Try Skating and get Scotland rolling

Don Morton skates PARIS

Paris, a city that has many faces to many people. No doubt about it tourist Paris is a pleasure to behold. A long history, Impressive buildings, good food, many wide, tree strewn, boulevards and for the skater smooth flat surfaces. (Don says, except the cobbles) No matter, this is still the capital of street skating.

The Parisians are a law unto themselves. So say the French. You get a different experience each time you visit. To-day it will be an expensive one but lets not blame the collapse of the £ on anyone but ourselves. It's the unpredictable that makes the city so interesting. For me, Paris is a place that hides its dark side, it ignores its problems yet values its image. The city has style to the point of arrogance, it's a contradiction that seems to work as far as the visitor's eye can see. Its welcoming yet offhand but for all that it remains popular even with Americans. Only the Parisians could make this work.

So what does Paris offer the Rollerblader?

Two great street skates, the Pari-Roller and the Rollers & Coquillages. This report concentrates on the Pari-Roller. Before you set out print off a copy of the route beforehand from your computer. (The route changes every week) The Pari-Roller is FREE you don't have to pay or join in advance, just turn up.

The McLeod Family

The MacLeod family ready to start

It's 10pm Friday evening at Montparnasse. 2,000+ skaters (Don says, numbers down on normal) of many nationalities have gathered at the start beside the Montparnasse Tower. The conditions are good, cold and dry. Don is joined by the MacLeod family. We're ready for 25kms of good skating round the streets of Paris. Now we look forward to three hours of effort with plenty of stops.

If this was to be your first Pari-Roller the sheer number of skaters at the start can be overwhelming. So many brilliant skaters mixed with the not so good. Whatever, don't feel intimidated. However you must be competent at braking. That is absolutely essential before you skate on roads anywhere.

Pari Roller Marshalls.

The Marshals get ready for the off

The police and ambulances arrive as do the marshals who control traffic. They are now in position at the front and signal it is time to go. We move off, one mass of people in close contact. You need all your skills to watch the road surface, other skaters nearby plus sudden changes in direction. There is a code of hand signals for stopping, indicating hazards and turning left or right.

As you progress confidence rises as you get into your normal skating stride. Remain alert for the unexpected, e.g. skaters cutting across your path, fallers that may necessitate taking evasive action, kerbs. The dreaded cobbles appear eventually and they test your ability to the maximum. Everyone seems happy and excited, the mood is fun.


The melee at the start


At major junctions the marshals stop to allow skaters a chance to re-group, this gives you a short break to gather strength for the next hazard which will more than likely be a steepish hill. This is where good technique is important to avoid expending too much energy.

Adrenalin has kicked in and keeps you going. Eventually you feel fatigued but by then you're back where you started at the finishing point, Montparnasse. Now it's time to skate home with an elated feeling of great achievement.


Paris skater

Add a bit of neon tubing for fun.

Why Don skates the Pari-Roller

The Pari-Roller is a challenge for recreational skaters like ourselves. It is an experience like no other for the new skater. It's a benchmark of ability. Testing, are the skills of the street skater. Many have said they would like to do the Pari-Roller but faced with the actual reality of the challenge decide to opt out, which is such a great pity. It's an event every skater should attempt once in their lifetime.

What you have to do has been well documented in the STREET SKATING newsletter.

Fancy doing the Pari-Roller next year?


(Don says, thanks Paris for a great skating experience)