Contrary to how it might seem, the world has not stopped moving.
In fact, it may have even picked up speed in the last five months. Since the pandemic started, consumers are looking for excuses to get out of the house, even if there's nowhere to go. That's meant big business for anything that glides, slides or accelerates. If it has wheels, it's rolling right out of shops.
Of course, in Portland, it was always going to take more than a health crisis to keep us off our bikes. But it's not just bicycle sales that are booming—although they are, leaping up 75% from a year ago, causing supply shortages and back orders and exciting advocates about what it might mean for Portland's bike future.
Skateboarding, too, has seen a surge in popularity. In most cases, it's bored teenagers picking up a new hobby, or adults resuming an old one. But is it possible for someone in their 30s with a deep fear of falling to learn to shred in a single week? In this issue, we tracked a local comic's attempt to skate or die—at times, those seemed like literally the only two options.
An even older pastime is also experiencing a renaissance: Roller skates are suddenly so in demand stores can't keep them in the stock. Once again, though, Portland was ahead of the trend—see our world-champion roller derby squad. Here, we asked several Rose City Rollers and more casual enthusiasts to wax ecstatic about their favorite skates, so you'll have an idea of what to shop for to get rolling yourself.
What's old is new but what's new is really new. E-bikes and e-scooters are ubiquitous on Portland's streets, but have you ever ridden an electric skateboard? What about an electric unicycle? We dove into the growing subculture of "e-skaters," who are tricking out their rides with motors, batteries and remote controls in order to go faster for longer—and, in some cases, nearly blowing themselves up along the way.
Whether you've got a need for speed or prefer a more leisurely, '50s-era pace, now is the time to get moving. This pandemic isn't going anywhere, sure. But that doesn't mean you have to stand still.
—Matthew Singer, WW Arts & Culture Editor