Longboard For Transportation: Why It’s A Fantastic Option

longboard for transportation

With everyone around the globe trying to help preserve the environment, stay healthy, and reduce energy costs, more and more people are taking longboards for transportation.

Although not everyone is able to ride a longboard every day for commuting to work or school, a longboard can be used for transportation in many different ways, from taking a quick trip to a store to riding to work across town. Overall, it’s a great way to get around, and in this post, I’ll explain why.

If you’re considering using a longboard for transportation, the two main questions you’re probably asking yourself are:

  1. What are the pros and cons of a longboard vs another means of transportation?
  2. How do you choose the right longboard for transportation?

Spoiler: these are my personal top longboards for transportation:

  • For short runs e.g. to the store: the Arbor Zeppelin
  • For campus cruising: the Landyachtz Dinghy
  • For city transportation: the Dinghy or the Arbor Pilsner
  • For medium distance transportation: the Arbor Dropcruiser
  • For longer distance or for heavier riders: the Landyachtz Switchblade

You can jump to this section to learn more about these longboards. But first, let’s briefly go through the pros and cons of using a longboard for transportation.

Pros & cons of longboarding for transportation

longboard for transportation is fun and fast

Pro#1: longboarding is fun and an awesome workout

The first reason most people think about using a longboard for getting around is the great feeling of riding, similar to that of snowboarding or surfing. Longboarding is great fun and quickly addictive.

The other main advantage of longboarding for going places is the great exercise you get for free. Just pushing on your longboard for 10 minutes will get your heart pumping, not mentioning working your core and leg muscles. Longboarding can really help keep you fit and become learner.

Pro#2: longboard is fast transportation

A longboard is fast transportation! Obviously much faster than walking, and at least as fast as jogging. Although biking is generally more efficient on long distances, riding a longboard in congested places often gets you to your destination faster. Pushing your longboard hard to class or to your dentist’s increases your chances of getting there on time!

Pro#3: you can longboard on the sidewalk

This is probably one of the main advantages of using a longboard vs a bike for transportation. You can typically ride your longboard on sidewalks, which can save you from riding in congested traffic. You’re basically like a fast pedestrian, and that’s a unique advantage in areas with wide, smooth and relatively uncrowded sidewalks.

Pro#4: you can carry a longboard everywhere

you can carry a longboard everywhere

This is probably the longboard’s main advantage compared to other transportation alternatives, including a bicycle. You can get on and off your longboard quickly at any time, pick it up, and carry it around everywhere – assuming it’s not too bulky, see below.

A related advantage is that, unlike a bike, you don’t have to lock up your longboard outside before walking into a building and risk having it stolen, you can simply keep it with you.

Con#1: not all places are easily accessible on a longboard

Sometimes, using a longboard for transportation is just not practical, such as it the pavement is really rough or with lots of cracks and bumps, or if you have to push through major roadways with lots of traffic. I always think twice about skating to certain grocery stores in the area I live because of bad pavement and heavy traffic (and no bike lanes).

The path to your target destination may also have some steep hills that would require advanced riding skills to longboard on.

Con#2: longboarding for transportation can be unsafe

When longboarding from point A to B, there’s always a risk of falling and hurting yourself, e.g. hitting a stone and flying off your board or getting hit by a car. (seeis longboarding safe?)

Wearing a helmet and safety gear, and being alert and respectful of traffic rules, certainly help mitigate the risks. However, using a longboard for transportation probably carries more risk compared to biking for example, particularly in car traffic, as you typically have less control.

Con#3: a longboard is not great in rain or snow

Finally, using a longboard for transportation makes you somewhat dependent on the weather. Longboarding on wet pavement or in snow is possible but involves additional hazards for you. It requires extra protection and additional maintenance for your longboarding gear.

As a result, except for hardcore longboarders, most people that live in places with harsh winters prefer to hang up their longboard and use alternative means of transportation until spring returns.

Con#4: you can’t haul a lot of things on a longboard

When using your longboard for transportation, there’s not much you can carry aside from a reasonably packed backpack. Riding back home with several big grocery bags, for example, is pretty impractical – something you might be able to do on a bike. While a longboard is awesome for transporting yourself, it’s not so great for hauling stuff.

Now we’ve discussed the pros and cons of using a longboard for transportation, let’s turn our attention to how to choose the right longboard for that goal.

Choosing a good longboard for transportation

why should I get a longboard

As I mentioned earlier, there are various kinds of transportation uses for which you may want to ride a longboard. When it comes to choosing a good longboard for transport, there’s no one-size-fits-all. In the next section, however, I’m going to go over the most common transportation scenarios and give you some concrete examples of longboards that may work for you.

