|2004 Philadelphia Freedom Skate Photos:
2004 Philly Freedom Skate:Another great year for the best skaters holiday adventure in America!
A blend of nearly 400 fun loving inline skaters recreational, fitness, aggressive and speed all seeking their adventure skating fix, reestablishing acquaintances, skate talk and partying the weekend away. A gregarious bunch of entertaining New Yorkers, Philadelphians, Bostonians, Washingtonians, and a smattering of other skate freaks from around the nation. For skaters by skaters in the City Of Brotherly Love to skate.
Friday 7pm, thanks to the organizers and dedicated skate patrol we were able to fit in a Friday Night Skate. At 7pm it was looking ominous of no skate to happen do to wet conditions. Well at 8pm we got lucky when plan B kicked into gear. It looked doable, we looked hungry to skate so off we went fifteen minutes later. A straightforward city center and subterranean skate routed to hit the dry spots. Even with slightly damp streets in front of the hotel, with out trouble everybody made it down the hill and in to the first turn. Thanks to the skate patrol and police closing off intersections, the route was very safe. Highlights of the route included interconnected subway stations and our visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to view some stair descending. Not crazy about skating a wet surface, there were plenty of local entertainment options plus the time for beer cause it looked like rain party.
Monday 10am, an excellent summer warm dry day for the pick your challenge skate.
Art and Architecture Skate
Easy, stopping at interesting buildings, statues, murals, fountains and other artistic locations in the city. A slow 12miles with frequent stops.
City Sights Skate
Moderate paced passing by local Philadelphia historical landmarks such as Independence Hall, Constitution Center, Italian Market and the Real World House. Twelve to fourteen miles with occasional stops
Advanced paced to view the new Citizens Bank ballpark, Lincoln Financial football stadium and the remains of Veterans Stadium. A brisk twenty miles with a few stops.
Wild Wild West Skate
A kick-your-ass skate to the suburbs west of Philadelphia. Skate through the Main Line District on nicely paved tree-lined streets; see mansion and other landmarks of the area. A fast twenty-five miles with infrequent stops.
Just as indicated A true kick-your-ass skate it was! Listed as twenty-five turned out to be a fun and hilly thirty mile challenge with just enough stops. We passed through a variety of Western suburban areas along the Main Line route. The Main Line area is called that for the Philadelphia bound main line commuter train that passes through the area. Beautiful 1800 era stone mansions on lush green grounds, twisting turning streets of timber and brick Old World homes, urban preservation, renewal and decay. Through the old stone structure campuses of Brynmawr College, Saint Josephs University and (some other university campus, fill me in someone) .Along the route kids waved at us while adults looked on in peculiar amusement. Route safety was a group effort. Lead skaters took turns to wave on the group as we passed through intersections. Only advanced skaters participated in the route so the whole morning worked well for us speed skaters.
Along the way only two entertaining mishaps occurred. Directly in front of me a five wheeler found he could not make the sharp right turn. His front wheels hit the far side curb sending him flying belly first into a freshly groomed patch of rich black Pennsylvania soil. He landed with a bounce a like large trash bag thrown to the streets. Dirt along his side on his face and up his nose. A second skater had a similar occurrence with similar results. Both skaters were fine because they were wearing their helmets as all skates were supposed to. We returned just in time to slam down a lunch, chill for a bit at the pool party and prepare for the 3:30pm down hill skate. The other skaters returned earlier to the hotel to enjoy a lengthy pool party but we had the best adventure!
Session three, down hill mania from the eyes of a speed skater. For 2004 middle ground was struck to offer speed skaters a few thrills and recreational skaters less spills. O the smell and sight of smoking 76mm 78A urethane wheels and heal brake dragging, flailing arms and flying body parts. Five-wheel envy iterated as you graciously glide past skaters on the up hills and down hills. It all started out as usual with ten buses loaded up delivering speed and fear rabid skaters off to an unknown destination in suburban Philadelphia. Which way the route turned nobody knew. This year there were many turns along the route passing through the pleasant green grass tree lined streets of suburban Philly. A particular highlight for 2004 was descending down a narrow underpass with skaters in various stages of panic as they approached three metal grades inside the tunnel. The tunnel emptied out on to a road that led to a pleasant path along the Delaware River. Sweet, long and flat as it passed the boathouses lining the west end of the river.
For dinner Philly Freedom Skate offered complimentary trolley transportation and a specially priced group meal at downtown eatery Marathon Grill. With nearly 400 hungry skaters its good to be amongst the head of the pack even in the buffet line. The early diner's salmon was nice-n-tasty. To our surprise after dinner PFS laid out a tasty do it your self Sunday bar of quality ice cream and fixins. Hey this is Philly where's the Italian ice!
Sunday 10am the weather gods were still shining upon us. Time for the Bagel Roll. But first quality bagels and juice to start the day provided by PFS. The skate was of a moderate distance and difficulty. Sounds easy but after 14 miles on Friday and 45 on Saturday us maximum adventure seekers were dragging slightly. Another scenic city skate with extended viewing time at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to watch skaters shoot down the Rocky movie famed five levels of marble stairs. Upon arrival back to our hotel PFS had lunch awaiting us. Time to reminis about your skating adventures and the people you met.
But wait there was more if you kept abreast of your Philadelphia Land Skaters Yahoo Group messages! An after party at Pier 3 on the Delaware River facing the Jersey side. Delicious gourmet platters and a tasty beer smorgasbord provided by the host and attendees. A casual affair with one last chance to get your auditory fill of East Coast accents
Until next year Philly Freedom Skate you rock!
PS: Downhill skate Saturday from the front of the pack I did not relay see any flailing arms or flying body parts but I have in past Philly Freedom Skates.
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