For the 24th daily installment of Big Wheel Blading’s Inline Skating and Life During COVID-19 series we talk to Si Coburn. Si is a 36-year-old inline skater from Gloucester, England, United Kingdom. He is the UK ambassador for Rollerblade and works for a helmet company called Ruroc, which is based in the UK. Si has been skating for about 24 years, starting off aggressive skating but over the past year or so he has found a new love in Big Wheel Blading.

Abstract – photo by Sam Cooper

What rules has the United Kingdom implemented in response to COVID-19?

We are considered in lockdown but we are allowed out of the house for work, supermarket trips, medical issues and once a day for exercise! The general public started off quite slack in the UK, everyone was still going to the beaches, bars and parks. Our government has now cracked down on it and pretty much anything that isn’t considered a necessity has been closed. The police have been setting up random checkpoints and pulling people over to see why they are out in their cars. They really are trying to urge people to stay at home!

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

I am trying to skate everyday, I have even been taking the dog out for walks on my skates and also been documenting some stuff with my GoPro whilst I am out and about. Since we have been told to stay home the weather here in the UK has been the best we have had this year. I live in the Suburbs so it’s quite easy to go out skating on my own without getting close to anyone and keeping a good social distance. I am sticking to just Big Wheel Blading too and just cruising around. There is a small skatepark around the corner from my house but I have avoided doing any tricks. Our NHS is under enough pressure at the moment with COVID-19, so I don’t want to be hurting myself and adding to the growing pressure.

Freeskate – photo by Sam Cooper

If you are still skating what and where are you skating?

Luckily the area i live in has plenty of cycle paths which are long, smooth and winding, so it is perfect for Big Wheel Blading. There are few little obstacles along the way which are fun to jump off or hop over.

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

Things are pretty bad at the moment everywhere but we are allowed one daily exercise outside. So unless the government tells people they cannot go outside for exercise, then I would most likely stop skating. It would be a tough decision though and hard not to give into the temptation, However this isn’t about me, we are all in this together, so I would want to do my bit to help and not be selfish!

What other activities are you doing to occupy your time?

I have been studying editing techniques on YouTube, doing home workouts, working from home and dog walks. Recently I made a to-do list of things I’ve been meaning to do around the house for years, like decorating etc. Just trying to keep my mind busy and my body active, taking it day by day!

How has COVID-19 affected your normal everyday life?

It has and it hasn’t. A lot of our freedom has been taken away so that has reduced me being able to just go out and do something or seeing people. At the same time I am lucky I can still do my job from home, see my girlfriend and keep in touch with my family and friends! It’s nice to have to think differently about your day-to-day activities and make use of what we have at home, which can be boring at times but also turn out to be fun and different! Makes you appreciate the little things more.

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

My major concern is for my parents and relatives if they were to get COVID-19 . It seems like the world is reacting well to the spread of it and everyone is taking it more seriously and staying at home. I just hope we are not in isolation over the summer months as that would heavily suck!

How is the skate community in Gloucester responding?

Gloucester does not have a huge blade scene but before we went on a more strict lockdown, I was able to meet up with Sam Cooper a couple times to get some shots done but now it is jut me on my blades. I do know a few good friends in the neighboring town who have been out most days on their blades either alone or just two people at a time. I have noticed on message boards and Facebook that more people are jumping into the Big Wheel Blading scene, as it’s a great form of exercise during these times. It seems as though most people are respecting the government rules and not doing anything too dangerous or stupid on their skates which is good.

Do you have anything you’d like to add?

Stay positive, get creative, socially distance yourself, wash your hands and get those blades on and go for a rec skate around your block and spread some joy to the onlookers who are probably wishing they had a pair.

All photography by Sam Cooper.


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