Summary: Barcelona 2001 visit Sept 30th - Oct 8th 2001: (click on thumbnail images for enlargements)
By: Peter Nikkel

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Port Olympic
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This is my second travel with Skate-a-Round to Barcelona. After the debut with 18 skaters last year, the group grew to 45 (Dutch) skaters this year. The official start of the trip was at Wednesday the 3rd of October, but I arrived a few days earlier to be able to participate in the Tuesday Night Skate.

This Tuesday Night skate was very good! This year I skated the Tibidabo, the mountain West of the city. A long warm climb, but rewarded with a spectacular 6km downhill. The Tursday Night Skate was a very nice one too. Especially the "extra hill treat" I got. The Friday skate is a bit to slow for me, but a very social one. The BCN-skaters organised a very nice group skate along the coast on Saturday.

I gues Barcelona will be on my skate calender for many years to come :-).


Full report: (click on thumbnail images for enlargements)

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Skate clinic at Port Veil.

Jorge Riviere, one of the leaders of the Night Skate picked me up at the airport on Sunday and about one and a half hour later we were on skates. It was pretty warm in Barcelona for this time of the year. Normal temperatures are between 20 - 25 degrees Celcius, but this year is was between 25 and 33!. (See also my report from last year).


Tuesday Night Skate (October 2nd).

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Preparing for the skate
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Crespo & Mirjam
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take a rest
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Mirjam, Rosa

The Tuesday Night Skate The Tuesday Night skate was really great. This time I had my new K2 MOD 10 skates on. These are much more stable than my old K2 Flight 76 which became very wobbly at speeds above 50km/h due to the plastice frame. The MOD 10 has an aluminum extended frame. The standard wheels (4 on each skate) were to hard (84A) for city skating. So I exchanged them for 80A durometer.

At first I thought I missed the group because I arrived at 22:05 at Catalunya Plaza and a few skaters told me the group already left. I was astonished, because these guys were never on time! (it's usually "Spanish time", you know). So I raced in the direction pointed out to me and soon I catched up with a group of skaters. But this group was so slow and I didn't recognized any body from last year, so it had to be another group. I headed back to Catalunya Plaza to find the real Tuesday Night skaters just arriving one after another. We started the skate at about 10:40.

As usual it's a small group of experienced inline skaters a.o. Miriam, Rosa, Javier (2x), Benja, Mario and also Crespo from the Sevilla night skate. Again I enjoyed this skate a lot. Small group, uphill skating, stairs, socializing and speeding downhill in the dark (also in the wrong direction of narrow one-way streets! oops). We even did some "off-the-road" skating in narrow alleys. While racing down one of the slope in the city, Crespo, the skater from Sevilla hit the breaks and shouted to stop. We all rushed in a small street, because a police car was ahead. They don't like this type of sports out on the street. :-)

Don't even think in participating if you have no downhill experience, or aren't fit enough. It's for experienced skaters only. For some routes see the website of Benja (If you understand Catalan :-)


Skate-A-Round arrival.

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Martijn and me in the Baja Beach club.

Skate-A-Round arrival On Wednesday the rest of the Skate-A-Round group arrived. Lex had arranged for a group dinner at the Baja Beach Club accompanied by some skate video's on a big screen. After the introduction of the Skate-A-Round staff and the program for the next days the group set off for an evening skate. Together with Martijn i left the group for some outrageous street skating. Like a bullet through the traffic :-) And racing downhill through narrow streets, cool :-)

Tibidabo skate.

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Winding Carrer de Sant Cugat the Tibidabo.

Finally, I skated the Tibidabo. This is the mountain at the West side of Barcelona with the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor and the television tower on top of it. You can't miss it when you look to the West from anywhere in the city. This is for very experienced skaters only!!! The mountain is 517 meters high. Montju´c at the south of the city is only 213 meters high that is: at the castle. Most of the group skates pass at the Olympic Stadium at about 120 meters altitude and if that was heavy stuff for you, don't even think about the Tibidabo. (Dutch skaters usually don't have experience with skating downhill, that's why all the warnings are here :-)


