Since we've opened our Toronto store on March 1st 2024, we've been looking to find a way contribute to the skating scene. We thought our best input would be to organize a weekly group skate. We've been doing this since the beginning of May, and it seems to really hit the nail! Even though we announced it the same day, our first skate had 20 skaters show up. And the next two weeks, around 50 skaters have been showing up and we're SO happy with the turnout.

The idea to open a shop in Toronto did come after the first Toronto Roll in September 2023. David, Solo Inline's owner, attended the event and was really impressed by the size of the community and their vibe. After the event, he got a take out pizza ate it at Stackt. He was instantly charmed by the look of this outdoor market built with shipping containers, packed with art installations and an amazing view of the Toronto skyline for a back drop. It's at that very moment that everything clicked: a vibrant community of skaters, with their nearby hub at the Bentway and a cool spot to set-up shop… he had to find a way to open a downtown shop in Toronto. And now that it's done, we had to bring back this amazing vibe of the 2023 Toronto Roll, the moment that sparked our Toronto adventure. And what better way to do this than to organize a regular group skate at this new location? We couldn't think of anything better!

So you'd like to join us but still have some questions. Keep on reading the rest of this blog to learn everything you need to know about our weekly urban skates in Toronto.


What's an "urban skate"?

Urban skating can be very easily defined: it's skating in a urban environment. It's one of the fastest growing segment of rollerblading. Some do it for commuting and others do it just for fun. It's a great way to explore a city: faster than walking, but still slow enough for sightseeing. It can be done on urban bike paths or in the streets. It require more skill than just skating a trail as more dangers are present: small rocks, cracks and bad pavement tripping you, unexpected maneuvers from other vehicles and the infamous tar snakes! But once you master some basic skills, it's really fun to navigate these obstacles and explore every corner of a city. When done with a group, it's even better. It's difficult to put a finger on it, but there's some energy generated when sharing the road with other skaters. The bigger the group, the more energy there is. You have to live it to feel it. But it's definitely a thing, we see group skates pop up in so many cities around the world! Most major cities even host a yearly weekend event. The most famous ones are:

  • NYC's Big Apple Roll
  • LA's Big Avocado Roll
  • Miami's Skater Migration
  • Toronto Roll
  • Montreal's Roll-O-Rama (just announced)

Would you like to discover what urban skating is all about? The best way is to join a weekly group skate. This will provide a safe environment to learn, access to advice from other skaters and allow to discover cool spots around town. So join us every Thursday at 7pm at Stackt Market.


What's the level required to attend?

Our weekly urban skate is geared to the largest audience. The goal is to get as many skaters as possible comfortable skating the city. Even if you can see some experienced skaters showing their skills and going fast, the group stays compact and regroups regularly during the ride. We always have an experienced skater at the back closing the ride. So even if you started skating recently, you could have the level to join our weekly group skates. And think about it, what better way to improve your skating than to skate with more experienced skaters every week. They're all very open to share tips as well!

But we do have a minimum requirement. We ask that skaters have an intermediate level and we define this as:

  • Maintaining good balance on your skates
  • Being able to manage your speed: accelerate or slow down when required
  • Stopping on their own (without the help of grass or other elements);

And if you haven’t reached that level yet, you should still join us every Thursday. Skaters start gathering at Stackt after 6pm and there's room to practice basic skills around the premise.

Is it dangerous?

No, urban skating is not dangerous, especially when you know how to do it. But we do encounter dangers that could trip you, stop you or require a sudden turn, so it's normal to feel stressed. Even the most experienced urban skaters feel some level of stress. That how you stay alert to your surrounding and avoid getting in trouble. Joining a group is a great way to learn how to navigate these dangers. Seeing how others navigate these obstacles, learning new movements and asking for advice are great ways to progress.

We do all we can to make sure our rides are as safe as possible. Here are some of the things we do:

  • The routes are scouted during the week prior to the ride to make sure they're practicable
  • Each ride has experienced skaters at the front leading the group and the back to make sure no one's left behind
  • We have marshals helping inside the group (this depends on group size and marshal availability)
  • The majority of the route is on urban bike paths, reducing the danger from other traffic
  • We take regular breaks and stop at spots. This is a good opportunity to rest when needed
  • We skate in a pack. Even if the group gets stretched with faster skaters taking a lead, we regroup regularly to keep it as tight as possible. We make sure we have visual contact between the leader and the back of the group.
  • There's a First Aid kit, usually at the back of the group

A lot of skaters joining for the first time say the they feel the group is like a shield for them. They feel much safer as a big group is more visible, they can follow the pack, see obstacles coming and have other skaters around them in case something happens.

What are the rules?

We don't want to make our urban group rides about strict rules, but we do have some important guidelines to ensure everyone's safety. Here are some of our guidelines and why we have them:

  • Do not skate past the leader of the ride, as you might miss a turn or encounter a danger without knowing.
  • Do not get behind the skater closing the ride. We do not want to leave anybody behind and when we regroup, we make sure to have visual contact between the leader and the closer. This is our way of ensuring we have the whole group.
  • Even though this shouldn't need to be mentioned, we ask that all riders respect rules of the road at all times. Some of these are worth mentioning:
    • Stop at red lights and stop signs. This is often an opportunity for us to regroup. This can sometimes be avoided when we have trained marshals blocking intersections,
    • Stay in one lane. Whether on a bike lane to let incoming traffic thru of on the road to allow cars to pass us in another lane, sticking to our lane is the best way to share the road with other users.
    • Do not skate on the road opposite to traffic. However inviting a wide open lane might look, it can rapidly become a VERY dangerous situation when traffic resumes. Any head on collision will have grave consequences for a skater,
    • Stay aware of your surroundings. Have a look over your shoulders to see where other skaters are around and behind you. This is especially important when passing slower skaters as most falls we see on these group rides are from skaters tripping each other after a sudden movement,
  • Regularly look at the pavement quality ahead of you. Ground conditions can rapidly shift and become a hazard,
  • Keep a safe distance, your "bubble", when skating in a large group. Even though the group might get tight at some times, make sure to keep a couple feet between you and other skaters. This distance should increase when we go faster as this will give time to react in case of danger.

(We'll keep updating this list as our rides evolve)

When is it?

Our urban group skates are every Thursday evening. We regroup at Stackt at 7pm and the group leaves at 7:30pm after a quick safety briefing. The ride lasts 1h30 and we're back at Stackt by 9pm.

Will we see you there?

13 juin, 2024 — Francois Therrien