From the heavens on wheels – the longboard’s success story
At the beginning of the 1960s, surfers are said to have mounted axles and roller skate wheels onto self-built boards in order to ride on asphalt instead of water. The advantage? You don’t have to wait on waves, and there is reasonably smooth asphalt everywhere.
Thus the longboard was born. That was a long time ago, and longboarding has since become known around the world. What few people know, however, is that longboards have been around longer than skateboards. A longboard measures about one meter in length, and its wheels are larger and softer for greater comfort and less roll resistance. The board itself is made of wood.
Longboarding in Freiburg: ideal conditions for thrill seekers
Just as California offers ideal conditions for surfing, longboarding fans enjoy the almost perfect descending slope on the road between Himmelreich and the city center. A 14 kilometer cycling path runs here that is known outside of Freiburg by those active in the scene. To reach the starting point, simply take a relaxing trip by train to Himmelreich on the Höllentalbahn. From there, it’s time to start rolling.
“What’s nice about longboarding is that everyone can learn it quickly,” says longboarder Jan Vester, while showing some basics. He steps with one foot and keeps the other on the board. Of course, the declines also help to pick up speed. Skillful hip movements also help provide more speed. “You steer by shifting your weight,” Jan shouts into the wind. Then he places one foot expertly on the asphalt, brakes, and grins.
There are now boards for any style, including special boards for going downhill, flex boards, carving boards, dancing boards – and yes, even electric boards.
The idea, however, remains the same: namely, a touch of the feeling of riding waves – like in California, just in Breisgau.
The Layback Boardshop holds longboarding workshops for beginners. Employees provide novices with the basics in around two hours. In addition, every Wednesday the longboarding regulars’ table meets, when the group surfs the scene from Himmelreich along the Dreisam towards the city center together.
Layback Skateshop offers rental equipment (a rental costs €5 per day) and workshops (2 hrs, cost: €20) for beginners. www.layback-freiburg.de
• Start at central station: Höllentalbahn platform 7 in the direction of Schwarzwald. The trip takes about 20 minutes to reach the Himmelreich stop. Ticket price: approx. €4.
• Then it’s time to hit the pavement with the longboard: the bike path curves its way down approx. 14 kilometers from the Himmelreich station into the city. It goes past Hotel Rainhof Scheune through Burg-Birkenhof to Zarten. Duration: approx. 1.5 hours
• Before the Zarten village entrance, a bike path leads past a farm towards the Freiburg Golf Club and Freiburg-Kappel, where you can cross the B31 thanks to a bridge.
• Keep Kappel on your left and follow the bike path. Cross the Brugga, which feeds into the Dreisam, twice. Once you have done that, you will find yourself on the Dreisam riverbank path in Ebnet.
• Now you are going to pass the Schwarzwald-Stadion headed towards the city center, where you will arrive at your destination.