I skated through the the city from the Ramblas via Placa de Catalunya, Ramblas de Catalunya, Carrer Gran de Gracia, Avinguda de L'Hospital Militar, to Ronda de Dali (the motorway around the city). At the other side of this motorway look for the Carrer de Sant Cugat this is the road that will lead you into the mountains. Half way there is a gas station were you can buy softdrinks and energy stuff. It is a winding road with hairpins and you will have some nice views at the Barcelona. Don't forget to follow the sign to the left at intersection with the Carrer de A Vista Rica. On this road I took the picture from the cathedral. I wasn't looking to happy because one of several barking dogs escaped from behind a fence and came running at me. Made me skate a bit quicker :-) Next take the Vallvidrera al Tibidabo and you will reach the top. Of course, if you don't like the 6km of uphill skating, you could also consider the Funicular da Tibidabo, (a tramway) :-)

Eerste km
The first of th 6km climb.
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Watch out for dogs at this spot!
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The television tower.


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On top of the Tibidabo.

I took the same road down, because the other smaller roads are unfamiliar to me and were probably still wet from the rain at night, because these run through the forest. It's a popular place for cyclist to exercise! Next time I will explore these smaller routes as well as the road to the other mountain (Vallvidrera). In October the small lunapark on top of the Tibidabo is closed on weekdays, so there is not so much traffic. The road is quit wide at most places, so cars can pass you easily.I don't know how busy the traffic will be at rushhours. But it's the main road accross the mountain, so mind the cars.

Going down is a sensation, 6kms long (4miles)! At some stages the slope is less and you have to skate to maintain high speed. Since I was alone I didn't take to much risk at the hairpins. If you flip over the border, it may take a while before they find you.

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View on Barcelona from the Tibidabo. At the left the Twin Towers, at the right Montju´c. Alas it was a bit cloudy.
The Tursday Night Skate

The skate had the same route as last year. Only this year, with a few guys we raced at the front of the group. And as Martijn learned it's not without danger, as he almost killed himself when he ran into a motorbike. At the Olympic stadium we left the group with four skaters for som serious downhilling :-). You have to know your way around at this mountain, there are som very nice roads. I will try to reconstruct it en draw a map some time later.


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Delphin led the way . Carlos organised this trip.

Saturday the Spanish skater had organized a day trip for us. The majority of the group took the train to Comarruga Villanova, a city 40kms South of Barcelona. From there we skated up North to Sitges at about 20kms South of Barcelona. The group was led by Delpin, a 73 year (!) old skater who is in very good shape and knows all the tricks including skating backwards!! As much as possible we skated along the beach. Some boulevards are not that smooth though. Also we crossed several vilages and attracted quit some attention.

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Gustav folowed by 73 year old Delphin.
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At one point there was path actually leading across the sand to a statue in the sea! As you can see from the pictures the weather was excellent. In Sitges Carlos had arranged for a very nice restaurant at the beach. We even had dip in the sea (without skates this time ;-). Afterwards we did a small night skate in Sitges. The city was extra busy due to the Horror Film Festival.


Mind the train schedule! We heard that because of the festival, trains would run until 2:00 AM to Barcelona. Not! There was one train at 2:00 AM!, so we had to wait from 23:00 till 2:00AM and you probably can imaging how crowded that train was. (and they play very irritating music in the cariages too :-(  ).

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Need I say more?              (click to enlarge)
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Could you wish a nicer place to skate?
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This is a true beach skate :-)

El Corte InglŔs and rollersoccer

On Sunday, early in the morning we skated El Corte Ingles, a family skate with about 13000 participants. This year they extended the route and both start and finish were at Plaza Catalunya. At this beautifull square there was impressive demonstration of jumping. They used the Rollerblade start ramp. Further you could join a small speed race or do some skate hockey. In the afternoon we had a group lunch with local skaters at olympic harbour. Later Genio teached us how to play roller-soccer. This is one of the more funny ways to gain better control over your skates. When your mind is focused at the ball, braking and steering are handled uncounciously.

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The start of El Corte IngŔs. Sven Boekhorst jumping. Kids speedrace.

Again this was an excellent week full of skating pleasure Many, many thanks to Carlos and Jorge to guide us around. See you next year :-)

hostpeter_kl.jpg (6953 bytes) Hasta la vista!

Peter Nikkel.


Gustav's pictures of the Beach skate: 
Martijn Crabendam's pictures
Barcelona Night Skate
Report from Barcelona 2000 visit