Photos: Mike Dallas/Thaddaeus Beals
The Broadway Bomb 2008 is approaching and we feel it is our responsibility to share our wealth of Broadway knowledge. Enjoy!
NYC is notorious for aggressive drivers. Driving is stressful for causing even the most experienced navigator to be extra aware. Fortunately, a majority of the gas guzzling commuters have a keen awareness of pedestrians. Longboarding is one of the fastest, most efficient modes of city transportation. Average street speeds vary by gradient and street texture. The majority of Broadway is smooth, separated by a median. Two lanes of traffic moving north, two travelling south. The race begins at 116th street/Broadway in Harlem and finishes at Bowling Green in the Financial District 8.2 miles south. The greatest speed is generated between 116th and 60th street where the gradient is a consistent gradual slope. Kick pushing is necessary to maintain aggressive speed, keep up with traffic and to avoid red lights.
Cars stop for red lights and bikers are encouraged to obey traffic laws. Most skaters should stop for lights, but the Broadway Bomb usually waives all inhibitions. Participants skate aggressive, and trust logic and awareness. There is a technique to maintain speed and flow with traffic, best learned from feet in the streets experience. NYC residents have the advantage of skating Broadway frequently. Timing is everything, especially when approaching a congested red light.
The most difficult obstacle of the Broadway Bomb is cross traffic. Finding a comfortable speed faster than the average car is most efficient. The best way to ride traffic is a comfortable pace and stay ahead of light change patterns. Keep your head high and look for the hole in traffic. Lights synchronize drivers and can be a great way to find your hole.
The hole is the small space one must pass through in cross traffic and pedestrian walkway congestion. The hole opens and closes rhythmically with traffic/pedestrian volume. Similar to a wave on a surf line, holes have a back door. Finding the back door of the hole is fun. Some cross streets are one way, and low volume. Other streets are four lanes going both directions and congested. Approaching these intersections is dangerous and stressful unless you have perfect timing. The hole can open and close in a moment, be sure to have your foot brake ready.
Pedestrian holes are fun because they are softer than traffic holes. When the “walk” symbol appears the pedestrian hole begins to close, keep your eye on the lights. The center of the street is the best place to penetrate. Most pedestrians are completely unaware of everything around them. Avoid eye contact and be extra aware. When someone sees you coming without eye contact they will most likely panic. NEVER trust your obstacles. They are not your friend. Respect the street and it’s obstacles and it will respect you, just like the ocean and it’s surfer.
If you want to survive the race, stop for traffic. If you want to win the race…find your holes. Bright colors and loud voices are good. Air horns definitely help. See you out there.