By Teresa Geer, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The roll of longboard skate wheels has become an inescapable sound that adds to the unique melody of Rio de Janiero, and for many the desire for that wind-in-hair feeling while carving the beautiful Rio landscape is irresistible. Those who already know how to ride with their chin up will find a plethora of beautiful, eye-watering locations to get their cruise on.
The most obvious place to start riding is along the cycle path that stretches along Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon’s buzzing beachfront. This route offers a spectacular way to explore the sights and sound of Rio’s most famous beaches.
One has to stay alert however, as the path is shared by wide berth bike-carts selling produce as well as cyclists and pedestrians who have a habit of crossing the path without looking. It is a great spot to experience at least once on wheels but may not provide the most laid-back ride on busy weekends.
For a fitness challenge give the circuits at Lagoa or Maracana Stadium a go. Being a bit further out of the Metro route is a bonus here for both locations as the smooth, wide tracks are away from the usual tourist crowds. Both can be reached easily by bus or taxi.
Those who have the know-how and are up for an adventure veering more towards the extreme; Tijuca National Park’s winding hills will give the downhill skateboarder their fill. The The perfect place for adrenaline junkies that are after steep roads to enjoy the motion blurred panoramic view of Rio de Janeiro 300 metres below.
Back to something a bit more relaxing, Aterro Do Flamengo is a skateboarders haven. Offering long, winding, tree dotted paths to share with fellow local skaters, cyclist and joggers, the stunning beachfront path is wide enough to carve your day away while admiring the Sugarloaf, as well as the Aterro skate-park for trick-savvy riders.
Weekends here bring groups of young locals, families and foreigners to unwind, spending their daylight hours playing outdoors on and off their boards. Sundays also offer a special opportunity for those on wheels to enjoy the entire eight kilometers of Avenida Infante Don Henrique while it is closed off to cars.
The area of Aterro Do Flamengo also offers a unique chance to learn to longboard for those who have never skated before in their life, or simply want to improve; the Guanabara Boards “Escola de Skate” (Skate School) headquarters is based here and has recently started offering bi-lingual skate classes and tailor-made city skate tours for foreigners in Rio.
“[Rio] has more than 20 kilometers of beachfront that you can enjoy by walking like simple mortals or enjoy doing something new, I am proposing a way to harness all of this beauty while practicing a green mode of transport and a great cardio workout with our experienced team.”, Alex Batista, skate coach and Founder of Guanabara Boards, explains.
So with the steady hand of experienced practitioners to teach newbies, coupled with a huge expanse of smooth concrete that’s begging to be rolled on throughout the city; there’s no excuse not to grab a skateboard and ride on through Rio.