San Francisco looks like a city where one could really enjoy roller skating, if one didn’t mind hills, and can venture on the road once in a while because of the busy streets. It’s not surprise that Friday Night Skating started here 20 years ago! and they’re still continuing with the weekly events. Their page – California Outdoor Rollersports Association – talks that 300 – 700 people come to skate every week. In the end it turns out that they’re about 50 now, but still a big group.
I’ve only participated on Ljubljana’s Night Skate events, so I don’t have much to compare this to. It’s quite different in format in execution. Firstly, the group meets at 9pm, when it’s already fairly dark. It’s also quite cold, about 12 degrees Celsius and windy. But you dress well and it’s not a problem.
Once David “D” Miles arrives with his beat box, the serious fun starts. The whole group moves down the Pier to the first stop, where you have a really nice view of Alcatraz. There are also people with normal skates, as well as guys on bikes. The most fun was probably the soap bubble bike, full for lights that was making bubbles along the way. Lots of fun skating behind her in cloud of bubbles 😉
The whole event lasts for three hours and it feels more like a moving party on roller skates then the sporting event that I’m used to. People dance at every stop, often random people from the street spontainiously join the fun. They even turn Union Square into one of their stops. Everyone takes the whole event in good spirit and even the random police that you meet tries to help and make sure everyone is safe.
The lenght of the circular path is about 20km and it’s not trivial, mostly because of hills and of pretty quick moves between stops. You skate a while, then have a 10 min stop for everyone to catch up and move on. While it doesn’t seem much during the skate, you can feel your legs at the end of the night.
To learn more, you should check their page: San Francisco’s Friday Night Skate that very accurately portrays the path and the events that happen, down to the tricks on the escalators.
Also check out skysurfer87’s Flickr set, to see more pictures.
Overall, the feeling is amazing. This was the most fun and intensive way to get a feeling for San Francisco, while skating by the pier, through the tunnels, across the hills and between the office buildings.
It’s something you need to experience, next time you’re in SF and can skate well enough.