It was a night like any other, we started with 7 skaters, one dog and one youthful-American just after 8pm. The night was soft with a thin haze of smog, but it gave no clue of the terrible news that it had in store for us.
We skated Mateo to the Warehouse district, the crossed through the Fashion district into the Church of Money. A brief skate around there took us back toward pershing square, then up and over the hill into Chinatown. We stopped on the Chinatown garage for a view of the city (see the panorama below) then we headed back to the parking lot to drop off the underaged and non-human participants in the evening's festiviities.
This week's skate started off southbound, but after we turned back to the meetup to gather up some late arrivals we turned north instead. It wasn't pleasant, climbing the stairs on Ave. 20. There was a dirty man with a dirty bicycle coming down the stairs when we wanted to go up, and there was fresh garbage at the bottom of the stair. I had been by just hours earlier and the trash wasn't there but... being fresh didn't really make it better.
Undaunted by the fresh refuse however, we continued up to the "Pedestrian Facilities". The "sidewalk" which connects across Elysian Park to Chinatown alongside the roadway formerly known as the 110 Freeway is an epic LA adventure. It isn't really life threatening, but it sure seems like it could be when you're there. It was loud and dark and at least a little scary.
So this year the LA Marathon happened on St. Patrick's Day. At 4am 5 hardy skaters gathered with 2500 cyclists under the watchful glow of Tang's Donuts. Before the sun came up they braved whip-stopping fixie kids, drunken hipsters on wandering cruisers and brake-jamming spandex-covered ultralight gram-counters for 28 miles, blistering pavement, pride and feet. Met with the usual mumbled derision and snickering they smilingly provided all the pat answers (in honor of the Irish St. whose day this is) to the predictable questions; "Yes in fact I do intend to skate the whole thing on my inline skates, my good fellow," and "Yeah, we'll be waiting on you at the finish line, pal."
We started off north but didn't circle the block first. The Navigator blamed it on the catering tables and film crew setup in our parking lot, but whatever the reason we paid the price,
The third Sabados Segindos went off without a hitch last week, smashing previous attendance records and setting a new standard for skates that happen on the second Saturday of the month in downtown Los Angeles.The event lasted over 4 hours if you include the collection and consumption of milkshakes (midskate) and Chinese food (apres skate). There was only one skating mishap, and less than a half a milshake was injured in that accident.
We had a new skater show up this week, Ryan from Santa Barbara, so we had a "traditional" DTRA. We rolled a little late, starting south through Skid Row, hung a ralph on 11th and cruised the Church of Money.
After narrowly avoiding a crash at the Convention Center we headed to Terrace Park, and there was a brief lecture bout the Jim Jones Church and its former headquarters nearby. From there we took a stroll through USC, checked out the Science Center and the Colluseum, lifted a truck and then rocked it on back to DTLA.
Party refreshments were provided as usual by our friends @ Rocket Pizza, and we wrapped it up right around 11pm.
This week we hopped the Red Line @ Pershing and rode up to Hollywood where we picked up "Snoozy". We arrived before he did (8:45) so we pounded a couple of beers waiting. He brought a camera so collecting him was - as usual - worthwhile. (Justin's shots are all over this site.)
We took a usual route, past the cemetery to Hel-Mel and New Hampshite, past the Shatto to 4th and Lafayette, finishing up via 7th, Lake and 12th back to downtown. We got separated from Daniel at 7th and Coranado, so he hammered straight down 7th to downtown.
Pizza and beer at the Rocket Pizza closed out the night. The tab was $30.
When the wind blows on Venice Beach it cuts right through: the sand and the salt bite like little gritty bugs swirling onto the land. They fill every crevice and corner for blocks inland, coloring the scenery like filthy snow, nestled against high=pressure, low-profile tires of flex-fueled SUVs that line the thoroughfares, glistening in the moonlight like dusty diamonds that twinkle away when you approach.
I didn't want to squint in the wind, and I'd been dreading the Venice Meetup all day. Yeah, Venice Beach is lovely alright, but after you've spent a few cold, foggy summers dodging tank-topped midwestern pot-bellies you get to know it isn't always fit for milling about. So I was relieved when we caught a tailwind going west, it meant the beach would be still, and we were going to have a nice relaxed skate.
