Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Helmet Ordinance Update

I received written confirmation via email from the MPD that the Helmet Ordinance requiring users to wear helmets at the Memphis skate park, will go in full effect starting January 1, 2012. Users not wearing a helmet will receive a $50 ticket.

Instead of waiting to get a ticket,  take that money and go purchase a helmet  at a local business such as Cheapskates , Blue City Skates, or the  MG Skateboard shop . Your brain and pocketbook will thank you.

Monday, December 12, 2011

1st Annual Memphis Food Grind !

 Join the holiday spirit and help us get some food collected for MIFA!

Here's the scoop:

Skatelife Memphis, Cheapskates, local area businesses and churches join forces for 1st Annual Memphis Food Grind in Support of MIFA (Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association)

Volunteer members of the local Skateboard advocacy group SkateLife Memphis along with Cheapskates Skateboard shop want to help restock MIFA’s pantry shelves this holiday season through their 1st annual Skatelife Memphis Food Grind to benefit MIFA.
The week long event kicks off at Dec 17th ,10am, at the newly constructed Memphis Skate Park in Tobey Park.

Skatelife Memphis Food Grind engages our youth within the communities they live to support MIFA’s efforts to continually feed 55,000 Memphians and families in crisis on an annual basis and especially during the holiday season.

During this weeklong effort,  individuals can drop off nonperishable food items at the following locations Dec 17th through Dec 23rd.

Memphis Skate Park – Tobey Park Dec 17th 10am-4pm One day only at this location
(Located directly behind the Memphis Board Of Education)
Cheapskates skateboard shop 1576 Getwell Rd Dec 17th – Dec 23rd
Greenlaw Community Center 190Mill Ave Dec 17th – Dec 23rd ( 1-7 pm)
Blues City Skates 569 S. Highland Dec 17th – Dec 23rd
Mid-Town Bikes Shop 517 S main Dec 17th – Dec 23rd
Advent Church 1879 N. Germantown Pkwy Dec 17th – Dec 23rd (10-4 pm)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Helmets: Wear one and show some gratitude

The issue of wearing helmets at Tobey skate park has been in the news a lot these days. You can read about the ensuing incidents in the Flyer, CA  or see it on Channel 5 or ABC24.  Basically a number of skaters have been ignoring the mandatory helmet rule and as a result several news stories have been aired, covering the consequences of skaters not observing that rule. As of yesterday, that rule is now a law since the Helmet law/ordinance passed unanimously in last night’s City Council meeting. Users of all ages are required to wear helmets or risk receiving a $50.00 citation ( Check out the Flyer story).

Three days after the park opened, a skater seriously injures his head and the news was all over that story. Thankfully he’s going to be ok. Then several news stations and local papers covered another helmet-related incident which involved the handcuffing of a 12 year old skater.  I don’t want to get into the details and the nuances surrounding the circumstances that led up to these events. Rather, let’s just say these events would not have happened if users were wearing their helmets. Period.

Perspective and history

As a skate park advocate that has been working on getting a skate park for our City, I find the disregard of the posted rules very disappointing. The City spent well over $500,000 for this incredible park to be built and how do a number of skaters thank the City? They give them the collective finger by blowing off the rules and next thing you know we’re in the media looking like a bunch of spoiled ungrateful brats.

On the other hand I am not surprised. As a friend of mine pointed out, gratitude is an elusive character quality that takes years to cultivate. Few of us have it in our younger years.    Many skaters have no idea of how much time an effort went into getting this park so showing gratitude is low on the priority list- especially if being grateful means looking “uncool” to your friends or “limits your ability to creatively express yourself.”

It’s also important to keep in mind that the helmet rule is not enforced in any of the local area skate parks so what we have is a younger generation,  perhaps two generations of skaters that have grown up not wearing helmets.  Even within most California skate parks, which also have similar helmet ordinances, you will find the majority of users without helmets. 

I am encouraged to see a number of skaters that are wearing helmets, especially the younger kids and older skaters that have been involved with taking the Tobey skate park project to fruition. 

I hope that City is able to get users to wear their helmets, it's for their own good mind you, but based on what I have seen in most parks, it will be an uphill battle.  

In the meantime, Skatelife will continue to slowly change the skate culture’s attitude towards wearing helmets as we work with teaching skateboarding to kids and their families at the park on Saturdays.  One day, I hope, the next generation of skateboarders will see wearing a helmet no differently than wearing their seat-belts. 

In the meantime wear helmet at the park and show some gratitude to our City. After all they made us an awesome first rate skate park!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Blues City Skates donates protective equipment for kids learning to skate

Just yesterday Emily Ward-Markle contacted me and indicated her interest in having her new business help out the skate community. Emily and her business partner ( and fellow Derby girl!) just opened up Blues City Skates.

I asked Emily how she found herself starting a skate business.

This was what she had to say:

" I started doing roller derby about a year and a half ago and instantly fell in love with it. However, as I progressed I realized there were no local businesses where I could buy skates, get skates repaired or anything that catered to roller derby, even though the modern movement has flared with a vengeance."

