For the 29th daily installment of Big Wheel Blading’s Inline Skating and Life During COVID-19 series we talk to Frank Lorenz. Frank is a 60-year-old inline skater and telecommunications electronics technician living in Dormagen-Ückerath, Germany between the cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf. In 2018 Frank skated 8,306.76 miles (13,368 km) to win Big Wheel Blading’s 2018 Inline Skating Distance Challenge. He is now enjoying early retirement, but twice a week works in a children’s adventure playground.


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

Here in Germany all schools, gyms, cinemas, concert halls, skate parks and shops are closed. Only grocery stores and hardware stores are open, but are limiting the amount of customers allowed in the store at the same time. You must keep a distance of 1.5 meters (5 feet) from other people at all times. Starting April 27th the current restrictions will partially change. Small shops that have up to 800 square meters (8,611 square feet) of retail space can reopen, however you must wear a mask in these shops. There is no curfew on the public, but there is a ban on making contact with other people. This means that only 2 people or people living in the same household can get together. All major events are prohibited until the end of October, including the Fläming Rollevent, Rhine on Skates and the Berlin Marathon. Lots of people in Germany are having to find short-term work or becoming unemployed, with many companies facing bankruptcy.

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

I am lucky to live in a very rural area where I can skate without having contact with other people. I’m only skating on bike trails and on asphalt paths through fields that have no one else on them. As always, I try to skate 50 kilometers (31 miles) a day.

I don’t have to take any precautionary measures, because when I skate other people are far enough away. I always have a bottle of disinfectant with me, I disinfect everything I touch. After touching something, I also disinfect my hands. Wherever I get too close to people I wear a mask.

If you haven’t stopped skating, what would make you stop?

I would just stop skating for an official curfew or if I got sick.

Are you doing any cross training?

I used to go to the gym three times a week for muscle training, but now that they are closed I can only skate or do some home exercises.

What other activities are you doing to occupy your time?

I take walks, but spend most of my time doing things at home, such as listening to music and watching films.

How has COVID-19 affected your normal everyday life?

It is no longer possible to visit relatives and friends. My wife is now working out of her home office. I only go shopping once a week to minimize contact with other people as little as possible. My 90-year-old mother never leaves her home, so I have to shop for her too.

Most skate events have been canceled this year. This year I had planned to go on many skate trips, both here in Germany and to Barcelona to finally get to know my skate friend Faust Núñez. I fear none of these trips can happen this year!

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

I hope my relatives, friends and everyone else stay healthy. I hope that the current situation will relax soon and that not too many people will experience economic problems.

How is your local skate community responding?

It is not possible, right now, to skate in Düsseldorf with my DUSFOR skate community friends. If people are still skating, they are skating by themselves.

Do you have anything you’d like to add?

People are now looking for ways to keep fit during this crisis and have taken their old skates out of the basement and are skating again. Skating has not been very popular in Germany in recent years, but there is now a real upswing again. This is the only good thing about the crisis!

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Jan Welch

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