Roger Manning
rogerm.net
chep Roger's (In-line) Skating On Tour

[ Some vintage reading for ya. Pretty dated info for the most part. ]

Cities rated on scale of 1-10, 5 being average. Factors considered: pavement, ease of terrain (absence of hills), scenery, local attitude, and ease of application to daily business. The tour takes a circular route around the U.S. starting in the N.E. then S.E., S.W., west coast, mt. states, mid west and back to to NYS.


U.S. by region

US map
skategirl - Skating in everyday Manhattan life
- Skating in Europe: from '96 article
- Skate City homepage: a great skate page
Northeast/ Southeast/ Southwest/ West coast
Mountain/ Mid-west and NY state

New York City  7.5(was 9)

    They alway seem to be tearing up the pavement with 
construction projects, but it's still a great skate town. 
The basic pavement used here is nice and smooth. The island 
is more flat than not. Though traffic is intense, many 
drivers are used to having skaters/bikers on the streets. 
Beware of out of town drivers though. 
    Car free skating on 6.5 mile Central park loop
all weekend and 10am-3pm, 7pm-10pm on weekdays. Avoid the 
crowds and heat on  summer weekends by waiting till 
after 5 or 6pm.
    There's now a car free path along the Hudson river in one
form or another from Battery Park up to the George Washington
bridge.(8-9 miles?). Much of the path is brand new, very nicely
done, though things can get a bit hairy around the piers, bus and
garbage truck entrances and tourist attractions between 
14th - 50th street. Vehicles whip across the path to get on
or off of the West Side highway, and tourists, particularly around
the Intrepid aircraft carrier at 42nd street cluelessly clog the path
on weekends. There is also pedistrian congestion in the west 
village area, though that will improve once the surrounding 
parklands are completed.

There's also some nice pathage coming up the east side of 
downtown from the South Street Seaport to East River park.
Unfotunately the boardwalk path along river the in the park 
has been blocked off due to need for reconstruction so we have
to use the park path that borders the F.D.R drive.

For some fun bike/skate events check out www.times-up.org


Boston  6.5 

    Decent Charles river path. Downtown a bit tough 
in daytime.Deserted at night. Some treacherous hills 
and narrow streets. Check out the Inline Club of Boston

Minuteman trail, Somerville Lexington MA   8 

    Really beautiful in alot of parts. A lot of shade.
A number of annoying street crossings and brick rumble strips.
Starts at the end of the Boston subway Red line. A feeder path 
from Davis square in Somerville.

Portsmouth  NH  5 

   Small, scenic.

Portland, ME  5 

    Nice haunted night skate.Hilly. Small.

Northhampton, MA 

    Trail 9  
Very beautiful 10 mile trail out east end of 
town to Amherst. Mostly wooded, very smooth. 

     Downtown  5 
Sharply hilly in places.

New Haven, CT  5.5 

   Pretty flat. Alot of pretty streets Some rough 
pavement. Some rough characters.

New London, CT  3

    Small hilly congested downtown. Nice little trip 
along river out to the shore.

Philadelphia   7.5

     Bob and a few pals from the local skate 
club (The Philly Landskaters)took me 
on an amazing fast paced night skate 
through wide open downtown; through tunnels, 
over bridges, and all over. Nice riverside 
9 mile loop in park north of downtown. Downtown 
cool in daytime too. Visit the liberty bell.

Baltimore   5.5 

    Best in neighborhoods and part of downtown 
near the waterfront. Hilly elsewhere.

 

 Northeast | Southeast  | Southwest
 West coast | Mountain | Mid-west and NY state | Top

Washington  6  

    Great night skate around the "mall" and nearby 
flat neighborhoods of broad streets and oversized 
buildings. Rollerhockey on blocked off street behind 
the Whitehouse.

Harrisonburg, VA  5 

    Small, friendly.

Chapel Hill, NC   3.5

    Hilly, small, narrow streets and roads.

Wilmington, NC   minus 2000

   Some decent skating but there's an anti-skating 
law for central downtown. Fuck them, did 
it anyways . No problem

 Columbia, SC   5

    Can be hilly but an enjoyable downtown nightskate.

Athens, GA   minus 5000

    Hilly and it's technically illegal to skate 
in all of Clark County! This despite the 50 mile 
Atlanta-Athens skate event. You yuppie 5 wheelers
get off you rock hard butts and change that!

Atlanta   2?

   Have not tried it yet (due to rain) but it looks 
like hilly narrow road hell.


