The advent of these bright, mild days of April means only one thing to
the Ventura resident whose soul burns for adventure — the
rollerblading season has begun.
There is nothing quite like strapping on the blades and gliding out of
the carport onto the smooth gutter that runs down the middle of
Weymouth Lane, turning left on Pierpont and navigating its bikepath to
the end of the avenue, where it runs into the entrance of the San
Buenaventura State Beach.
A wide bike path there, divided by a row of tall palms, runs behind the
dunes, which offer only brief glimpses of the ocean to the rolling
traveler — but already the waves sound clearer and the wind comes off
the ocean unmitigated by the houses of the lanes.
Up past the lifeguard headquarters the dunes fall away and you are
travelling in view of the surf, across a wide flat expanse of beach,
staked out with volleyball net posts, unstrung as yet.
Then under the Ventura Pier and along the beachfront esplanade, as far,
if you want, as Surfer’s Point, the legendary surfing spot that starts
at the end of California Street, or just “C” Street, as the surfers
used to call it.
It’s pleasant to pause for a while then, take off the blades and climb
the stairs to the pier, for a little refreshment at Eric Ericsson’s
restaurant on the pier.
You can sit at one of the tables out front, braving the chill that
still comes in on the wind at this time of year, and have an iced latte
and a plate of fresh, steamed Santa Barbara mussels, prepared with an
astonishing amount of garlic, and chopped tomatoes and basil.
Behind the pier you can see the cars whizzing along the 101, and on the
ridge behind that an Amtrak train will likely roll by. In front of you
is the reliable incantation of the waves, the sun hitting hard on the
deep terraces of sets at the point. Beyond these, depending on the
light and the mist, is the shocking closeness, or mysterious distance,
or utter invisibility of the Channel Islands.
All this whets the appetite, not just for the mussels, which turn out to be delicious, but also for the dreamlike gliding home.
The view from the back of a horse is one of antique magnificence, in
which honorable deeds seem inevitable and glory within mortal grasp.
The view from rollerblades is not quite so lofty, of course — but
still, how one towers over the ungainly tread of the joggers, with
their slightly embarrassed smiles distorted by anguish and despair.
You realize the truth of the maxim that all exercise which feels like
exercise diminishes the soul to the exact degree that it improves the
On rollerblades your feet are winged, your spirit flies out ahead of you, and it’s all you can do to keep up.