Night skates are one of the biggest
phenomena of the inline skating world.
In fact, unlike festivals, tours, and
marathons, night skates are really a creation of the skating world.
skates started in San Francisco in 1989.
expressed on the website of the California Outdoor Rollerskating
Association, "In 1989, the Loma-Preita earthquake severely damaged the
Embarcadero Freeway. This double decked, elevated freeway was closed to
all traffic while the city planners could decide what to do with it.
Soon members of the Golden Gate Park Skate Patrol found an irresistible
urge to skate on this newly discovered skater's paradise. The roadway
was hard, smooth concrete with long downhill sections that was a
skater's dream. There were no cars to run you over."
started meeting there every Friday night and that was how it all
started. Soon the concepts of night skates, and most often Friday Night
Skates, spread to other US cities. Philadelphia, New York, Washington
DC, Miami, Seattle and Minneapolis all developed night skates. The concept then spread to
Europe, which has since taken it to new levels.
Compared to the several hundred skaters
that join night skates in the United States, Amsterdam gets 1000 each
summer week. Paris gets 10,000-12,000.
The unofficial world record was set in
Berlin with something like 45,000 skaters!
put this into perspective. Those
incredibly successful running marathons get upwards of 30,000 skaters -
but only once a year. Some
European night skates are now getting tens of thousands of skaters
night skates safe? Much more so than you would ever expect. Organizers take pains to
find good routes. Skating in a group of several hundred or even several
dozen makes the skaters very visible to cards; in fact, they usually
take over entire traffic lanes or, in the bigger skates, entire roads. Some of the biggest skates
even get police escorts.
you are traveling for business or just for fun and you will be in a
city with a night skate, bring your skates!
If you are interested to start a night skate in your city, see our page
on starting a night
skate. Below are a few of the world's best
The Amsterdam Friday Night Skate
gets from several hundred up to 1000 skaters on a good summer night.
The route is flat and the group is well organized, making this a good
skate for intermediate (rather than just advanced) skaters.
This Friday Night Skate is the
successor to Blade Night Berlin and now gets from 1000 to 4000 skaters.
The organizers treat this as a sort of protest in search of laws and
conditions favorable to skaters in Berlin.
Frankfurt runs a Tuesday Night Skate
that is extremely well organized and offers police coordination. The
routes are from 33-42 kilometers long (marathon length) and so the
skate is only for strong skaters.
This is now the Grande Dame of all
Night Skates and gets 10,000 to 12,000 skaters on a good night. The
start has moved back to the Gare Montparnasse.
The website has an excellent history of
the skate's growth from a few dozen skaters.