  Florida:

Tallahassee 
         
      downtown  4
 
       Tricky 'cause of hills.
 
     St. Marks trail   8.5

      Follow  Monroe st. south to the edge of town.  
There's trailhead parking at the little bike/skate 
shop. 16 miles. Very flat and strait.  Shade before 
11am and after 1:30 pm. Easy-to- miss water fountain
in the trees  around 11-12 miles. Nice little food 
places and grocery at St. Marks end. Signs suggest 
not  rolling alone because of numerous isolated rural 
sections. At first I thought  this was because  people
had been attacked "Deliverance " style,  but it seems
they're concerned about injuries happening in the 
middle of nowhere.(what an imagination !)

Gainesville  

   Downtown and university  6

    Not bad. Bike lanes here and there. 
Rollerhockey on very nicely converted tennis court
at the U.

   Gainesville/Hawthorne trail   8.5

    Very beautiful. 16 miles. Some cool 
hillage through the woods. Nature trails and 
overlooks. Go west on University st to 15th st 
then south(right) a couple of miles. On right. 
Trailhead parking lots and a major spring. 

Tampa  4

   Lots of stupid rules downtown. Real nice 
bayside path though.

St. Petersburg  8

    Flat. Beautifully placid place at night. 
They let you skate on the pier too.

Pinellas Trail   8

   This goes from St. Pete through Clearwater 
and up to Tarpon Springs. Beautiful and smartly planned.
My favorite place to start out is downtown Dunieden 
(north of Clearwater). Note: I was warned about stupid 
but dangerous gangs of white little wannabe "gang bangers" 
who may be out at night. I did encounter some in T. Springs. 
No harm done.

Orlando   5.5

    Flat. Easy to get turned around.

St. Augustine   6

    Inspiring (though somewhat rough surface-wise) 
nightskate through haunted ancient streets.

New Orleans   

   In  the  city      7.5

    The pavement isn't always so great but 
it's a beautiful flat city. Audubon park and City park have
nice loops. French Quarter for very late night skate.
Garden district in late afternoon. Be careful of some 
rough areas in this passionate town.

    River trail      8

   Smoothest blacktop you'll ever find. Yow!  This
is a really nice trail. Nobody could tell me what 
it's named though. Drawbacks are exposure to wind 
and sun. There's a feeder trail out of Audubon 
park that goes a mile or so before settling on top of 
the levy. Pretty new. Twelve or so miles along the 
Mississippi to the west then north where the wind is 
less of an issue. Some smelly industrial sites until 
around 6 miles out where the scenery gets pretty nice.

 

 Northeast | Southeast  | Southwest
 West coast | Mountain | Mid-west and NY state | Top

Houston 

 Downtown   7

  Nightskate paradise. Big flat, 
wide open blvds and plazas. Decent attitude towards 
skaters thanks to p.r. ground work laid out 
years ago by the legendary "Urban Animals"
rollerskate club. 
(3/99 -Seemed to hit a lot more 
rough pavement this trip)

 Braes Bayou Trail  6

   South of Downtown. 8 miles along a bayou or paved river
that looks like a canal. Really nice route but very old-school bike trail. 
Narrow and a lot of rough pavement. Still quite worthwhile.

 Bear Creek Trail  8

   17 miles west of downtown off I-10. Take highway 6 exit north
a mile or so. Parking on right. Short (3.5 miles) but really
nice. A lot of greenery. Pretty flat.

San Antonio  5

    They don't like skates or naked socks at the Alamo.
(the Church not the rental car place). Not bad down- 
town but gets hilly out a ways. 
You can explore the "riverwalk" on a late weeknight.
Some suburban type hoods are nice too.

Austin   

    Downtown etc. 4.5

     Some hills, some rough pavement, and some stupid 
new laws. 

    Veloway   8.5

     Only 3 miles but very beautiful. Scenery. Very wide. 
Bikes and skates only. South of town on loop 1 south.

Carlsbad, NM   5.5

  A good example of some of these medium size towns 
putting in sweet new scenic bike paths on old rail 
lines and along the river running through town. 
Really nice. The town streets are cool too.

Albuquerque   6

     Nice flat downtown night skate though there's alot 
of rough pavement. The long down slope from the university 
to downtown is a pain. Around the U looks fun.(I'll try it 
after finishing up on their library computer).
...yes, the U is very nice. Other night-skaters 
around too.

Sante Fe   
   
   Downtown   5

    Small, pretty, congested with tourists. Center of town best. 
Some narrow streets and slopes but enjoyable. You might want to re-
install brake to save wheel wear.
Try out the little skate park by the river and get aggressive!

