|By Ian Stewart
At Justin Herman Plaza,
techno music blares into the night as a call to arms. In answer, in-line skaters begin to
gather by the dozens. Two 6-foot men, towering with their skates on, perform a dance
routine from Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. A 6-yearold zigs among stunned
tourists like Elroy Jetson in a jet pack.
Welcome to Friday Night Skate, a get-together of aficionados who take to San
Francisco's streets every week to test their skills, see old friends, get a good workout,
and just generally celebrate the joys of in-line skating.
After some encouraging words and safety tips from organizer David Miles, the
entourage,now 400 people strong, departs for a 12-mile ride through the city, during which
its famous areas glide past like a surreal living travelogue: Fisherman's Wharf; the
Dolphin Club near the Maritime Museum; the Marina Green; and the Palace of Fine Arts,
where 100 or so skaters play a loud, boisterous game of crack the whip.
After nibbling snacks and taking a break in Cow Hollow, the skaters cruise along Polk
Street, experience a roaring ride through two tunnels, and take another rest stop at Union
Square, before heading back to Justin Herman Plaza (via South of Market). It's a little
weird, a little crazed, but as a tour of the city, it sure beats riding those goofy cable
cars on wheels.