The choppers were low. Not that we could really see them, but you could tell by the way their "blat blat blat" sound smacked you in the ears that they weren't flying news. We gathered in the open so as to not attract their attention. A couple of last-minute arrivals swelled our ranks beyond the "count 'em on one hand" stage, and we managed to get out of the Meetup by 8:15pm.
A ruddy bunch of mugs this one is, I thought as we were sneaking through the MBCT over to Spring. Taking the Green Lane to 6th to Hill Street, the pack was starting to howl a bit, and they were all barking at the sky. Great thinking that was, starting the mission by chasing some black-ops choppers across downtown.
For some reason the normal corner of the parking lot we use was cordoned off with yellow caution tape when we arrived. It was about the right size for a skating rink, so we're going to assume for the time being that they've something good will happen to the meetup spot. We did our usual hangabout/gathering of the feces until five after, and at 8pm we rolled out.
Southward through the Little Tokyo Mall we went, then across the courtyard at the Japanese History Museum, then east on Main St started the skate. We covered the first 4 miles or so in warm-up-mode, knowing that a good pace would take the edge off of the 50 degree temperature on our deep-winter night skate. We eased up and regrouped for a little culture, with a brief story about Emiliano Zapata from our resident native American expert and a photo op, then we skated off to Lincoln Park (formerly known as EastLake Park, but not to be confused with Linkin Park, which is in Santa Monica).
The full moon was just waning, rising from behind the buildings to light the night. When we started out of downtown heading north on Main St. it hung lazily in the sky to our right, flattering the view with a diffused blue and golden light. That light fell on our backs when we cut across 19th to The Fig Bridge and bombed down the first of our 7 hills of the night (#1), to the southern end (of the northern part) of the LA River Path, a.k.a. the LARP.
We paused to refresh briefly at Oso Park - as is tradition regardless of whether we are traveling north or south - but we were antsy and didn't stay long.
The lights were out on the path, leaving the moon to cast sharp blue-on-black shadows in front of us. It gave the scene a spot-on teal & orange feel. Only our quiet, inconsequential conversations broke the sounds of skate bearings harmonizing with the gurgling LA River. Too soon we were at Fletcher St., and we popped up off the path for a little history.
First we cruised the Police Department building and spent a few minutes admiring the badges and shields of the LAPD officers killed in the line of duty, then we headed off down Spring on the Green Lane. The obligatory St. Vinny's was followed by the Library, then the escalators up to the California Center.
It didn't look like we were going to skate at all. Preliminary indications hinted that everybody was off sucking eggnog and watching football instead of skating like they should be. Nonetheless we dutifully made our way to the meetup and waited around to see if anyone else showed to brave the bitter arctic conditions (53º @ 8pm).
TheNightSkate bylaws require 3 skaters for a quorum, anything less and we just go drinking and skip the skating part, but we achieved quorum. After changing from drinkin' shoes to skates, we headed out of the lot for an old-school DownTown Roll Around.
- 100% of the skaters smoke
- This meant there were ample smoke-breaks
- 66% of the skaters were tobacco smokers
- This meant there was lots of wheezing
- 66% of the skaters were women
- This meant we were on-time and smelled nice.
It was a good crowd. There was a playful mood, being just before Christmas, and of course Hollywood Boulevard's famous "Walk of Stars" is a street-skater's dream. The ground marble surface is like glass. The only impurity to that sidewalk is the people on it. Going east is downhill, so we enjoyed about 10 blocks of sidewalk surfing before we went up to Yucca and headed east.
December's first skate was a test of mettle. It was cold, and I mean downright arctic by Los Angeles standards, it was barely 50 degrees when we started. We had to wear jackets. It was even possible to see your breath if you stood really still and breathed deep. I'm saying it was cold, OK?
We headed up the stairs to 4th Street and that helped a bit, and when we came down the other side we stopped to watch some skaters doing a photo shoot. They were not very impressive though, so we split pretty soon and went to the basketball courts at the Pecan Rec Center.
The lucky 13th skate didn't break the previous week's cold record, but it was still chilly. We had a respectable turnout in spite of the frigid temperatures however. Initial indications were that there would be some hill climbing involved in the evening's festivities, but it turned out that preliminary indicators were all frickin' wrong. We were lazy, and it was agreed that a Flatlands Skate would suit everybody's tastes.