 6-99: Arroyo De Los Chaminos path   6.5
   About 3.5 - 4 miles. Small parking lot at St Francis
and Zia rd.(near I-25)(A real pain to skate to though that's what I 
did). Fairly scenic. The pavements better on the eastern half.
The curved scary hill doesn't run across anything dangerous
like a road etc so go ahead and let it rip. 

Taos   -100,000

     Not only is it illegal but they will harshly persecute
you. Too bad. They use a lot of nice pavement. A lot of 
traffic and narrow roads/streets. Nice during non busy times.
I didn't get caught. FUCK YOU Taos.

5/2000 - Cops didn't catch me this time either.

Gallup   4.5

    Not alot there. Park at some motel at the west end of 
business loop 40 for an up to 4 mile cruise into town 
on spacious shoulder. Jump up a block to the 
main business street for a nice little tour.

Phoenix   7

  Flat. Good pavement. Broad, deserted night-skate streets.

Tucson   

    Downtown 6

    I like this town alot. Night-skate. Downtown small,
pleasant. Interesting old neighborhood nearby to the south. 
The U area can be cool too. A fair amount of rough pavement though.
2 of 3 convince stores let me in with skates on.

    Santa Cruz river path  7

     4(?) miles parallel to I-10 (on west side) from around
Grant ave south to around "A" Mountain. Very nice. Good
blacktop. Desertscapes in the southern end. Can be trouble-
some for lone females one person tells me.

    Rillito river path  5

     4-5 miles. nice route but pavement not so great 
for some of it. Skate Mountain st. north from the 
university to the "river". Be warned of alot of rough 
pavement on the way.

Las Vegas  3

    Car hell. Enjoyed skating "the strip" on late weeknight.
Definitely not on weekend night though.

5-99: Skated Washington Ave a few miles into downtown from Lamb ave.
at night. Really nice bike lane there and other places.

 

 Northeast | Southeast  | Southwest
 West coast | Mountain | Mid-west and NY state | Top

California:

San Diego  ?

   Haven't tried downtown yet. I think there's some bad laws. 
Mission beach has a pretty loop path though I've heard about
someone getting a ticket for skating on the street 
there. (God!)

Santa Monica - Torrance bike path  8

   22 mile seaside bike path mostly on the beach. 
Mostly pretty smooth, but some sandy or rough surface 
areas. Very sunny, but cool. Wind is usually off-shore 
(cross) but that translates into a headwind 
going up the very north(nw) end. 
In the crowded, often sandy, Venice Beach section 
using the 1st parallel side street behind the stores can 
work real well. As with any sun intensive place, it's 
best to skate off-peak (before 11am, after 4pm).
Very good prices on wheels at skate store at north-most end
of Venice boardwalk shops.

5/2000 - Big time construction going on around Venice section.
         A lot of sand on the path and various sprinklers made
	 my big night skate less pleasant than last time.

Los Angeles (downtown)   3

   Scary to a NYer. Kind of a cool night skate though if you
have the guts.

Hollywood   2

    Hilly, choked with cars and dirtbag motorists yell
at you to get off "their" streets. Some nice side 
streets though. One of the more interesting LA districts.

San Francisco   6.5

    A real city. You can route around a lot of 
the hills. Bayside skate is very nice. Look for the 
Fri. night skate posse around 7-8pm at a parking lot
down near the bay. 

    Golden Gate park is nice too (no cars in part on Sun). 
Some rough pavement though. Good bearing and wheel prices at 
the rental place in the center of the park.

    Nice 5 mile loop around lake Merced (rating - 7)
which is near the zoo. (Go to the shore end of GG park, then
south approximately 2 miles on the strait smooth street that 
runs parallel to the shore highway, then back inland around 
the zoo.)

6/2000 - Some nice new pathage along the road in GG park, now if
only they would stop aiming all the lawn sprinklers at it. Duh!
More bike lanes around town too.

Berkeley  6

    Across the bay from SF, Berkeley is a grid of many quiet
streets amongst the busy streets. The the town slopes down
towards the bay so, there's hillage to deal with which is
gradual in much of the town but gets serious up at the
U.C. campus. Bike lanes here and there. Pavement is mixed.
Certainly able to use skates as daily transportation.

Crescent City   4.5

    Pleasant, small, flat. At the ocean in redwoods country.

