The Broadway Bomb is almost upon us and if you’re planning on visiting the City to ride, here are some tips that will definitely make your experience that much better. Use the bike lanesWhile the streets are ours to roam, the cars that dominate them will not stop for you. Thats where the bike lanes come in. Giving you a space free from cars from the street and free from the crowds from the sidewalk, skating the bike lanes keep you as close to the rush of the city’s streets in the safest way possible. Note: Bike lanes will save you from cars, but not from bikers. Don’t think that a Citi Bike rider will show you the same level of caution that a cab driver would.
Keep your eyes downThe streets in New York are crusty in the best of times. Add pot holes, metal plates and other trash and debris and you’ll get thrown if you cannot carve around these obstacles in time. Big, soft wheels can save you from some of the smaller bumps and cracks in the road but if you’re running hard, small wheels, you especially need your eyes down.
Watch out for bystanders and passerby’sAt the same time, you need to spend an equal amount of time keeping your eyes up. To the tourists, you’re a street performer. To the locals, you’re a nuisance. Either way, most people will not get out of your way. Avoid the hassle of the Parks departmentThe parks department makes skating most of the city’s parks unskatable. At most of the city’s most popular parks, they are known to issue to summons to unwelcome riders. It’s best not to take the risk and to find a spot where skateboarding is either ignored or, even better, encouraged. Be aware that the skateparks turn into mob scenes at peak hoursThe skateparks in NYC are some of the most well constructed and well laid out parks in the world. However, from the late morning until there is no more light to see, these parks get insanely crowded.Steer clear of Times Square at all costsEverything that makes Times Square magical for tourists is everything that makes skateboarders dread riding in this area. Scores of people, the most congested traffic in the entire city and a lack of skatable street spots are far from a skater’s ideal NYC skateboarding trip to the city. Definitely best not to waste time here if you have a board with you.Skitch at your own riskThough skating through the city’s streets may feel like a video game, skitching through them like a character in a Tony Hawk game is extremely risky. Jeff Gaites, owner of Uncle Funky’s Boards, once told me a story of how he was left clinging to the side of a delivery truck after being lifted off his board while skitching downtown. Since then, that story sticks in my head as all the reason I’ll ever need to not give it a try.Know your surroundingsGetting lost could be a good thing. You’re never too far from public transportation that can get you back to a familiar area and you never know what spots lie around the corner. To that end, though, some areas are rough and not meant for the exploratory skater. If you go in with a plan and feel out the areas as you go, you’ll do fine. However, remain cautious of where you end up and who’s near. Travel lightly, take caution putting your belongings downWhile it’s also more comfortable to skate without a pack weighing down your back, it is best to travel lightly in a city where there really are no good places to drop your things while you skate. There have been countless stories of stolen bags and cameras gone missing. It would be wise to only carry the absolute essentials on your person to avoid becoming the next one of those stories.Don’t get intimidated by your fellow skaters but respect themIn a city this grand, expect there to be the best of the best. Expect the skaters that are “too cool” for you. Most of all, don’t be too put off by their skills to skip out on practicing your own. If you stay clear of their lines and respect their area as they respect yours, you’ll rarely have any issues with fellow skaters. If you have a board under your feet, you’re just as entitled to skate the greatest city in the world as they are. BONUS: If you have never seen this 2013 video of the Broadway Bomb, you’re in for a treat.