Have a question? You're not the only one. Here are some resources that provide answers to common questions about skating.
Q. How much does it cost?
There is no charge for the skates, and we've eliminated annual dues. Group skating is free but bring money for anything you may need along the way. For example sport drinks, or metro/taxi fare in case you get tired or your skates malfunction.
Q. How can I get lessons or instruction?
WAR volunteers offer free lessons in Rock Creek Park during Summer months. There are also private instructors, training programs, and camps.
Q. What level are the skates?
All levels! From beginner to advanced. If you are unsure whether your skills are sufficient, please speak to a skate leader prior to a skate. On a street skate you may find a hill or obstacle that is beyond your comfort level. This is normal. Tell the skate leader! He/she will help you assess your options. If you feel that you cannot complete a skate, let the leader or sweep know, and ask if you need directions to a metro or bus station.
- Can steer and push on flat ground
- Can handle slight inclines and declines, such as a small handicap ramp
- Experience skating in a rink, parking lot, or paved pathway
- Should wear all protective gear: wrist, elbow, knee pads and helmet
Beginner Street Skating:
Weekly Skates: Entry-Level Skate at Hains Point, or Friday Night Skate with The Archives as starting point
If you have new skates in an unopened box, you will need a bit of practice, or maybe a free lesson before you can feel comfortable skating on our rough streets, with a large group in traffic.
- Can stop quickly on even ground
- Can navigate around pot holes, and over speed bumps
- Can slow or stop on gentle declines
- Skate continuously for one mile without stopping to rest
Intermediate Street Skating:
Weekly Skates: Friday Night Skate or Sunday Intermediate Skate
Group skates take place on the streets and trails in and around DC, which can be quite hilly.
(in addition to the ones noted above)
- feel comfortable skating with a large group in traffic during the day and night.
- are able to stop and turn on any surface or terrain - including moderate hills.
- are willing to follow traffic laws
- understand hand signals such as such as skating quickly through an intersection where traffic is being held.
- skate in a confined space without spilling beer
- skate continuously, without stopping to rest for two miles
Weekly Skates: Sunday Advanced Skate or Wednesday Night Skate
Even hot-shot speed and derby skaters should take note that urban skating in DC requires certain technical skills which you won't get on a closed track.
(in addition to the ones noted above)
- can balance, steer, and brake on large downhills
- stop quickly, even from a high velocity
- can hop on or off of a curb while skating
- climb a staircase while on skates
- skate continuously, without stopping to rest for four miles
Q. Is Safety Gear Required?
Although all skaters are responsible for themselves, the prudent answer is yes. Skating is a risky activity and nobody wants you to end the skate in an emergency vehicle. We suggest at minimum protection of wrist guards and a helmet, ideally elbow and knee pads should also be worn.
Q. What should I bring on the skates?
Water: We are not able to provide water trucks, so please bring your own water on all skates. If you run out and need to replenish your hydration, ask the skate leader for the next water stop. Water and sports drinks are widely available from street vendors, bars, and shops along the way.
Cab/Subway fare: We will not have any sag wagons. Therefore, bring money in case you are unable to complete the skate and need a ride back.
Shoes or sandals: It is a good idea to bring shoes or sandals on each skate in case you want to walk through memorials, need to take the subway, or decide on a post-skate establishment that doesn’t allow skates.
Q. Are cyclists welcome on the skates?
Yes! We are happy to have cyclists, runners, long boarders, spring stilts, and any other self-propelled folks with us, as long as they keep in mind that skaters kick to the side and take up some room on the road. Give skaters adequate space at all times by riding behind or in front of the pack.
Q. Do you skate at night, in the dark?!
Yes, but it's not really that dark! DC is highly illuminated by street lights and ambient lighting. Blinkies are advisable for night skates. We also advise reflective or at least light-colored clothing
Q. How do I find out about a WAR skate?
This website offers a Calendar page. For specific events, click on Calendar or News monthly or weekly. To find out about last minute changes, check the discussion forum/archive or send an email to the leader.
Q. Whats the best way to get to most WAR skates?
Parking is usually available near the starting point, but pay close attention to the posted signs, as some areas require payment until 10pm. Since you will have your skates with you, taking the Metro then skating to the start is always an option