So there you have it. If you are a looking place that really knows their skates and are also is very passionate about what they do then you need to check out the new shop. You can also find the shop on FB here.

As you know from a recent post on the website, Skatelife received a lot of skate helmets from the Tony Hawk Foundation but we're still in need of pads especially children's wrist-guards. Thanks to Blue City skates we'll be receiving a bunch of wrist-guards! If you come to our May 14the family "learn to skate" clinic you can thank Emily for providing the wrist-guards for your children.

We are very grateful for Blues City Skates becoming our 2nd official sponsor!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Council moves skate park project forward

For more details check out the Memphis Daily News report on Tuesday's City Council meeting.

I think the gist of the vote was a motion to approve the Tobey skate park design. We're getting closer!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Innovative edge lives outdoors

CEO for cities wrote the below post that suggests a relationship between a city's outdoor recreational options and its "innovative edge." It's not an earth shattering type of finding since it's already been shown that exercise greatly enhances brain function, but still it's useful and meaningful data that further supports our need to foster a healthier community full of outdoor recreational options to chose from.
Doing this also means healthier more creative kids which is what excites me even more than boosting our "innovative edge."

"A recent analysis of Portland’s athletic and outdoor cluster released by Portland Development Commission may also shed light on clusters.

Joe Cortright, a collaborator on the study says:

“The athletic and outdoor cluster is remarkable for many reasons. The jobs in Portland are at the apex of a global industry. Firms in the industry depend heavily on the local talent base, which is producing entrepreneurs and spinoff firms, and also attracting businesses to locate or relocate here. And the industry's innovative edge draws heavily from its close connections to the region's outdoor culture. Athletic and outdoor firms learn from and extend the region's "hybrid lifestyle"--blending work and play, and turn this knowledge into new designs and products. And the athletic and outdoor industry is a critical component of the region's creative industries.”

Friday, November 5, 2010

A tour of the Tobey skate park design

Our preliminary skate park design has been posted on the web! Shown above is the bird's eye view of the Tobey skate park design. If you would like to see other angles of the design, go to the Wormhoudt Inc website where Zach Wormhoudt's firm has posted images showing multiple views of the park. Check it out.

Let's a take a little tour of the lay-out so we can fully appreciate the careful thought that has gone into designing our skate park.

Terrain is all inclusive

One of the big mistakes commonly seen in skate parks is the absence of a gradual transition from beginner features to advanced features. Sometimes a park will host mostly beginner terrain but then have few intermediate or advanced areas or you will see parks that have beginner and advanced elements but lack intermediate terrain. For example, the Oxford skate park has an incredible advanced area that is 6-10 feet high that abruptly transitions to a beginner area that is only 3 feet. Going from 3 to 6 feet requires huge jump in skill level that few will make at a younger age. Ideally you would have some 4 and 5 foot terrain mixed in as well.

As shown in the image below, the Tobey skate park lay-out is designed to have a diverse type of terrain that caters to a large range of skill levels and skate styles.

The green squiggled line marks the beginner/intermediate area. The yellow line marks the street area which is for intermediate and advanced users. The black line marks the intermediate advanced area.

The beginner area hosts a feature known as the snake run. For a teaser/preview of what we can expect the snake run to look like, check out the Venice beach snake run being skating by six year old Asher Bradshaw in the this YouTube video. The snake-run is about 40 seconds into the video. Pretty amazing feature and kid!

In the picture below the the "snake path" is shown as a green line while red dotted arcs indicate areas in the snake run that will be used by more advanced users. These dotted arcs represent places where users will jump or "ollie" over sections of the run.

There is another beginner area outlined with a black circle. This area hosts a mini-halfpipe feature that will allow 4-5 year old kids to learn how to skate while also keeping kids out of high traffic areas. This is an important feature to have in order to minimize collisions with younger children.

Intermediate/Advanced bowl Area

There are two bowls in the area that are connected to each other. There is a five foot intermediate bowl (circled with the red dotted line) and there is the advanced bowl ( circled with the solid red line). The advanced bowl ranges from 6 to 10 feet in height. All levels of skateboarders will enjoy this area, however what makes this area advanced is the height of deeper bowl. Beginners and intermediate skaters will roll around the bottom of these bowls while the advanced riders will actually ride and grind on top edges of the large bowl. Advanced riders will also be able to launch 2-6 feet into the air because of the height and the design of the two interconnected bowls.

Street area

There are eleven street features ( circled and numbered below in yellow) which include a flat rail (1), a low down rail (2), step-up fun box (3), snake-run ledge (4), table-top step down (5), hubba ledge (6), return flat-bank (7), gap ledge (8), back extension ledge (9), a bank to bank (10) and a curved hubba ledge combination (11). It's quite amazing that Zach could squeeze these many features into a 10,000 square foot space.

All in all, we are going to have a fantastic park! Although our park will not be big, it will be packed with stuff that will be fun for all different ability levels. My guess is that parents who have not skated for years will have a hard time just sitting there and watching there kids skate-it will turn into a family affair. Let's get this park built!