Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Minneapolis Friday Night Skate

Once or twice a summer the stars align and I get to go on the Minneapolis Friday Night Skate
The Friday Night Skate winds through downtown Minneapolis... For the most part we stay in a pack, stopping every few miles to re-group. The skate lets you hang out with your friends, meet some new friends, see downtown, get some exercise, but most of all... have a great time!
... The skates happen every second and fourth Friday of the month. The skates start promptly at 9:00 PM. In order to get ready we recommend that you get there by 8:30...
The web site is a bit dusty, but it's got the directions. I used to do these skates several times a summer, but it's tricky to protect the time.

Tonight was a beautiful skate. Pleasant breeze, nice paced group, beautiful sites, lots of people watching. We cross the Stone Arch bridge and climb the hill to overlooking the Guthrie, the Mill City Museum and park, the river and the the 35W bridge ...

The wee little iphone picture shows a bit of the Guthrie and a rosy sunset. We skate down the helical ramp of Mt Guthrie and then down to view the 35W bridge. It's a dull bridge in the daylight, but at night the lighting glows a charming green.

We wind around the Metrodome and then up Hennepin. Tonight there were a lot of kids and young adults hanging around, probably doing stuff I don't want my kids to do. One of our group is a compulsive waver, she even got most of the retailers to wave a bit. I caught up with two members of Minneapolis Mad Dads, including the president and founder of the local 13 yo chapter. What might be mildly intimidating on foot seems mostly curious on skates; we amuse the night life and move pretty quickly.

Heading inland towards Loring Park we pass through the downtown theater district -- they were doing a good trade tonight. We got a good number of waves and cheers. The park was dark in the crescent moon, but I know it well. This year the fountain is in good health, first time I've seen it for a while. We head back down Nicollet mall, and of course this time of year there's always some Aquatennial thing going on ...

On skates it's easy to look over the audience.

From there we cut across a building plaza where the security guards are often mildly perturbed (young one tonight), but they rarely bother us if we don't play around the pillars. There's some skating around the fountain there, then a dash across the right lane of the Hennepin bridge -- smooth downhill and good lighting.

It's one of my favorite night time outings. If you're in Minneapolis, and you're a competent and confident urban skater -- give it a try. Helmet and wrist guards are recommended, though tonight only I wore the latter. There's a Facebook group for the Friday Skate and a Page for the related MN Inline Skate Club.

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