It started out the same as any other night. Lace up the skates, check the email, look over my texts, gather my feces. But there was something different about this night, something that wasn't obvious. Things happened as expected. People called in late. People bailed. I got a lift into town. It was cool but not cold. Eventually we decided we'd waited around long enough, and we went to the OccupyLA protests going on at City Hall.It's only two blocks to City Hall from our meeting spot, so even though we'd told the late one to meet us there we still had 10 minutes to kill after we'd had our fill of lending moral support to the protesters, gaping at their whimsical creations and of course, excusing ourselves for not staying.
We started out of the shop, as is usual for the CM events, but we had to make the trip to the meetup in high gear. The evening wasn't notably warm or cold, so hustling to Western & Wilshire in 30-ish minutes was the fun, technical sidewalk trick-skate that it should be, instead of the exhusting, exhaust-filled sweat-fest it can be.
The turnout was average, about 1000-1500 cyclists, and we hung on the Skater's Corner across from the Wiltern for all of sixty seconds before the official ride started.
An unusual 9am start was surprisingly well attended considering the planned activities. We had two people in racing skates, two in rec skates, a quad-skater and a skateboard. We were also on-time, and to the surprise of everyone we left the 2nd & San Pedro meetup spot at five minutes after 9. Which was good, because it was a long day, and we added yet another item to the "list of crap which can cock up a bike path".
We started northbound on Alameda, went right on Main and left on Griffin, making a beeline for the beautiful Arroyo Seco bike path. It didn't dissappoint, being more or less clear (for a path built IN a riverbed) and boasted a nicely flowing brook alongside our early skate. At the top of the path we regrouped at the picnic tables, watching the roosters run around and wishing there was toilet paper in the porta-potties.
Our TNS RemoteSkate™ this week was Beverly Hills, as deemed by the gang via our monthly Facebook poll. We covered a skosh under 14 miles in 2 hours, with a mere 300 feet of vertical gain on the evening. Overall it was a long skate, but judging from the apres skate festivities we could've gone a while more.
Voting for this month's RemoteSkate© was close, with Beverly Hills just edging out Van Nuys. Almost nobody was on time when we met next to the BH City Hall and Courthouse, at the location known best to the locals as "the place where they have the Sunday Morning Farmer's Market in Beverly Hills", a.k.a the corner of Civic Center and Alpine, just next to Santa Monica Blvd.. Being a new spot the late start was expected, and by 20 past 8 we were off and terrorizing the good people of BH.
We started with a totally stupid skate uphill around a parking garage, but things got back together and we tooled around City Hall, crossed Roxbury and headed over to Cañon.
The November 8, 2011 skate was a TNS RailSkate™, mostly along the typical NoHo2DTLA/LARP route, but we took a short trip over to the former-runways-now-streets of the Grand Central-Glendale Airport, as was foreshadowed by the Destinations article of the same name.
We had a couple of new folks, a couple of old folks an a few that are just on the cusp of becoming regulars, and after a quick vote of confidence at the start we busted a move to the Pershing Square station and hopped the 8:20 Red Liner to NoHo. We laced up and rolled out at 8:54pm, and made our way out the bike path toward Victory, cut south on Sparks and hung a left when we got down to Riverside.
That was a gooder that one was. We had a good-sized crowd on the November 1st skate, and we were all ready to skate. We had a minor altercation with the Police ("Gentlemen, I believe that's called a red light!") before we got out of downtown, but they were copacetic. The evening also gave us a few other memorable quotes, including "Follow the leader has only one rule," "Hey what are you doing over there, breaking up with him?" and "A great big 10 foot pole!". (Details available upon request.)
The last Friday of the month came around so we took an opportunity to go roll around with a couple of thousand cyclists and a hundred or so of LA's finest, purely for the amusement of the spectators. It was a solid 28 miles all told, and all of it was downhill... ok, not really.
The ride started out at 7:30 pm sharp, cutting east on Olympic after a short trip south from the Western and Wilshire train station on Western. A left on Fig took us up for the obligatory 2nd Street tunnel crossing, complete with fresh blood, flashing lights and sound-pressure-levels around 120db between 1 & 3k (that's really loud... like Hank Jr. on a moonshine bender loud).
