Commuting by Rollerblades

April 9, 2008 at 3:10 pm 15 comments

A few years ago, I dropped my car off for some maintenance in Blacksburg and I couldn’t find anyone to pick me up. I happened to have my rollerblades in my car, so I strapped them on, skated three miles to the other side of town and met up with a co-worker who was stuck waiting for the cable guy. Once the cable guy had come and gone, I had my ride to work!

I wouldn’t be able to that nowadays.

Blacksburg prohibits and, thanks to the March 11, 2008 Town Council Meeting (which I missed– whoops), now issues a fine for skating in the downtown areas. With the center of town off-limits, I have no viable path to get from one side of town to the other.

I don’t think the Town Council members are bad people. I’m sure their intent is related to safety. And I know Blacksburg is not alone. In my travels, I’ve run across other places with similiar restrictions:


Evansville Indiana also has in-line skating ordinances.

With the exception of a park in Kansas, I have complied to restricted areas. BUT, I certainly don’t agree with these types of rules. I think in this day in age with obesity and lethargy as prevalent as they are, we should not be taking steps to discourage people from being active. And with rising concerns about carbon footprints and gas prices, why discourage people from other means of travel?

Well now that my two cents are out there, there is a bit of a good news. I may not be able to rollerblade across my own town, but I can still commute between towns.

On Tuesday nights, I typically take advantage of the Regal Cinema’s Free Popcorn Night. Yesterday the weather was nice and I had just enough lead time, so I rollerbladed from Blacksburg to the theatre in Christiansburg, via the Huckleberry Trail.

The Huckleberry Trail is always beautiful, especially in the spring with all the Bradford Pear trees. But with a little less room in this world to skate, yesterday this paved path seemed more stunning than usual.


I love you, Huckleberry Trail

Entry filed under: Huckleberry Trail, Rollerblading. Tags: .

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15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Carolyn  |  April 9, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    My main motivation for not getting out and rollerblading more is I do not want to rollerblade near streets with cars around. I just know I’ll fall down and get run over. Therefore, my options are limited, and what with the area I live, I have yet to find a paved trail like the Huckleberry Trail that I can rollerblade on. There’s plenty of dirt and gravel parks around, but I need pavement.

    So, that leaves going in circles in the TJ parking lot. Which sucks because 1) I have to wait until all the cars are gone, and those TJ highschoolers like to stay late! (once it gets past 7:30, my motivation is gone), and 2) It gets boring just going around in circles around the school the whole time.

    That’s why I’m not getting any thinner.

    Reply
  • 2. Sour Swinger  |  April 9, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Vicky I’m disappointed. You need to let the Sawyer in you shine and FIGHT AUTHORITY!!! I never understood the whole no roller blading or skateboarding. I say BULLSHIT!!!!

    Reply
  • 3. Clint  |  April 9, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    A good deal of laws simply take away our freedoms in the name of safety (wont somebody PLEASE think of the children?), and of course lawsuits increase the fiscal desire to enact a rule like this as well.

    Of course, the drug war was to protect ourself from ourselves, and look how that went: We are the country that imprisons the highest amount of its citizens of any country in the world, and have been for 10+ years. Over 50% of our prisoners are completely non-violent, and states like California are considering releasing 10s of 1000s of prisoners because they don’t have the money to house them all anymore.

    What I’m trying to say is: Protecting people from themselves really doesn’t work.

    Do they even have bike lanes in Blacksburg?! There should be a path for those of us who don’t want to walk, but don’t want to burn oil either.

    Reply
  • 4. tgaw  |  April 9, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    @CarolynCASL – With many things in life, diversity is important and I think exercise is one of those things. Rollerblading is far from my only form of exercise. Sometimes I go jogging in the neighborhood, sometimes I swim laps, sometimes I hike, sometimes I play volleyball and sometimes I simply go for a walk. I agree– circling around TJ is a bummer (been there, done that). So don’t rely on that– find something out there that is inspiring and fun!

    @Jordan – Yeah, WWUJD (What Would Uncle Jonny Do)? Probably something way more vocal and attention-getting than me!🙂

    @ClintJCL – I am sure you are right– that it is safety they are concerned about. To that, I’ll simply point out that the increased risks of heart disease, diabetes and cancer that come with obesity are much more widespread than rollerblading injuries.

    Reply
  • 5. tgaw  |  April 9, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    @ClintJCL – They do have some bike lanes in Blacksburg. That particular section of the downtown area, I think the bikers share the same lanes as the motor vehicles.

    Reply
  • 6. Chriggy  |  April 9, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Quite honestly,protecting people from themselves = messing with evolution and natural selection.

    Reply
  • 7. Clint  |  April 9, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    @Chriggy: hahaha, funny!

    However, on a serious note, I believe natural selection is over. We’re in an artificial selection phase. Our genes’ll get worse until we start to fix them ourselves with science. Nature’s more or less done — for the brief moment (looks around for plague on the horizon, asteroids in the sky, gamma bursts, biological weapons) (runs away)

    @Vicky: Do rollerbladers get to use bike lanes?

    Reply
  • 8. Chriggy  |  April 9, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    I’m going to go drink my Brawndo now.

    Reply
  • 9. geekhiker  |  April 9, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    Well, you know those rollerskaters zipping by scare the bejesus out of the non-active people. Can’t have them spilling their latte’s, now can we?

    I highly suspect it has to do with the lawyers. All it takes is one pedestrian who got hit by one roller-skater/skateboarder/bicyclist to sue the city and, boom, new ordinance. Modern law at it’s best.

    Reply
  • 10. ronbailey  |  April 10, 2008 at 7:42 am

    Wow… that’s almost inexcusable now that gas prices seem to be permanently lodge over the $3.00/gallon mark. They oughta be looking for ways to encourage people to get out of their automobiles, not forcing them to drive everywhere.

    I’m with you guys; No Rollerblading is one rule I’d have to consider thumbing my nose at. (if I were actually athletic enough to rollerblade, that is.)

    Reply
  • 11. A-Ron  |  April 10, 2008 at 7:58 am

    “Safety” is just the cover they used to get skaters off the sidewalks.

    Awesome trail, though!

    Reply
  • 12. A-Ron  |  April 10, 2008 at 8:00 am

    P.S. That trail reminded me of this local one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Comet_Trail

    Reply
  • 13. Jim Derk  |  April 10, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Evansville, IN also has an ordinance against spitting. (NOT kidding.)

    Neither is enforced.

    They do enforce the one against skateboarders though.

    Reply
  • 14. ClintJCL  |  April 10, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Didn’t they make spitting illegal in Washington DC a few years back as well?

    I refuse. I’ll fight it in court too. I think, if I hock up a huge mucously loogie from the bowels of my lungs or sinuses, that I have a constitutional right to NOT swallow that.

    Reply
  • 15. John  |  June 19, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    You think $3.00 is expencive for a gallon gas in the UK we now pay $7.00 for 5 liters, we can’t rollerblade or push bike on the public pavements as it breaks the law, we can’t take pictures of our own children in a puplic park, swimming pool or even their sports day at school without being called phedophiles, what is this world comming to ? a pussey assed wiped version of it’s self, where total over political correctness has got way way out of control, and the greedy public sue anyone for anything, there are just too many people on the planet now we need to be exterminated , bring on the comet !

    Reply

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