Updated: Aug 25
words by Mel Blackwood @troubleon8wheels All stunning photographs @paulcraigphoto
The meet ups hosted by us are designed to be the most accessible way to find other roller skaters - these are particularly suitable for folks with anxiety or other mental health barriers. There are no hire skates available at skate meet ups, but you'd still be welcome to pop along and say hi, even if you don't have skates yet.
Meet-ups and roll-outs both happen outdoors. A meet-up happens in one place and is suitable for everyone. A roll-out goes from point A to B outdoors and is usually better for more confident skaters, unless the description specifically says it is for all levels.
Meet-ups and roll-outs are not times for formal teaching. We are always happy to give you a few tips, but please respect our time and energy. Sometimes it is hard to draw the line when your work and play is the same activity! Often things happen organically - sometimes people start jumping things or dancing - but there is never any pressure to join in. We all remember what its like feeling like the 'new one' and so work to make everyone feel as included as we can. What we love about all the skaters who have come to our meet-ups is we share these values.
Instead, at meet-ups, we focus on fun and friendship.
We chat, skate a bit, chat some more, eat a snack, dance, chat, skate a bit more, have a drink, skate, chat... you get the idea. It's a time for us to catch up with each other. We usually bring a speaker along and play music if you want to have a shuffle about (aka dance).
At a meet-up, we are there to keep you company and promote mental wellbeing primarily. That means you need to take precautions for your physical safety as it you were on your own. We usually have a first aid kit somewhere, but we encourage everyone to look after themselves.
People often take photos or videos at meet-ups. We have a lot of keen hobby photographers with some very nice kit in the skate community. If you are uncomfortable having your picture taken, just let them know. No-one will mind, and they will be sure to delete any photos of you that are accidentally taken.
Meet-up tips for very anxious skaters
You don't need to be 'on time'. Meet-ups are very informal, and the times are guidance around RGG being in the space to keep you company. Stay for as long or little as you like.
You don't need to put your skates on - at all! If you don't feel comfortable within the space, then no need to force it. We understand. Take it as slowly as you need.
Try and say hello to at least one new skater, or let us know that you would like to be introduced to people. If you want to let us know in advance that you're planning to come to your first meet up, just drop us a line email@example.com If we haven't met before, then we are your 'one new skater'!
If you are unfamiliar with the space, check it out on Google Maps satellite view in advance or go take a look in person.
Check where to park or the bus route.
Make sure your phone is charged and bring headphones if this helps you feel calm.
Bring a water bottle!
Wear whatever you feel comfortable in. Some skaters wear their skates and full protective gear if they are in a space they don't know, or worry about any kind of incline. Some skaters don't.
Clothing wise - wear whatever you feel comfortable in. Most skaters wear sportswear - something stretchy is often more comfortable, but dungarees and dresses are popular too. We want people to feel comfortable to be themselves.
You may want to bring a small bag for your valuables that you can keep with you at all times. There is usually a bag pile of shoes/jumpers/water bottles, but we are in a city centre, in a space where not everyone knows each other. It makes sense to keep your most valuable items on you.
RSVP to our online meet-up. Even if you change your mind about coming, you will get notified of any last minute changes (like if we turn up and there are roadworks). You don't need to let us know if you definitely are/are not coming.
It is normal to feel a little bit anxious when you are going to a new space or meeting new people, especially when you are doing an activity you don't feel confident at.
If you don't feel like putting your skates on at the meet-up, be gentle with yourself later. We can be our own worst enemies with overly critical self-talk.
We are all different, have had different life and skate experiences that led us to this point. If you are early into your roller skate journey, it is so unhelpful to compare what you are able to do with anyone!
By pushing outside your comfort zone a little, you will grow. You will learn to cope with this new situation and over time, it will get easier to continue to push outside your comfort zone. Make no mistake, it is very very tough the first time, and next few times.
What helps you feel calmer when you step outside your comfort zone?