1. Longboard for short runs to the store

If you want a longboard for quick runs to a corner store a few blocks away, you probably need something small to mid-sized for portability, easy to push on short distances, with decently big and soft wheels for comfort on variable pavement.

A stable, responsive drop-through mini-cruiser like the Arbor Zeppelin (Amazon) is a good match for quick and easy transportation on short distances. Check out my full review for details.

2. Longboard for campus cruising

If you need a longboard primarily for campus transportation, e.g. getting from a class building to another class, to the library, bookstore, or dining room, you need something nimble easy to maneuver around narrower campus alleyways and crowded sidewalks.

Also, you want a board that’s small enough to carry around inside campus buildings and that you can store in a locker. Campus pavement and paths are generally nice and smooth so you probably don’t need huge wheels. You do need quick turning trucks and a kick tail for curb hopping.

Landyachtz Dinghy

A great example board for this type of campus transportation is the Landyachtz Dinghy (Amazon). It’s quick and nimble, very durable, kickable, and very pleasant to ride in tight spaces. See my full review for more in-depth info.

3. Longboard for city transportation

If your goal is to easily and quickly get around inner city streets, you may also need a mini-cruiser that’s responsive, fast-turning, easy to get on and off for foot traffic, and easy to jump on over cracks and bumps. Here again you want something small enough for narrow sidewalks, but it should also be relatively pushable to cover some distance e.g. in bike lanes.

If you’ll be moving around a very tight and crowded city area, you may again choose something like the Landyachtz Dinghy – or its popular challenger the Arbor Pilsner (Amazon). Full review here.

Arbor Pilsner Artist

If you want to cover more ground faster while still getting a super responsible, nimble, and “trickable” ride, check out the Loaded Poke, my personal favorite board for getting around town (in-depth review).

4. Longboard for distance transportation

If you want to commute to work or to the train or bus station a few miles away on a daily basis, there are various types of longboards well-suited for long-distance transportation. You likely need a stable, low riding, longer wheelbase board that can give you maximum roll for your push with as little effort as possible, and good stability at speed including when going faster downhill.

The Arbor Dropcruiser is a popular double drop board for all-around transportation and efficient distance pushing and commuting. You can see it on Amazon or check out my complete review.

Arbor Dropcruiser

5. Longboard vs skateboard for transportation

A question that people looking to get transportation board commonly ask  is, should I get a longboard or a skateboard. The short answer is, a longboard (short or long) is generally a better option because it’s designed to use bigger wheels, which makes for faster and more comfortable transportation.

Some people, however, including college students, like to perform tricks and jumps of their board while traveling to places. For these riders, a traditional street board fitted with bigger softer longboard wheels, e.g. 65mm+ instead of 50-60mm street wheels, may be a good compromise. They can then switch wheels when alternating between transportation use and street or skatepark riding.

Be aware that you’ll probably need to add risers on your skateboards to avoid wheelbite with those bigger longboard wheels.

6. Using a longboard for transportation as a heavier rider

If you’re a bigger and heavier rider looking to ride a longboard for getting around, you should probably choose a bigger and lower board for comfortable riding and easy pushing, one with a stiffer deck and ideally a dropped platform, topmount trucks, and big wheels for best shock absorption.

The Landyachtz Switchblade is among the most durable boards on the market and can withstand heavier riders without issues. It’s also a very comfortable and stable longboard for everyday transportation. See its price on Amazon or check out my complete review.

landyachtz switchblade

Final words

Using a longboard for transportation is great, it can change your life by adding fun, fitness, and eco-friendly flexibility to your every day trips. Just make sure you pick the right board for your specific needs, taking into account the type of traveling you do.

***
Photo credits:
– Featured “Cruise Tien” by Fer Vega – Rider: Yahzper Maldonado – Loaded Boards
– “Mo and the Chasing Elements Crew” by Jesse Bonde (@j_bonde) – Rider: Mauritz Armfe – Loaded Boards
– “Tip & Toe & Icarus” by Kevin Carlton – Rider: Cindy Zhou – Permission Loaded Boards
– “Davy Wavin’ Back” by Christian Rosillo; Rider: Ethan Cochard – Loaded Boards

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About me

Big Kahuna

Hi I'm Jesse. All my life I've been passionate about the board riding lifestyle. Some years ago I got into longboarding, and in doing so, I discovered a whole new universe and a fantastic community. There's something for everyone in longboarding regardless of age, gender, size, and fitness level. Ride on!

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