Cincinnati Looks to Become a Real Roll Model

Want to take up roller sports? Parks and advocacy groups welcome newcomers.

A nyone can give skateboarding, roller skating, or scootering a try and roll casually down the street for leisure or to run errands, head to a local skatepark to meet new people and get some practice in, or repurpose architectural and infrastructural fixtures to pull off a new trick. The versatility of roller sports is vast, and Cincinnati has welcoming communities that can equip you with the knowledge, resources, and skills needed to immerse yourself.

Photograph by Grant Moxley

All you really need to get started with a roller sport are wheels and a surface to roll them on. Getting that equipment is an investment, though; asking experienced skaters and skate-oriented businesses is a good place to start.

Evan Walker, founder of the Cincinnati Skatepark Project, suggests heading to one of the city’s local skateboard shops—including Galaxie Skate Shop, Blacklist Boardshop, and Craft Skate Shop—to get advice on shopping their inventory. Occasionally they’ll donate used equipment to help beginners with the initial investment. 

Clifton Recreation Center held an after-school Learn to Skate program in the spring, for which Blacklist Boardshop donated 12 gently used complete boards for participants, says Rec Service Area Coordinator Collin Fitzpatrick. Every board was put to use, he says, allowing kids to build foundational skills like finding a stance, balancing, pushing, and falling safely.

Photograph by Grant Moxley

Hanging out where skaters skate is also good way to get your hands on some advice and gear. Cincinnati Skate Collective, a roller skating group that hosts educational clinics and community events, has resources to help newbies acquire skating equipment. The Over-the-Rhine Recreation Center is central to Cincinnati’s roller skating community today, serving as an affordable venue for roller skating with a convenient inner city location. 3CDC’s ongoing Findlay Community Center project includes a rec center renovation that will feature a roller rink, thanks to community input.

For people looking to take up skating, Social Push Cincy hosts weekly routes where “all wheels are welcome.” Just arrive at the meetup location announced on social media and embark on a roll around town for an active outing with new friends. 

Photograph by Grant Moxley

Skateparks are abundant across the Cincinnati region, including locations in Florence, St. Bernard, Anderson Township, Newport, Delhi, Loveland, Hamilton-Fairfield, Ludlow, and Colerain. But the Cincinnati Skatepark Project continues to push for building one within city limits, an area currently without a skatepark. Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval recommended on May 26 that the Cincinnati Recreation Commission be allocated $250,000 to build it, with the advocacy group providing matching funds through a fund-raising campaign.

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