutes flat.)

    Seriously, though, I may have to try this on my rain-seized North Shore Marathon bearings…maybe…

  2. I know it’s not my blog, but I will “jump” this thread–you can basically get the same information on the DVD that comes with the ILQ-9 Bearings that Eddy sells. It is quite a humorous video. If you are that desperate to watch the disc, ask Eva for her copy.

    On a side note, I have thought about placing a pot of bearings in a solvent on the hood of my diesel Kubota tractor to simulate an ultrasonic cleaning. Don’t know if it is as effective, but I’m sure most of us don’t have a functional, multi-purpose diesel tractor in our backyards!

  3. Ooh! A picture of Andrew using the oven! For…bearings. Should have known. See you soon, eh?

  4. This is so funny! I never would have thought of boiling and baking them. A friend and I once took a car ride home from racing in a thunderstorm with our bearings in a container of degreaser. The stuff ate the container but did nothing for the bearings.

  5. It depends a lot on the degreaser you use. I’ve gotten good results (not on skate bearings, but those for a wind machine) with gasoline.

    DO NOT attempt to combine this method with the boil-and-bake approach, or with putting the container on the hood of your running tractor. The risk of tractor flambee is too great…. :)

  6. Another tip…

    Do not use the good baking sheet!

    Got caught! It was not pretty.

  7. Tim
    your comments are always welcome, no matter the direction they take the discussion. This is an open forum! and the idea of you driving an antique tractor to clean bearings is really weird & wonderful…

    yes, my degreaser ate the gatorade bottle as well, in addition to a lot of sand & road goop, I think dissolved gatorade bottle was a part of why they had siezed..

    I have heard of gasoline being used to clean bearings, but it’s HIGHLY dangerous..

    For serious bike grease horrors, I used to use this stuff called “carburator cleaner” that was incredibly powerful & crazy toxic. I once cleaned a mountain bike chain on my lawn, it killed all the plants in a 4 foot radius.. bad stuff.. I don’t use it anymore…

    omigosh, that’s funny… the one that I use here came free with a sheet pizza..

  8. Andrew,
    As far as degreasers go, I am partial to an either based starting fluid (don’t use it around an open flame or in a confined space), or a product called GUNK, which is an engine cleaner and overall degreaser.

    I am not sure what you would call a breakfast cereal made out of inline bearings, but I know one thing-it would be high in iron.


  9. The boil and bake method is the one Eddy M. shows on his DVD. Eco-friendly in that it uses no solvents. Eco-unfriendly in that it uses mucho energy.


  10. Try soaking them in Coke. Coke is good at dissolving crud, and it’s cheap.

  11. Is it really works?
    I thought u boil these bearings for a soup when i first see the title….haha
    Do u ever read the story called nail soup?

  12. So our current “group recipie” seems to be

    1. take Karri Cox’s northshore rain-siezed inline bearings

    2. Put them in Carla’s bearing degreaser eaten container

    3. Fill container with Kate’s Gasoline & Michael’s Coke & Rich’s Gunk

    4. Have Eddy Matzger drive Tim’s antique Kubota tractor with the bearings & container on the hood.

    5. After crap has been dissolved, place bearings on cookie sheet, MAKING SURE NOT TO USE THE GOOD ONE (especially if you are at Mark’s house)

    6. Bake in oven until the bearings are dry (using wind or hydropower for the electricity), with Susan watching the whole process in ironic amazement..

  13. Hey Andrew,
    I have a favor to ask…do you keep all the video you take? I was wondering if you had a few minutes(or a lot) of skating from competitions/training/misc. of me that I could use for a video? hope training is going well, see ya soon

  14. That Kubota might be smiling back at ya for thinking it’s an antique, but actually those 22 diesel horses are just 4 years old, but they do get utilized 300 hours a year. For all that time, I sure could get all the bearings in the states cleaned.

    Nah, I don’t think so…

  15. Hey Andrew… over a week without an entry!

    Are we suppose to survive on water alone? :)

  16. HI Andrew,

    I know I’m a little behind in reading (haven’t had internet in a long time), but I have a suggestion for bearing cleaning.

    Someone already mentioned the Ultrasonic cleaner. You can get little Ultrasonic units for pretty cheap, pour gasoline in it, add bearings, press go. Race fast, even on the ones you thought you lost.

    Another tip I got from Cheryl Begg for those old rain bearings that have been sitting for years: Wrap in an old shirt or towel (it will get holes in it) and bang on the pavement until the bearings come out through the holes, then sonicate. That usually gets them going again.


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