Corvallis -18,000

  Had a nice downtown skate. Beautiful lush river path.
Then I'm told it's illegal to skate there. THEN the
idiot pigs(cops) shook me down for simply loading out
to my car. I gave them a lot of shit.FUCK YOU WEASEL CORVALLIS.

Eugene, OR   6.5

    I still don't get these people but they have one of 
the most beautiful river paths I've ever seen. Bike lanes
all over the mostly flat town. A moderate amount of rough 
pavement.

(5-16-99) Incredibly nice new extension north end of river path.
Massive expansion on the way.

6/2000 - nice new pathage and new bridge in effect along river.

Portland    5.5

     Hills and varied pavement but a pretty strong 
pro alt-transportation sentiment in various quarters
(lots o bikes).

5-15-99... Been asked to say more about Portland:
  Covered downtown again today. Plenty of crappy 
pavement and moderate hills, but enjoyable on a weekend
or at night. I hear there's some nice long pathage out 
near the I-205 beltway but it rained before I could get 
to it. Pleasant short, wide, scenic path along west bank 
of the river.

Olympia, WA   6

    I love this small city. A nice haunted night-skate.
The state capitol campus (weekends or nights) can be fun 
though they've banned skateboarders.

Seattle: 

  downtown   2.5

     Killer downhills on busy streets. Needed to re-install 
my brake for this town.

  Burke/Gillman trail   8

     25 mostly level miles. Start at Gasworks park (across bay 
north of downtown). Goes north past the U and around 
the big inland bay.(No bridge access back across the short way though.)
Lot's of greenery. (Autumn can be tricky because of
frequent moist-weather gooey autumn leaves etc.) Go for it.

Vancouver, BC  6.5

    Very nice waterfront paths though 
there are sections paved with annoying 
bricks and the western section in Stanley park 
is often wet. Downtown can get quite slopey. 
Ok for night-skate.
A biker/skater conscious town.

Spokane - Centennial trail 6

    A bike path/bike lane that goes all the 
to Coeur d'Alene ID. 30 miles I think. Only 
had time for the 7 west bound miles out of town 
that follow a moderately busy riverside road. The 
bike lane and path ended there. (There was both at times.)
Apparently it picks up again after you take the road
for awhile. Saw the other end while driving by Coeur 
d'Alene. Looked pretty nice there. Will try starting 
from that end next time. Runs east/west so wind can 
be an issue. Nice paving in general.
Didn't have time to skate around downtown. Looked
a bit tricky.	

 

 Northeast | Southeast  | Southwest
 West coast | Mountain | Mid-west and NY state | Top

Moscow, ID  

   Downtown  5   

     Very small college town. Flat. Nice little 
pick-me-up night-skate. Ok for transportation too.

   Bill Chipman trail   8.5  
         
     New in '98. 7 miles of really 
intelligent wide new pathage from Moscow to Pullman, WA. 
Rolling farm hills on one side , annoying congested 2 lane 
highway on the other. Upgrades are gradual and moderate.
Extra 1/2 point for beautiful downtown Moscow connecting section. 

Missoula, MT   6

   Small, flat U town. Alot of cool people.

Butte   4 

    Hilly . Very haunted night-skate. Funky ex-prosperous
old mining town. Funky scenic. A cool desperate place.
Go see "the pit".

Bozeman  -400

    Flat, but you're not supposed to skate on Main st
(one of the few smooth streets in town)or downtown. I did of course.
People have gotten tickets but I'm told that since "respectable"
family type people have taken up skating things have loosened up. 
Alot of cars but do-able.

Riverton, WY   5.5

   Very small town with terrific prairie bound new bikepaths on old
rail paths.        

Thermopolis, WY  4.5

   Small flat downtown. Free state-run hot springs pool in the 
state park.

Casper, WY  5.5

   Alot of the town is flat. Really cool bike path across the river.
Can be tough on the frequent windy days.

Denver  7.5

    Massive beautiful bike path system.(though a fair 
amount under repair right now). Downtown is flat. Too bad
they prohibit skating on the long smooth 16th street mall.
(How would I know that it's smooth? ;) 

6/2000 - Some construction messing up the southbound (from downtown
stadium area) path. The northbound (northeast) rocked nicely 
for 12 miles. A lot of ugly industrial scenery though.

 

 Northeast | Southeast  | Southwest
 West coast | Mountain | Mid-west and NY state | Top

 Columbia, MO  4

    Eh.

St. Louis   5.5

    Really nice 6 mile loop in park west of downtown.
Downtown's ok . Don't really remember. Skate over by 
the big arch at night if the sprinklers aren't on. 

