Prague is a city usually known for its beautiful architecture, fine cuisine and significant cultural institutions. But recently, Prague has become host to a completely unique skateboarding experience.
“THIS REALLY TAKES HOPPING FENCES AND SKATING POOLS TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL…”
For the past seven years, Prague has been building a bypass. However, unlike most city bypasses, it does not go around the city but goes underneath it.
The ‘Tunel Blanka’ as it has been named is a 6.4km motorway tunnel under the whole city and the River Vltava which runs through it. This makes it the longest road in Prague and the longest city tunnel in Europe.
And did I forget to mention, it’s all downhill…
Even though construction of the tunnel has been going on since 2007 the tunnel is still not open to the public. However, one group of people have found another use for the bypass while it is still closed.
And it is this group of people who I happened to meet the last time I was in Prague.
After arranging a fairly sketchy midnight rendezvous at a tram station, myself and a few others made our way to the edge of the city, carrying our boards.
On the way we were told of the details and dangers of the ride: a non-stop, top-to-bottom thrill ride, at a million miles an hour under one of Europe’s biggest cities – on a skateboard.
But it hasn’t all been fun and games. Breaking into a closed motorway tunnel is in fact illegal. Over the past few weeks, a number of skaters had been arrested attempting to skate the ‘Blanka.’
The reason for their arrest being they were too slow and by the time they got to the exit, the cops were waiting. This worried me, I was not going to be too slow…
“Ten big pushes into a speed tuck. Then pray you don’t get speed wobbles…” When you get to the end of the tram line, it’s only a short push down the side of a particularly busy motorway until you get to the entrance of the tunnel.
The entrance is not wide open, there are a couple of 9ft fences to scale before you are into the ride. The process really takes hopping fences and skating pools to a whole new level.
And then you’re in, ten big pushes into a speed tuck, with only your balance and prayers to stop you getting speed wobbles.
‘Tunel Blanka’ is smooth asphalt for the full 6.4km and is a completely lit, deserted two-lane motorway, so there’s plenty of room for big carving turns the whole way down.
The tunnel opens for cars on 3 December, so unfortunately the ride will end soon. But until then Prague is home to the world’s first private skateboarding highway.