Tag Archives: Skateboarding

The Brand New Sanjiangkou Park

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As it has been often said, a forthcoming subway system usually changes many things within a city. One of the more fundamental things is urban planning. That became evident in Xinbei, recently. The construction barricades came down from around Sanjiangkou Park 三江口公园. I decided to go out and take a stroll to see what was there.

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At first glance, it’s a typical ecological park. It’s across the street from the Changzhou Foreign Languages School / Trina International complex. There’s a BRT stop between the two, but there is also a subway station being put in here. That subway station is referenced in the directional signage.

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Besides the more typical things you might find in a public park, a few things stood out to me. Yes, I am a 45 year-old man with a beer gut, but part of me will always have a teenage skateboarder hardwired into my brain. Once a spot hunter, always a spot hunter. For example, the above photo. It looks like a totally skate-able series of flat banks. There are also plenty of stone benches around, too. In short, this park has a few potential skating spots. However, if I’m being practical, I also saw a security guy zipping around on an eBike. So, skating the above may not be quite feasible. And then, I got a real shock.

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I actually ran into an concrete mini-ramp. Behind that, there’s a flat bank with a rail. This is next to basketball and tennis courts. An astroturf soccer pitch is also close by. Obviously, a security guy won’t be yelling at you if you’re here. So, yeah, while I really don’t ride a skateboard anymore, I got totally enthused about this. And then, Changzhou decided to repeat a bit of skateboarding history, again.

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The mini-half has some unsafe spots. This is exactly the same problem that popped up with the park that was put in the basement of Laimeng downtown like a year ago. The metal ramps over in Qingfeng all got rusty before that was shut down. There is one hopeful thing, however.

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While the construction barricades came down, there is still a significant portion of Sanjiangkou that is still under construction. So, it’s a possibility that the damaged concrete will be found and fixed. The above photo is also a reminder that what ever is to be here has not fully come into existence, yet.

So, for me at least, it’s going to be interesting to return in a few months and see what Sanjiangkou actually becomes. Who knows? Maybe the damaged ramp will be fixed? Maybe I’ll dust off my board and ride it? Probably not. I’m not the guy I was in my twenties, and I think I’m too afraid of falling down and getting a boo-boo.

Laimeng’s Skate Park

I have loved skateboarding since I was like 12. I have a board, but honestly, I haven’t ridden it in years. To be honest, I’m in my mid-forties, and I somehow managed to put my midlife crisis behind me — although, I do own a couple fake leather jackets, and you can only pry those away from me from my cold dead fingers. So, why don’t I ride anymore? It has more to do with just getting old and the fact that gravity can sometimes hurt and the resulting ouchies and booboos will linger for days. I’m out of shape, and I do not have the resiliency if a 20 year old. It’s a fundamental law of skateboarding: you will fall down. You will wipe out.

Also, there really doesn’t seem anywhere to ride around in Changzhou. Qingfeng Park had an X-Games styled park, but the metal ramps became spotted with rust years ago and it became unsafe to ride. Foundcity Plaza in Xinbei also had a little park, but that’s long since gone. The only place left seems to be a concrete snake run in Wujin. So, I was excited — even though I really don’t skate anymore — to see that downtown’s Laimeng was putting a concrete course in its basement.

 

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It seemed like sheer simplicity. You have a few transitions, a slide rail, and some flat banks.

 

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Sounds good, right? If you sense a “but” coming, you would be absolutely correct. This park seems to be Changzhou skateboarding history repeating itself. By that, I mean the problem that troubled the Qingfeng X Games Park.

 

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It is unsafe and unfit to ride. I don’t know if they used a low-quality concrete for this, but the riding surface is riddled with potholes. The above photo shows one of many. However, the chalk outline makes me think that people know this and the park will be fixed. However, I do know that Qingfeng’s X Games Park had lots dangerous rust spots. Those were never fixed. So, count me as not optimistic.

A Skatepark in Xinbei?

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Recently, a small skate park has popped up in the Found City shopping plaza across the street from Xinbei Wanda. This is actually in the inner part of the plaza, and is currently in front of the equally new Ellen’s Bar. It’s fairly simple with a few obstacles like two rails, a launch ramp, and a few others. There are two quarter pipes at each end, too.

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I’m not sure exactly what is going on, here. Could this be linked to an upcoming event? A few months ago, Vans did a skateboarding demo in Wuxi. Regardless, in the time this little skate spot has been in Xinbei, I haven’t actually seen anybody riding it. I would have tried, as I do have a board. However, I’m a middle aged guy that easily prone to foot injuries these days. Some of the signage seems to suggest it’s legit and lays out terms of use.

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There are only two sports I tend to be a fan of: professional wrestling and skateboarding. So, I hope the above place is legit. However, I have to speak with a little bit of skepticism. Up till now, Changzhou has had two big skate spots. Over in Qingfeng Park, there is a X-Games styled place that even has a half pipe. Yet, the obstacles are rusted, it’s unsafe to ride, and it’s closed to the public. Down in Wujin, there is a concrete set of banks set up like a snake run. A few years ago, I had actually spent an afternoon riding it. This is in the park next to the Holiday Inn near the Wujin governmental complex. Last time I was there, layers of dirt had made that place unusable.

The other issue, really, is Foundcity. From time to time, things pop up there, remain unused, and then vanish. I remember an attempt to set up a outdoor gocart track, for example. So, as I said. Count me as skeptical. As somebody who appreciates skating, I really want this place to be used and still in Xinbei within a couple of months. However, I will not be surprised if this vanishes, too.

This is Not a Skatepark

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As far as I know, Changzhou has only two actual skate parks. One is in Qingfeng Park in Zhonglou. It has ramps and rails and the sort of thing you might expect from a skate park in America or Europe. The other is in Wujin, and it’s a spray painted concrete ditch / snake run. This one is closer to the College City, and it’s in the park next to a Holiday Inn. In both instances, I have never seen anybody with a skateboard at these places other than myself.

And then, there is something fundamentally misleading in Xinbei. Next to the Changzhou North Station, there are two ecological parks split by Huashan Road. Both are named for the high speed train that glides by overhead: Changzhou High Speed Rail Ecological Park 常州高铁生态公园,

For the most part, both the east and west parts are ecologically well maintained and manicured. There are also wide concrete paths that make the park excellent for bike riding — both pedal and electric varieties. What caught my attention, however, was a sign that said “Skateboarding Plaza.”

I spent an hour walking and riding around both the east and west sections. At one point the signs and the arrows began contradicting each other. And, no matter how many times I looked at the park’s posted map, I just couldn’t seem to find it. Eventually, I did, and it was utterly disappointing.

Many parks in Changzhou have amusement areas and rides for children. This place was no different. Only, the concrete in this area was very hard, and it had some twists, turns, and painted lines. Sure, you could ride a skateboard here, but it wouldn’t be any fun. It’s all just flat. And, then I realized something. This place was probably planned for Chinese kids on inline skates, not for middle aged Americans who still like riding a skateboard from time to time. IMG_20160518_145850