Last weekend. (August 17-19), Longboard Sweden organised 3 days packed with all sorts of skating activities in Stockholm. One which I was especially looking forward to was Critical Mass.
As you probably know, Critical Mass has now been a staple of the London Longboards diet for a year now, and it is one of my favourite events. It happens every month, rain or shine and it’s one of the few times I can skate without wondering what everyone else is doing. Or having to organise anything.
After my first 2 days in Stockholm, I had already noticed the Vikings were a lot less loud and ”aggy” than we Southerners. There wasn’t a lot of shouting/banter at the competitions and everyone was really polite and mellow, so I was looking forward to seeing how they would behave in a Critical Mass setting.
Earlier in the day, there was a massive slide comp organised by Loaded Ambassadors/Distributors : Life On A Board. The Viking groms were really rad, and it was the first time I’d seen ”slide bowl” – where you do a standup slide into cones. Whoever knocks the most cones over wins. Simple. Fun.
After the slide jam, we all set off into the city. There were maybe 200 or 300 people at the jam. We all rolled into the city, and as always, I made my way to the front – to prevent any hairy situations in the middle of the pack. We made our way to a square near the centre of the city where we waited to be joined by a few cyclists and *cough* rollerskaters *cough*. Which was the exact opposite of what I’m used to – here in London we have 95% cyclists and we are the minority leading the charge.
There wasn’t so much music, and there was an air of pleasant expectation. Not many of the skaters knew they were a part of history. I had even less of an idea of what route we took, Swedish street names are hard to remember, all I know is – it was fun! We started in Gulmarsplan, close to the Kahalani shop, and we went down towards the river.
We didn’t take over the whole road like we normally do here, just one lane and we stopped at all the lights like nice people. The pace was nice and chill and everyone was really really happy to be riding. There weren’t many cheers but people were clapping – A LOT.
The public reception was pretty good, lots of pedestrians taking photos and waving.
It was a really fun ride, we got to a massive roundabout near the central station and did the same thing we’d do in England – go round and round for a bit. We went up, we went down, we did a quick tour of the city. People were clapping and saying lots of stuff I didn’t understand with smiles on their faces – all good!
At the end, some lady with wheels on her shoes went past me, I chased her down and hey presto! There were 2 other people from London who just happened to be in Stockholm and heard about the ride. It was super sweet to chat to people from home, made a familiar feeling event that much more warm.
At the end of the ride, we had lost a fair amount of people. And it was time to make our way to Hogdalen for the HighValley 2012 race. (Which was won by local hero Adam Persson).
The mass was great and I hope this is the beginning of a great longboard friendly Critical Mass culture in another European city. If you’re a viking, and you don’t hate pushing, make it happen!