New skaters came out again this week, and we took a climbing route over to Echo Park. Except not really. We did 12 and a half miles and a litte over 900 feet of climbing. We did have new skaters, one of them quad. We had a skateboarder and a guy who showed up on a Harley. But Echo Park is closed 'n' stuff. Wrapped in a big, green, chain-link fence. The opinion of the group ranged from the opinion that the fence was "somewhat distracting"to "it sucks" when compared to the same park without the large fence.
This week we went back to Pasadena for another remote skate. We had a good turnout for a remote skate, and pulled off a super-fun - albeit somewhat technical - route. Anyone who tells you they weren't tired after this skate wasn't really there. In spite of a relatively short distance (a smidge under 12 and a half miles) we spent 2 and a third hours skating, and climbed almost 1000 feet in overall elevation. It didn't seem like that much when we were doing it, but we were spanked by the time we finished up.
This weeks skate was a romp! We did a big western loop, past the Church of Money, out past MacArthur Park, through Hel-Mel and the City College, then made the big run up Sunset, cut through Chinatown and back to the start. It showed up at almost 13 miles and took a little less than 2 hours. There was skateboarding and curb-jumping and more than a little sweat. Afterwards we topped it off with milkshakes and soda. All in all, not a bad way to spend an night out under the bright full moon.
This year's a2a is in the books (the 30th running), and some of our regulars were skatin' that tail feather all 'cross Jaw-ja. Way to go, you guys rock!
87 miles42 6:55:40 12.6 Rick Sadlier 34 APRR Santa Monica, CA
57 8:31:58 10.2 Ryan Olson 34 Playa Del Rey, CA38 miles9 2:21:51 16.1 Justin Valle 30 LA on Wheels Encino, CA
23 3:09:36 12.0 Jeff Otto 35 Santa Monica, CA
But not far from it. It was a weird night with everybody showing up late, which led to a super short skate. We did get out to East LA to roll the new bike lane on 1st Street, hung out at the skate park in Hollenbeck for a bit, took some snapz from the 6th Street Bridge, and finished up with a cruise through the many fabulous smells of Pickletown. If i recall correctly, it was pickled jalapeños, sugar cookies and whole wheat loaf bread.
Also, let the record show that Daniel wore his fresh out of the FedEx truck skates, and he pronounced them to be "super Tammy!"
This week we did a loosey goosey downtown rollaround, mainly because glorious leader was worried about breaking a sweat. The good news is that we have a new waiter at Senior Fish who doesn't yet know we're the worst table in the joint.
We took in the usual sights at the Church of Money, added yet another 7-11 to the "Points of Hate" list, and we accosted some local rent-a-cops who were protecting the Walt's waiters from our AWSUM SK8N SKILZ. We got lectured by a bunch of protestors who are "dedicated to non-violence" ("The man" called and said, "Thanks Pansies".) We stopped by a magic flushable Dalek, saw the Dark Side of the Moon at the Pershing Square station, and of course, who could ever forget...
This week saw us meeting in bee-yoo-tiful downtown Culver City for a "Remote Skate". A decent group showed up with good legs so we did a nice long route, 16.2 miles all told. From Culver City we went south across Ballona, across the 405 and up into Mar Vista, back across the 405 and across the 10 to Westwood before rounding Century City, cutting through Beverly Hills and back to Culver City.
There was a brief diversion to the Mar Vista stairs, which surprisingly had a knowegable docent and advocate conveniently on-hand to tell us about the area history.
We closed up with beers and nosh at Gaby's Medi, then split up around 11:15.
- Another Reverse Silverlake Route
- West Adams Skate
- East Side Reverse Rail Skate
- Downtown Roll-Around
- Dodger Stadium!
- USC Skate
- Linkin Park
- SilverLake Skate!
- Rain-ish Skate
- NoHo to DTLA skate
- Another Chilly Skate
- Turkey Skate!
- Rail Skate Review
- DT 2 NoHo: TNS goes LARP-ing
- Far, Flat and Wide
- Next Skate is Taco Tuesday!
- Downtown Meetup Location
- Mystery Skate!
- October's Adventure Skate
- Hot Night in the City
- Another Grand TNS
- Police Lead the Way
- Pasadena Night Skate
- 2009.07.14 - first skate
- Traveling Night Skate - Pasadena
- Speed Skate Route
- Live to skate
- Downtown to Hollywood Reverse Rail Skate