Iowa City   minus 200

    Anti-skate law for central downtown.(They cut the
in-liners some slack). Pleasant little river path.

(10/20/98...is it possible that the anti-skating signs have 
disappeared? ...stay tuned.)
(5/99 seems they've loosened up a bit.)

Madison, WI  6.5

    Nice skate around one of the lakes.(10 miles)
Very nice 2 mile path from west side of main lake path
along creek out to Zoo and park connecting to bike route
on small road through U of WI arboretum. For some reason
there's a sign that says no skaters in the arboretum
area. Fuck that. Nice wooded 6 mile loop that consist 
too much of annoying streets on the west side of the
course. Recommend turning back where that starts.

Other decent paths in this bike conscious town. 
Downtown around the capital is hilly but fun at night.

Minneapolis   7.5

    Rollerblade started here. Skate the 4 lakes a bit 
south of downtown. (10/98 -they've  beautifully redone 
two of the lake loops recently.) and down by the Mississippi 
river. There's a bike path connecting the two areas. 
Downtown is pretty cool at night. Big broad flat avenues, 
decent pavement.

ST. Paul  

    Downtown  5 

      Hilly but cool at night. 

    River path  8

     The real deal here is beautiful path across the river. Yow.
Very woodsy-scenic. 9 miles to the southwest is Rollerbade 
and connector bike routes to more suburbs.

Sakatah Trail 8.5 (Faribault-Mankato,MN)

    Runs 39 miles from Faribault, MN (50 miles south of Minneapolis
on I-35) to Mankato. Basically east-west so I started on the east end
to get the tail wind on the return trip. Follows river and lakes and
when it gets away from fairly busy highway it's downright gorgeous.
Meadows and farmland, wooded state park lands (some leafy debris
and wetness), lakeshores and small towns. Decent surface except
for in the center in parts where snowmobile treads have roughed it
up during winter use. I covered 17.5 miles one way. (35 rt)

Chicago  8

       Massive flat broad avenue downtown nightskate. Getting around
northside (where most rock clubs are) is pretty good.
Massive lake path.(Watch out for that wind though!)

6/2000 - Finally got favorable wind conditions and did all 18 miles
and back on the lake path. The southern third is not as smooth and 
maintained. A really nice trip though. Move nice and fast for the 
north two thirds.
The lake water looked so green-blue and beautiful I had to go for a 
swim as well. Felt fantastic. Don't know how it could be so clean.
Wow.

Champaign   5

    Got lost one night.
	

Dayton,OH  6.5

    Beautiful river path. Flat downtown. Nice
	
6/2000 -Took the north(?) bound branch of the river
path this time. Beautiful lush greenery. Trail treacherous
with leafy debris at times.
Construction on part of the main river route right now.

Detroit 5

Night skated down nice big Woodward Ave.
into downtown from aways out and then around 
the waterfront and downtown a bit. I'm told
that I was risking serious injury by crime etc but
the people that were out and and about were waving and
smiling and very into seeing a crazy rollerblader
moving like he just don't care through the alleged
gloom.
	
Flint 5.5

  Strange small city. Downtown is flat and fun
at night. People seem pretty cool about it even though 
there are not a lot of bladers around. Poorly maintained 
river path is worthwhile. 	

Cleveland  7

    Downtown is a nice weekend or nightskate.
Broad avenues and a fair amount of exploring.
West Cleveland is cool too. Cool big bridges
on the way.

 Pittsburgh  5

    The 2.5 mile river path (southside of 
downtown, goes east) is really nice. Around 
downtown and the river is fun to explore on a 
weekend. All the other hoods are treacherous 
hilly hell.

Buffalo, NY   6.5

    Nice downtown night-skate. Decent lakeside/riverside
path gets especially nice up in the northern part (Tonawanda).
Small loop in Delaware park. Some gritty neighborhoods.

Springville, NY   5.5

    Pretty little town. Decent pavement

Rochester, NY  5

    Don't remember much just now.
Nice 8 mile canal path I ain't seen yet.

Albany    
 
Downtown   6

   The state capital campus is fun. (anti-skating signs 
don't seem to be enforced) Some hillage. A fair number 
of skaters sighted. 

 River path   6.75

   Runs 5 miles north from downtown along the Hudson.
Pretty scenic. Pavement gets pretty cracked in northern half,
even some tree roots. Not too bad though.

Northeast
Southeast
Southwest
West coast
Mountain
Mid-west and NY state
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