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New podcast episode: Bikes and the future of skateboarding

Posted by on February 11th, 2014 at 9:24 am

Copenhagen Day 3-45-46

Side by side: skateboards are common in Denmark, too.
(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)

Its users are belittled, harassed and ignored, but people keep doing it because it’s practical, affordable and fun — and Portland is leading the nation in thinking about it as a useful form of transportation.

It’s skateboarding, and the new episode of BikePortland’s half-hour monthly podcast asks whether it’s following in biking’s trail.

In celebration of OMSI’s new skateboarding exhibit and Portland’s increasingly sophisticated skateboard advocacy movement, we invited two smart advocates to join us and talk about the parallels between skating and biking and the future of skating in the first major U.S. city to make skateboards street legal (that’d be ours).

I especially like the part where each of us shares an example of something skateboarding can do that no other form of transportation can — and, as usual, the song producer Lillian Karabaic found to introduce our show.

Thanks to our guests, Cory Poole of the NW Skate Coalition and Tessa Walker, a Portland State University scholar whose study of skateboard transportation is available online. (She actually gave the wrong URL during our taping.)

You can subscribe to our monthly podcast with Stitcher or iTunes, subscribe by RSS, sign up to get an email notification each time we upload a new episode, or just listen to it above using Soundcloud.

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

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Dan
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Dan

I’ve stopped biking the 1/2 mile to school with my 3rd grader and prefer to skateboard there. I get a lot of weird looks, but it’s very practical. He can bring his helmet & board into class with him, so it’s faster than locking/unlocking the bike at the rack, and I get to have a really fun ride back home afterwards.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

It’s not use of skateboards as practical transportation that skateboarders are belittled, harassed and ignored. Longboards and other skateboards used as actual transportation, can work out alright, when in riding them on narrow sidewalks, skateboarders get off the board when people walking are present.

Some skateboarders use the bike lane for travel, which can work well when they’ve equipped themselves with lights and other visibility gear.

A big reason skateboarders are subject to contempt, is their long standing tradition of choosing to grind and jump skateboards on every conceivable wall, seat, hand rail with the resulting, costly, often irreversible damage that causes.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

As a serious skateboarder for at least 42 years now, I have to agree with WSBOB.
While it came as a clear result of a lack of facilities, I have never been down with destruction of public/ private property while skating.
I also recall using my skateboard as transportation since I was old enough to leave the neighborhood, which strangely then was right after I started skating. My brother has reminded me that we would be miles and miles from home, at a very young age, on our skateboards bombing hills…..

Pete
Guest

Destruction of public property? A bit of paint scuffed up here and there, some wheel marks on walls, handrails and ledges? Have a bit of perspective in regards to what real ‘destruction’ is, please…

Cory Poole
Guest

Some very interesting comments. It stresses the concept of public “use”. do people get upset when public infrastructure gets worn out though intended use? I think one of the issues here is the sense of unintended use. I certainly do not condone the inappropriate use of public or private property. But in many cases the facilities being “damaged” are already disused and in disrepair. I feel there may be a sense of damage is amplified by public conceptions of skate culture. There is also an opportunity to talk about the concept in integration of skate elements into public spaces. If every few blocks there was an inexpensive skate element built into existing infrastructure how would inappropriate use be affected?
Of course this is all a bit removed from the kind of skateboarding that is transportation focused. Most longboards are completely incapable riding rails or curbs.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Scooters (two urethane wheels and handlebar) have long been used as alternative transportation in urban areas. Far easier to ride than a skateboard, most have brakes, and they fold up.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Many times, when we love what we do so much, it becomes easy to gloss over what we leave behind, and why. From bolts in rock, to spray paint on a wall, to grooves along marble ledges, and yes, skid marks on dirt trails, we may think this is part of what we do, so it is fine. (not pointing fingers, just examples)
Well it is not fine, and we need to get past such thought processes.

Damage to public and private property dug the hole that skateboarding is finally pulling it’s beautiful locks out of.
Referring to it in this reference, next to an article about a resurgence of skateboarding, even as transportation, is entirely relevant.

Caitlin
Guest

Skateboards can be a great transportation method for short distances! I don’t think encouraging this has any effect on damage to public property. The vast majority of us are nowhere near talented (or gutsy) enough to practice the kind of tricks skaters everywhere are going to do regardless of what anyone says or cares about. I think making room for everyone else to expand the options beyond driving is a great way to condone a healthier/more active lifestyle and activate public spaces.

Dan
Guest
Dan

More long-range electronic longboards are on their way.

http://e-go.com/
http://www.boostedboards.com/

Jane
Guest
Jane

I’d rather see skateboard damage on every visible surface than have to look at cars everywhere all the time. Disclaimer: I don’t ride a skateboard or drive a car.

Jim
Guest
Jim

Skate boards are just fine in the bike lane as long as they only have two wheels on them.