November 30, 2023

Valley Post

Read Latest News on Sports, Business, Entertainment, Blogs and Opinions from leading columnists.

What’s it like to skate the streets of Athens?

What’s it like to skate the streets of Athens?

When I called her and asked why over the past few months she decided to commute around Athens on an electric motorcycle, she was enthusiastic: “It’s my favorite topic of conversation. I get my work done in half the time.” As a freelance communications professional, she has appointments across Athens. With the car permanently parked during the week in one of the prized places in Metz, he never felt comfortable using public transportation. By metro due to location and by buses due to inconsistency. He preferred to walk or take a taxi if he was in a hurry: “But again, I was late, and I didn’t have time to do all the routes I wanted to during the day. I saved a lot of time with skiing.” Isn’t he afraid in the street? “Of course. No one is counting on you. And the roads are miserable.”

You are more concerned with not falling into deadly potholes than with cars. This applies to all parts of the center. Sometimes you have to get on sidewalks, on big roads. Cliffs do not exist, even in the Constitution. And I’m fine with skating. People in wheelchairs? The above, however, was more or less expected. What made a big impression on her were the passers-by: “They cross the streets like zombies, mesmerized by their mobile phones, not looking at what is happening in front of them.” However, the sign remains positive: “I have reduced my environmental footprint and my expenses significantly. If you count the money that went in a taxi, with the skiing I paid for myself in the first three months.

The ski cost her 400 euros – depending on the manufacturer, you can find between 250 and more than 3000 euros. He notes, of course, that many do not take this mode of transportation seriously: “They find it cute or crazy, but they don’t seem to realize that anyone can move this way if we want Athens to become a sustainable city.” city.” – E.S

What's it like to skateboard the streets of Athens?-1
Fotis Th.foot. Alina leva

Fotis Th “I combine work with fun”

Nine years ago, Fotis put rollers on his feet for the first time. He lived in Peristeri and studied at the then TEI Piraeus. Within eight months, the hobby developed into one of his main means of transportation. First, from his home to school. “I went all the way from Thebes to Nicaea. I got there in ten minutes, it took longer by bus.” Today, it is used at distances ranging from five hundred meters to ten kilometers. Sometimes on your own and other times with the City Skaters of Athens team. The latter take to the streets in an attempt to promote skating as a popular means of transportation and to educate drivers and pedestrians to view it with a more friendly eye. But are they safe? “Small accidents happen, but collisions are controlled. A person can turn or pass without blinking and not see me, but what I have to do is show my presence on the road. This means that I think that on Alexandras Street or Vouliagmenis Street I will take up space in the lane.” “The middle one, so that no car can replace me, but also because at that moment I am also moving at a speed of 50 km/h. And in the right lane I will move more carefully, lest any car come out of the alley.” The distance he travels to work doesn’t allow him to travel on skates all the time, but he uses them for errands around the neighborhood and to get to the subway station. “I go to pay my skate bills and do a little shopping in the supermarket, that’s how I combine work with fun. Sometimes they don’t let me enter stores wearing skates. The same thing happens on the subway, where it’s usually prohibited And of course some people say to me: “Enter as you are.” I inspire them with confidence.” – B. TS.

What's it like to snowboard the streets of Athens?-2
Dimitris T. photo. Alina leva

Dimitris T. | “An experience that provides peace of mind”

One could consider him a Marvel hero because he looks all balanced (helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, wrist pads) on his fluorescent unicycle. Of course, our hero, Dimitris, is actually a musician in the Athens State Orchestra who goes to the concert hall every day carrying his cello. Using a wheel, as the electric unicycle (or euc) is more commonly called, covers a distance of two kilometers in six minutes, which would take a car driver at least twenty minutes. “I lived every day with the worry that I would be late and that my teammates would start playing without me,” he says today. Fewer than seventy people use unicycles in Greece. The small number of users in the country left this two-wheeled vehicle outside the legal framework. However, portability, maneuverability, a large wheel that favors driving on neglected Greek roads, contributing to traffic relief as well as electric operation (full charge in 10 hours for a distance of about 120 km) are just some of the features of the wheel that is considered a hit. The most energy efficient vehicles. “I spend 35 cents per 120 kilometres,” says the musician.

The wheel works gyroscopically, meaning it moves in the direction of torque, shifting the user’s weight – and the tread plays a big role in this. The rider leans forward and commands the wheeled vehicle to go forward, whereas if he throws his weight backwards, the vehicle will initially stop and then reverse later. Driving it is an amazing experience, according to Dimitris, who explains that it is a matter of practice, not talent. “Hands-free navigation, in the absence of a steering wheel, gets you moving comfortably. It’s an experience that provides peace of mind, and takes away stress – imagine not having to worry about traffic on the road anymore.” -N. Dr..

What is it like to move on the ice in the streets of Athens?-3
Michaelis K. photo. Alina leva

Michaelis K. | “My mood changed and my body changed too.”

In 2016, the company he worked for moved to Petralona, ​​and Michalis thought public transportation would not be convenient for him from his home in Nea Smyrni. “My finances did not allow me to buy a car or a motorcycle. So I turned to cycling and soon noticed changes in my mood and body.” Michalis travels exclusively on his mountain bike through the streets of Athens, either to go to work or to meet his friends around the center. But why is a mountain bike ideally suited to city roads, unlike a city bike? “Can’t you see the streets? They’re full of potholes that you can’t avoid, because even maneuvering is dangerous. A city bike wants you to change the wheels more often because they deform. A mountain bike lasts longer.”

Bicycles and drones to transport products

For seven years, he did not change his bike. Aside from the device costing €400, during his time using it, he never spent more than €100 on minor repairs. He notes that the most dangerous moments on the roads he travels during the week are the section from Parliament to Panthéon University, where he exits from the central artery, next to drivers who talk on the phone and pass directly by him. “One time a truck driver shouted at me: ‘What do you think, the whole road is yours?’ Then he drove like a madman, risking an accident, while threatening to find me with his bumper on my head.” However, it also faces problems related to weather phenomena. “When it rains or it gets hot and I have to take the bus, I say to myself: What are you doing stuck here?” “Riding a bike is an addictive habit, you become very addicted.” – B. TS