Known worldwide for its festive soul and endless nightlife, beautiful architecture, tempting gastronomy with the delicious tapas and much, much more, not everyone know that Barcelona is really into sport. And we are not talking here about football, ladies and gentlemen; we are talking of the Friday Night Skates, a wonderful way to stay in shape while you socialize and explore the city from an unusual perspective! Because in Barcelona rollerblading is much more than sport!
Every Friday night, hundreds of skaters invade the streets to speed together around the city, even more charming at night. This weekly event (the result of an idea of the APB: Association of Skaters of Barcelona), involves seven different routes that change every week, and each one takes you through different, but equally scenic parts of the city: the famous Ramblas, the authentic Gothic quarter or the lively Barceloneta. Every rout is about 15/18 kilometers and on the way participants socialize and chat.
During the winter time, the event attracts about 150/200 skaters, while in summer up to 300. The more experienced members act as volunteer, controlling the traffic and skating in front of and behind the group in order to keep it together.
For those who would like to join it but are not skilled skaters, or are terrified at the idea of jumping pavements (like me!), don’t panic. The APB organize free lessons for all levels and everyone is welcome! You just have to go to the Parc del Clot every Thursday night at 10:30 pm. If you are a complete beginner, they calculate you’ll need more or less 10 hours of skate’s lessons before joining the Friday’s group, and there are no age limits.
Other cities organize similar events, with one night a week dedicated to rollerblading: Berlin, New York, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Tokyo, London… They all host popular, similar events.
But let’s go back to our self and our beloved Barcelona: if you love rollerblades, or are planning to try something new or, simply,want something funny, healthy and different to do at friday night : this is a great choise! Classes and routes are free. And if you get addicted and want to become a member, just have to pay a token annual fee of 30€ (and this give you an insurance).
What are you waiting for? Pack your bag, book your apartment in the city center, put on your skates and…enjoy Barcelona from a different, sporty point of view!
The various “Friday night skates” are one of the greatest phenomena in the world of inline skating. Unlike festivals, marathons and tours they are an exclusive creation of the skating’s world.
The “Friday night skates” started in San Francisco in 1989. Soon the concept of skate at night, mostly on friday, extended to other U.S. cities like Philadelphia, New York, Miami, Washington DC, and finally the idea spreads to Europe, which has since high levels.
Here are some of the world’s best night routes:
- Amsterdam: in summer, the Amsterdam’s route brings together about 1.000 skaters a night. It’s a route for intermediate and advanced.
- Berlin: here the Friday Night can bring together from 1.000 to 4.000 skaters.
- Frankfurt: the route is on Tuesday, it’s coordinated by police and it’s 33/42 kilometres long. So, you really have to be in perfect shape!
- Paris: it’s now the mecca of night routes. On a good night it gathers 10.000 to 12.000 skaters. Medical and police escort.
- Going back to Barcelona: the route of Friday night put together about 200 skaters and is really well organized.