For the 19th daily installment of Big Wheel Blading’s Inline Skating and Life During COVID-19 series we talk to Bill Stoppard. Bill is an inline skater and YouTube vlogger living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has amassed over 63,000 followers on his inline skating YouTube channel, Pinto Pony Productions.

What is the current situation in Toronto with COVID-19?

Toronto is ‘social distancing’ right now. It feels like the calm before the storm, like maybe we should batten down the hatches before it really gets here. I do feel very well informed by my government, and the medical experts seem to be leading the effort to contain COVID-19. Most people in my neighbourhood are still being courteous and seem to be taking distancing measures seriously. Solitary outdoor exercise is still the official recommendation, no geographical limits yet.

Are you still skating? If so what what precautions are you taking to stay safe?

I’ve been out once in the last two weeks. I skated roads and alleys, where I thought I’d encounter the fewest people. I generally skate paranoid of pedestrians, so I am big fan of the 2 metre rule already. Once I’m outside I don’t linger, touch anything or sit anywhere. I hand sanitize before and after touching all door, and clean everything when I get back, even my skates.

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What and where are you skating? 

I’ve actually made a rail out of an old square bed frame rail, and some nailed together boards. I had just recently started practicing grinds again, and was not ready to give up or pause so soon. I’ve had 3 sessions on this ugly rail where I’ve learned a ton, and am now am way more comfortable in my anti-rocker (Trigger) set up.

What would make you stop skating outside entirely?

I’m not sure if I’ll go out again, until after we’ve flattened the curve, I might change my mind for a night skate though. When our health experts say ‘don’t go for walks’ they will mean it, and I will obey.

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How are you spending your free time? Are you doing any cross training?

I’ve shot a few videos this week; grind practice, my last city skate and some home exercise videos, using stuff around the house for resistance exercise. I am really missing the tools and the people of my gym though. I’m also playing a little more guitar and watching more ‘cross species relationships’ videos and fight videos than ever.

What are your major concerns right now and looking into the future?

My major concern right now is that so many people are in pain at the sudden loss of loved ones. Are we doing enough? Are we waiting for tragedy to unfold before we respond properly?  
Looking to the future I’m very hopeful that a massive collective appreciation for all we have, and can be, will sweep the planet when we are past this.

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How has the skate community in Toronto responded?

Most group skates hadn’t begun and the skateparks are closed. So it’s just the ‘loner roll’ for most of us I think.

Do you have anything you’d like to add?

To those skaters who are still using pedestrians as pylons; people on the sidewalks are freaking out, trying to keep respectable distances from others. We skaters are hyper-mobile because of our superior footwear, so please be protective of the ‘slowbees’, they cannot change course as quickly as we can, let them have the ability to protect themselves, don’t creep into their personal space. Sidewalks are for suckers anyway, hit the road, there’s fewer cars now.

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