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How to be a sk8ter girl

Skateboards, trick boards, long boards, Pennyboards, electric skateboards — Lloyd house has them all, and you, too, can learn how to ride a skateboard indoors on its carpeted hallways.


There was something about the increased friction and semi-soft cushion of the shag rug that made zooming through Lloyd’s alleys on an old skateboard a somewhat safe learning experience. It was just after Rotation during my first year at Caltech, and a sophomore in the house had left his Pennyboard in the hallway. Since he lived on the first floor, that skateboard became a mini shuttle for the 30 feet from the Lloyd entrance to the Llounge. After a couple weeks of learning to balance, pedal, and make turns, I was cruising around the first floor and having a blast. I ended up getting a Pennyboard of my own once I became comfortable enough to ride the communal longboard outside. It’s an R2-D2 themed board I customized with a painted white trim, and you can still find me zipping around campus on it today (just don’t be surprised if you see me wipe out on the Olive Walk after hitting an olive pit).

I picked a Pennyboard for its easy portability, as its small size allows you to carry it by placing it horizontally across your backpack straps, but many people in Lloyd prefer longboards for their increased stability. My friend Eric has even motorized his longboard by 3D-printing and attaching a remote-controlled motor to its wheels. Regular skateboards are also popular for learning to do tricks, since trying to do an ollie on a Penny is, in my opinion after many attempts, basically impossible 🙂


Riding a skateboard around campus is most useful if you, like me, work in a lab in basically the direct opposite side of campus. I work in Braun, so what is usually a 10 minute walk can be pared down to either a mini-workout of pushing uphill or an incredible 3 minutes of riding downhill on the smooth sidewalks along Holliston.

Honestly, you don’t need a practical reason to start skateboarding — it’s simply fun to ride around by yourself or with friends. Just maybe be prepared to fall a bunch of times before you’re comfortable cruising on the new, smooth-as-butter concrete by the Chen Neuroscience building. But hey, isn’t all the fun in getting back up again?

Katelyn Lee ’23

Hi, my name is Katelyn, and I’m an alum (Class of 2023) from New York City majoring in Bioengineering! As a member of Lloyd house, I served as President and Social Director. You could also find me singing with the acapella group, Fluid Dynamics, tutoring in the Caltech Y RISE program, or developing open-source bioinstruments with the Pachter lab. I am an avid runner and museum-goer, and I love to read, tinker, and do crosswords.