The Allure of Long Distance Skateboarding


In the words of another distance skateboarder, Adam Colton, traveling by skateboard “is a pretty stupid idea.” It really is. It is less efficient than cycling, you are at the mercy of the road surface and traffic is infinitely less forgiving towards you than other forms of human powered transport. And yet there is an inexplicable allure to it. The following is a snapshot of that allure, from the China leg of my 12,159km skate across Europe, the US, and China; China being the highlight for many different reasons.

Life is really simple

Sleep spot near Shiheizi City, Xinjiang Province, China

Pushing through endless desert near Turpan, Xinjiang Province, China

The rig on a plateau near Santai, Xinjiang Province, China

Cooling off on the way to Hami on National Highway G312 in Xinjiang, China

Joy that transcends borders

Enthusiastic Kazakh family in Gotsugu, Xinjiang Province, China

Enthusiastic local on the board near Santai, Xinjiang Province, China

Kazakh kids play with Rig near Jinghe, Xinjiang, China

Tibetan family near Erbou, Qinghai Province, China

Drying rice on roadside near Huangchuang, Henan Province, China

Breaks the ice – leads to real encounters

Butchering a sheep Tibetan style near Erbou, Qinghai Province, China

The monks of the Arou Buddhist Temple in Arou, Qinghai Province, China

Freedom from timetables – the road is yours

Skating the GZ45 expressway east of Guazhou, Gansu Province, China

Smooth fast skating in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China

Hilly scenery east of Xian, Shaanxi Province, China

5km long tunnel on G70 expressway east of Xian, Shaanxi Province, China

Brand new expressway not open to traffic near Changwu, Gansu Province, China

Endless (National Highway 312 between Lotojue and Xinxinxia, Xinjiang Province, China)

Strong legs, super-human lungs, glorious appetite

A mountain of noodles for lunch in Huangchuang, Henan Province, China

Pushing on towards Tongbai, Henan Province, China

Movement…

Prayer wheels in Arou Buddhist Temple in Arou, Qinghai Province, China

Progress in Hong Kong

Tunnels on new expressway not open to traffic (but open to skateboards) approaching Yongshou, Shaanxi Province, China

And static solitude

Hiking in the sand dunes near Shanshan, Xinjiang Province, China

Hiking in the sand dunes near Shanshan, Xinjiang Province, China

Early morning in Luoshan, Henan Province, China

This piece originally appeared on Alastair Humphreys’ awesome blog as a guest post.


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