For the 51st daily installment of Big Wheel Blading’s Inline Skating and Life During COVID-19 series we talk to Julien Casalini. Julien is a 28-year-old inline skater and student living in Brussels, Belgium. Julien is currently going to school for infographics. He also films and makes edits of the skaters in Belgium.

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

Belgium was hit rather hard by coronavirus and was on lockdown for two months. As of today the government partially lifted some of the COVID-19 regulations, with more students going to school and markets and museums reopening.

Were you skating during the lockdown?

During the lockdown I was skating outside my home on a practice rail that I built myself. With the relaxing of regulations, inline skating is an allowed outside physical activity, so now I can big wheel blade around the city. I often skate around my neighborhood and visit a friend who also has a practice rail at his house. The city is now full of skaters and bikers from every generation.

Is there anything that would make you stop skating?

For my entire life I’ve been focused on inline skating and have taken part in many disciplines of the sport such as roller hockey, slides and slalom. Currently I’m mostly urban skating on a big wheel setup or aggressive skating. I don’t think I will ever stop skating and most likely will be doing something like roller-skiing when I’m in my 70s.

What activities are you doing to occupy your time?

I’ve been very busy with my studies and working on my thesis. I’ve also been making plans to organize a post COVID-19 inline skating event.

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

I’ve been concerned about the health of my family and also about the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on my studies. I’m worried about the evolution of our world, issues due to the climate and the change in ecosystems. Also I’m worried about our current economic system and if it can continue the way it is. I hope that we will adopt more green mobility infrastructure, such as more bicycle (and skate-able) paths in cities.

How has your local skate community responded to the pandemic?

Most of them were self-isolating during the lockdown. A few people would meet up with one other person to skate outside, but there were no organized group sessions. Many of the skaters also built practice rails so that they could skate at their homes. I’m lucky because my girlfriend is a roller skater so we could skate together.

Do you have anything you’d like to add?

The inline and roller skating scene in Belgium and in Brussels are not well recognized, we lack support and visibility. I dream to be able to help and develop the sport more here in Belgium.


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