By: Mike Dallas
During my return home to Michigan some good friends and I decided to spend an evening at a local chill spot in Grand Rapids, the Meanwhile Bar. Sitting restless in a friend’s car holding board in hand I was eager to skate the Michigan streets. We arrived to the bar and the bouncer asked for ID. Instantly I turned, dropped my board and pushed away.
By-passing initial plans to enjoy PBR with friends, I allowed my wheels to decide the evening journey. Suddenly a girl on a longboard passed and I instinctively followed. Quickly approaching the earthy rider she turned, somewhat surprised that she was being followed. Avoiding a creepy situation, I offered a Bustin Boards, Co flyer and a smile. Our eyes met and we locked in to some good carves as the Brick pavement vibrated our urethane wheels. Confirming my new longboard friend, I extended my fist and we exchanged taps, acknowledging our alliance. A sharp carve to the right and I swiftly changed direction and skated away, as my fellow longboarder continued on the path unknown….
Back at the bar and oblivious to my important encounter, our crew ordered routine pitchers and found seats on the back patio where local hipsters sipped strong local beers and passed the time. Noticing a few longboards against the beer garden wall, I reached into my back pocket for some Bustin flyers and approached the table. Two girls on longboards…nice! With a smile I introduced myself and gave the girls some skate information. Not ten minutes had passed and I had encountered three riders! I was ready for a good night.
We rapidly finished the Pabst Beer and ordered another $2.50 round of pitchers. Waiting on the cocktail waitress and two pitchers deep, we signaled the girls to join us. Without hesitation, the boarders and I decided to ride. Leaving the bar, I was invited to one of their apartments. Inside I found a collection of longboards, some of which I recognized. Also sitting comfortably inside was the roommate of the nice girl whom invited me in, who turned out to be the girl I chased down earlier. Crazy! The three of us laughed and enjoyed a bottle of wine from the bottle as we planned a session.
Setting forth, we skated into the night. First skating toward the local cemetery, my riding partner and I chatted about the road conditions in Grand Rapids and shared wild stories from our many sessions around the city. Along the route, we passed many bikers. Lots of whom I had shared skate sessions with in the past. Grand Rapids is a melting pot of sub-cultural hip enthusiasts, and green transportation is the leading discipline. I am impressed with the progress of the city since I left 3 years ago.