There were a ton of people, and a ton of really cool electric skateboards. Many were brands like Hoyt, Evolve, and Lacroix, many were popular lower cost boards, and several were awesome DIY builds. There were even a few high powered scooters and ebikes and some modified electric unicycles. The vibe was super chill, and everyone was excited to meet everyone else and talk about their boards or whatever they were riding. I was no exception, and many were curious about the Defiant: One I was riding. “Man that build looks clean, and I love all the raw metal” was among the many positive things I heard. I gave everyone that wanted an opportunity to stand on the board and even briefly ride around the area. Everyone loved the flex and throttle response, and I answered a lot of questions about the battery and drive system, along with the other components. I also got to try other people’s boards they built themselves. It was really interesting to try all the different setups and see how other people tune their rides.
Just before the first ride, Chris, the host and organizer of the event, announced the giveaway. A whole lot of cool swag was on deck, and when the raffle numbers were called a lot of excited people won things like hats, Shredlights, green 100mm Boa Constrictors, and even Defiant t-shirts. I brought a lot of shirts, and we gave all of them away. This first ride was named for Defiant after all, so why not load these people up with our wearables? It didn’t take long to hand out the whole pile of goods, and soon after we were off on the first ride.
We took off from Union Station and proceeded to properly mob a large portion of the DC area. I’m not that familiar with the area myself, and I wasn't sure where I was most of the time. I was just along for the ride, and it was a hell of a ride. It is very rare that I get to ride in a group this large. I was not disappointed. The way we just flowed through intersections and around cars was invigorating. So many of the attendees were veteran riders and knew their boards well enough to keep the pace pretty fast. We would stop along the way at certain points to regroup and then set off again. The whole time some of the more experienced riders from the area would pause at intersections to block traffic for us so we could keep moving. Overall it was very well organized and a total blast to be a part of.
Being on thane was definitely not a problem on this ride. The streets, for the most part, were super smooth. But even the cheese grater streets and cobblestone we occasionally rode across were tolerable thanks to the Defiant: One’s soft wheels and flexy deck absorbing a lot of the vibrations.
Too soon we were back at Union Station, and the next ride was in about an hour, so myself and a couple of other eskaters went into the building to grab a bite. We found a Sbarro’s and set up camp. We spent most of the hour nomming noms and talking boards and board related drama from the esk8.news forum, and then it was time to gather again.
There was another raffle, and even more stuff to give away. More people won cool prizes, and I was only one number off from winning another brand’s t-shirt which I totally would have added to my growing collection. It’s probably a good thing because I'm only allowed to have one drawer of t-shirts because apparently I have an addiction. At this point another shirt would have to go, and I’m not ready to part with any of them.
The next ride soon rolled out and this time we toured another section of the DC area. Again, I was not familiar with the route at all but it was still an experience I won't soon forget. The mob was blasting through and around traffic once again with traffic honking at us and waving, some of us honking back and shouting in excitement, people on ebikes doing perpetual wheelies and bluetooth speakers blasting all manner of clashing high energy genres at high volume. Make no mistake, this was a proper esk8 rager rolling through capitol town and I was loving every second of it.
Far too soon for my party spirit but probably just in time for my body, which was telling me horizontal time needed to happen and may happen without my consent at any moment, we were back at the station and saying goodbyes until the next day. A lot of people were excited to get to try the Defiant: One on the test track in the morning, and I was really looking forward to hearing their thoughts afterward. With a general sense of excitement mixed with an ever-looming delirium, I skated back to the car and mapped my way to the hotel where I crashed immediately into the stack of pillows on the bed and didn’t move for eleven hours.
The next morning I woke up amped about the demo day under the overpass. I plugged in all three boards I brought with me to top off the batteries and quickly grabbed a bite and a shower, then packed up to head out to the meetup.
It wasn’t far from the hotel, so it didn’t take long to get there. Fortunately I’m not afraid of parallel parking literally in a bush, so I managed to get a decently close spot while other cars drove around for a bit then gave up and parked elsewhere.
I skated around the area for a minute and eventually found Chris and some others. People were just starting to trickle in, and the track was still being set up. Gradually a crowd grew and the track was finished and being broomed off. While that was happening everyone was talking about the previous day’s ride, each other’s builds, whatever news they heard about new parts coming out, and all the other usual things. Once again people were asking to stand on and try the demo boards I brought, and I was all too happy to oblige them.
Several people got to try the Defiant: One on the demo track and had a blast doing it. At one point all three boards were on the track plus Taj on his board doing his sweet longboard dance moves. The feedback was very positive and a lot of people were impressed with the board’s ability to carve so well despite its length. Once everyone had a taste of my builds, I got a taste of some of theirs. I got to ride a fully custom 15S build someone had finished the day before (if i recall correctly) which was both awesome and scary. I also got to try a Hoyt build on the smaller pneumatics and weirdly enough it reminded me of my Witchblade GTD build. I tried a few other boards too, and even a scooter. I had fun on all of them and just really enjoyed the vibe everyone was giving off.
As the day wore on I was able to enjoy myself on the track more with our own boards once everyone else had a chance to try it. Carving around on that smooth pavement on sticky thane is always the best feeling. I had the trucks set at a 50/50 split and kept them a little loose, so the turns were effortless. I was really able to appreciate the way the deck flexes when you lean into the turns. It was perfect for the tight carvy track they laid out.
Amidst all of this, another raffle happened and this time Defiant had a hoodie and a full Shredlights kit to give away. In addition to that, yet another bin of other vendor’s swag showed up, including a brand new board. It was awesome to see so many people get cool stuff to take home. This time I was one number away from winning the board, which I again would have added to my growing collection. I also have a problem with collecting boards apparently, but nobody’s going to limit me to a drawer on that.
But once again the evening came too quickly and people started heading out one by one. I stayed as long as I could, closing out the event and helping to clean up trash and pick up cones. Then it was time for me to pack up the boards and head back to the hotel. I ordered a burger and some beers at the hotel restaurant then called it a night. The next morning I packed up and left early, spending the whole day driving back home. During the drive I just kept thinking about how awesome the rides were, the way we just owned the city for a day. There really is no feeling like that. The energy of the crowd, the feeling of riding your favorite board with other people, and the adventure of doing it somewhere you haven’t been since you were a kid with your parents all left me with a great feeling. It was totally worth the drive.