In an old abandoned church in San Francisco, there’s a blast to the past in the form of a roller rink. The Church of 8 Wheels is an old-timey place, with pews, a DJ, an open floor, and a lot of roller skaters. They’re open only on Friday and Saturday evenings, but there are quite a few people who come to skate. There’s a large range of abilities, from those who are completely new (they rent out skates) to those who look like figure skaters in their roller skates.
I stayed there with friends for around 2 hours, taking liberal breaks. Staying for that long made me feel like I really got my money’s worth of the skates and the entrance fee, even if I didn’t skate the whole time. One of my favorite parts was definitely watching some of the regulars and older skaters go around the ring as easy as walking, dancing to the music (which was quite old-timey as well). A nice part of the night was when the DJ asked for a men only and women only song, allowing each of the genders their own time in the rink.
When first putting on the roller skates and stepping onto the church floor, I found it much easier than other friends. This is because I also know how to ice skate, and the motions and balance is quite similar between the two sports. That being said, I wasn’t immune to falls: during the women only song, I lost my balance and fell backwards. At least I still knew how to get up; sometimes it can be difficult for new skaters to figure out how to balance themselves on their wheels (or skates) when getting up from the floor.
I had a lot of fun going around the rink. Of course, it can get boring after some time, which is why I would highly suggest going with some friends. In addition, I really suggest trying to go a couple of times with people who can teach you the basics at least. However, if you were to go alone, with no knowledge of roller skating beforehand, there are always the pros that are willing to be helpful, especially to newbies. It’s a great new experience for any one, and I highly suggest it.