Detroit Blading Company

In-line Skate School,LLc


City Beat (July 26, 2006)

By Kim Laux 

photo by Stephanie Schneider Jul 26, 2006

City Blades: 

Since Walter Johnson first tried on a pair of inline skates ten years ago, he rarely takes them off. “I was at a restaurant downtown when a group of skaters (City Rollers inline skate club) came in with their skates on!” Johnson said. “I was so impressed that I asked where

they met. After taking a lesson on stopping and turning, I was off.

Inline with Walter

In 1996, a computer specialist for the IRS became a certified skating instructor and one year later opened a skating school, Detroit Blading Company. Johnson and his team of certified instructors offer affordable lessons to beginning through advanced skaters of all ages. He teaches privately, but especially enjoys working with churches, community groups and youth organizations. The company is committed to safe instruction and provides skates and protective equipment at no additional cost.

Aside from his desire to get the world on skates, Johnson enjoys the competition and exhilaration of inline marathons. He has placed in the annual 38-mile Athens to Atlanta race in Georgia and won the men’s 60-64-year-olds division of the 2004 North Shore Marathon in Duluth, Minn. He was unable to attend the race in 2005, but despite a double knee replacement earlier this spring he will compete in Duluth again in September. “I was off my skates for two months,” Johnson said. “Now, I’m averaging 25-30 miles a day — training to defend my win.”

Johnson formed the Motor City Blade Runners to help his students take their practice to the streets and make training more enjoyable. The group meets Monday-Friday at 6 p.m. in front of Bert’s Marketplace, 2727 Russell, in Eastern Market. The group skates through downtown, with occasional stops for adult beverages.

Carolyn Hall met Johnson at the IRS where they both worked. Although not a fan of exercise, she was interested in the group and decided to take a lesson from Johnson. Since then, Hall has dropped from a size 14 to a 2; completed her skater instructor certification; and skated the Athens to Atlanta race. “Getting fit and having fun doing it!" Hall said. "What a combination.”

In June, Johnson and Hall taught a Detroit Camp Rollerblade, a weekend introductory course offered through Zephyr Adventures in conjunction with Rollerblade. The camp was held on Belle Isle and attracted participants from as far as Midland and Columbus, Ohio. “We are lucky to have Walter as our Camp Rollerblade Coordinator in Detroit,” Allan Wright, owner of Zephyr Adventures and Camp Rollerblade, said. “Not only does he have years of teaching experience, but he is also committed to bringing the sport of inline skating to as many people in the Detroit area as possible.”

Stephanie Pathe, an electrical engineer from Germany who works for DaimlerChrysler in Troy, registered for the camp to build confidence and learn proper technique. “Places like Metro Beach Metro Park and Stony Creek Metro Park are great for inline skating,” Pathe said. “I admire the skaters who flow along the paths and would like to be able to do this too. And it is easier to put inline skates in the car compared to a bike.”

According to the Inline Skating Resource Center, blading can burn as many calories as biking or running with half the impact. And, as Johnson often says, “It’s the most fun you can have standing up.” 

Info: 313.378.3880.


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