Commentary | Why we ride

What I talk about when I talk about skateboarding

I didn’t skateboard today. By the time I got home from school and play rehearsal and poured myself a drink and carved a piece of wood to give to someone as a gift, it was already hours too dark, and I hadn’t eaten yet either.

I wish I had skateboarded at some point. Today, I had to bike to school because I needed to go right from school to the aforementioned play rehearsal which was starting before my last class was even over. Today was all about time. I had things to do and only so much time, so I dealt with all that by being in a bad mood and hating the world.

Yesterday, I skateboarded to school, and I was in a great mood all day.  Even though it is more tiring than either walking or biking, skateboarding is a special way to get around. Riding a skateboard is a treat. That’s just it. For me, it is a treat.

Skateboarding exists outside of time. It is faster than walking and slower than biking. It isn’t an efficient mode of transportation – you feel like you are always working hard, and if you have to go up a hill you have to abandon the board anyway. Skateboarding is a silly way to get around. But, when you coast – when you get to stop pushing but still move, bending space and time, and capitalizing on thousands of years of human ingenuity – all notions of efficiency disappear. The coast is the most beautiful thing in the world, right up there with Halle Berry, and the Mona Lisa, and the moment when a child is born. Except the coast is even better because it has no ego, it isn’t locked away in a museum, and it doesn’t involve blood and fluids and screaming. The coast just is.

I’m not very good at skateboarding. I do it because it is a fun way to get exercise – more fun for me than going to the gym. And of course I do it because it is sexy, and because skate shoes are cool and even cooler when you use them for skating, and it feels good to feel good.

Not everyone should skateboard, but everyone should treat themselves. We deserve it, even if we are the most privileged generation living on the most privileged continent and our problems are not real.  We are still real. And we deserve treats too, just like little puppies deserve treats for no reason other than that they shit in one place rather than another.

So I will make a point of skateboarding tomorrow. The forecast looks promising. Soon the ground will have snow and ice and I won’t even have the choice to skateboard at all. And then I can spend all winter, just like last winter, looking forward to skateboarding again.

Julien Dinerstein maintans a blog for the Red Baron Skate Crew, a non-violent, non-hierarchical skate crew for beginners.  Check it out at Contact him at

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