With spring a-sproinging all over the place, I took off on my bike on Thursday for the first time in about 4 or 5 months. My intention was to have a little explore of Glasgow's Southside - something I've not really done (outside of Shawlands anyway) since moving here last September. The winter has a knack for keeping a man inside with the telly.
A little bit of searching before I left led me to discover that two (two! can you imagine my delight?) skateparks seemed to live within a 20 minute cycle of my wee hoose and my intention was to discover, if not exactly conquer, both of them along my way.
First up, Queens Park skatepark, pictured above. I was somewhat familiar with this place from magazines and videos, but had never visited and had long forgotten it's name. Dark, rough and sketchy, Queens Park is a real Council mismanagement of obstacles too big, too small or too weird for your regular average-to-crap skateboarder like myself. Actually, even for Dudes Who Are Good, I imagine most of this park is all but unskatable (5' run-up to stairs, anyone?).
The vert ramp is Queens Park's only draw and, well, it looks ready to eat your soul. Show it no weakness. The thing is big - bigger than my photos make out - and scary - scarier than my photos make out. Some people can skate this monster (and skate it well), but not me. I take a look, wave a little white flag and scoot away on my poncey wee bike. I suspect the next time I visit will be to identify a body.
My hopes turned to Rouken Glen (above) - somewhere I'd seen on YouTube, but only recently realised was on the Southside. A 2.5 mile cycle from my house in Shawlands makes this park just about viable as a 'bit cloudy but I'll risk it' option and, I dunno, it could be worse (it could be Queens Park). It was empty when I arrived but as far as I know, there's a wee local scene, which is all good. No sign of any discarded syringes - also good.
Rouken Glen is a small prefab metal park in a nice area. Not exactly inspiring but potentially pretty fun. A mini ramp would've been a nice touch here, or even some lower ledges (the main one is just the wrong side of comfortable, for short-arses like myself). The box looks not bad (bank to ledge!) and there's a bigger hip than you'd expect in a place like this. A decent dick-about spot, I reckon. Good for getting rid of the rusty knees before summer.
If, by a long shot, anyone knows other good places to skate on the Southside of Glasgow, particularly near Shawlands, let me know. I got so used to living 5 mins from a park in Stirling that I find it weird not being able just to nip out for half an hour anymore. Oh and sorry about the cheesy Hipstamatic photos - I got a new phone recently and I can't stop playing with it.
Oh, and along similar lines, my friend Ben has started a blog called Terminal Moraine about skateboarding in Australia, his new home. Give him a wee follow. He's a smart cookie and, if he properly gets into the blogging habit, it'll be a good 'un. His exploring partly inspired this post.