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Graham H
Skate Report - 1st January 2003 Steve (from the UK), Bob, Dan, Ivan, Ben, Chris, Helen and myself. Its not often that I can name all bladers on a skate but that was the way it was for the first Wednesday City Skate of 2003. Hangovers to blame?

Departure at about 9:20pm was on the late side, Steve our visitor for the night from the UK had arrived early with his private cheer squad (wife and in-laws). I think he must have thought the skate was to be called off, stark contrast no doubt with the London skate where there is traffic control and police co-operation to be considered. Got to admire Steve’s determination, his good wife did not let him bring his skate gear, so he went out and bought a second hand pair just for the occasion ($25 and quite usable). No protective gear, apparently it is not needed on the London skate which is devoid of steep hills and other nasties.

There was a request to do the harbour bridge, no prizes for guessing who from. The troops headed off up Macquarie street to the second meeting place just in case we could pick up a few extra bods. We did pick up Ben, late as usual and heading for the Palace Gates, no other takers however. On to Hyde Park, chockers with people attending open air concerts and exhibitions etc. Very damp on the paths under the trees. First casualty, when either Bob or Dan went for a slide right in front of one of the Park’s inebriated denizens, no damage however. Ben demonstrated his fine stairs technique crossing Park Street, frightening a few pedestrians in the process.

Up Oxford Street to Taylor’s Square, then along Bourke to the top of Foveaux Street. After giving Steve a good briefing on what to expect, ie. feral Taxi’s zipping in from side streets and in and out of the Taxi Depot, we went on a fast blast down Foveaux to Central Railway.

From the bottom of Foveaux it was a short run up to the Devonshire Street Tunnel. More stair riding for Ben then a quick blast down the tunnel. A bit of comedy with a single security guard at the end of the tunnel being as ferocious as her rounded five foot two frame would allow. She directed each and every skater to cease and desist and was politely wished a happy new year. Unfortunately, we were going much too fast to stop and chat. On then to the back streets of Ultimo and Pyrmont, some took the rickety stairs, smarter ones skated straight up Harris St to the ski hill, a nice fast run down the hill, up to the roundabout, then a quick run through the Casino driveway. No problems with the security this run. Across Pyrmont Bridge, down the pedestrian ramp and on up the steep hill to Kent St. After refreshments we were heading for the Bridge at last. Time running a bit short, we opted to run to the Bridge via the exit ramp from Observatory Hill. At this point a couple of us decided to do a few runs on the ski hill past the Palisades pub to Hickson Rd. and to wait around for the guy’s doing the bridge run. Steve did the bridge and departed to Milsons’s Point for his long train ride back to Carlingford, the wife and in-laws. We hope he enjoyed the ride.

Chris, on his way back over the bridge once again demonstrated the value of wearing a helmet. As Bill had previously discovered those pesky pneumatic counter sensors can be bloody hazardous. Chris, one of the most competent skaters I know, found himself flying headfirst into the concrete. The result was a grazed shoulder and a very heavily battered helmet. This could have been a serious smack on the head. To all you brave non-helmet wearers I remind you that learning to talk all over again is much less convenient than strapping on a helmet.

After re-convening at the bottom of the ski hill, it was up the steps and off along Kent St. to the Cargo Bar which turned out to be closed for the night. The Pontoon Bar was accommodating as it usually is, so we finished the night there with a few quite ales etc.
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