Late night skaters explore CU
February 11, 2021
It’s not unusual to see students biking or skateboarding across campus on the walk to class. What may strike some as out of the ordinary, however, is seeing students skating across campus shirtless at 1 a.m.
Inline Insomniacs is an RSO that that meets on the Main Quad at midnight once a week to skate different paths around the Champaign-Urbana area. The club is open to bikes, skateboards, roller skates and pretty much anything else with wheels. Every skate, around 1 a.m., members go around asking what time it is and reply with, “It’s shirtless O’clock!” and if members are comfortable, they rip off their shirts and skate around town.
Not only is the club a way to have some fun and meet new people, but it is also a way to relieve some stress for many of them.
For Christina Simley, president of Inline Insomniacs and junior in Engineering, it’s a way to take a break from her homework.
“Being an engineer, my nights are pretty much full of homework and this is something that I don’t really have to plan my homework around because we meet at midnight and it doesn’t really intrude on my schedule,” Simley said. “It’s a great way to get your mind off things and talk to people.”
No prior skills are required to join the club. Simley said that when she first joined three years ago, she had no knowledge of how to roller skate. She said the club is a great place to start because everyone is super welcoming and willing to teach you. Apart from the midnight to 2 a.m. skates, they specifically created hour-long 11 p.m. skates to help beginners get acquainted. It also is a great way to get in shape.
“Being out and exercising really helps get your mind off things, and I find it helps puts things in perspective,” Simley said.
Hanna Fei, sophomore in LAS, participated in night skating in her hometown the summer before college and knew she wanted to continue after she left.
She was hoping to find an RSO at the University that was similar, and she said that Inline Insomniacs was the perfect group for her.
Fei’s favorite part of the night is when they skate through parks.
“Everything is just quiet and peaceful. You can just skate through the park and look at the stars and it’s really beautiful,” Fei said.
The skates vary from short to long, depending on the night. They take breaks often so people can socialize or rest up. Being that they go out so late, one of the perks is that there aren’t many cars on the road. They are able to take up more space, while still being safe and alert.
Luke Markuson, Treasurer and sophomore in Engineering, said that this is one of his favorite parts of the club.
“You get to fly down the road, usually shirtless, because it’s one o’clock, and I thought to myself, ‘Oh, is this what college is?’” Markuson said.
Their most popular skate is the Halloween skate. In costume, they skate around the C-U area going from apartment to apartment.
“We usually get really positive feedback, like if we are on Green Street, we will always have people cheering at us or trying to join us,” Simley said.
There are usually a few people who are weirded out or shocked when they see the group of skaters out so late at night.
Simley said that they are thankful they are still able to continue the club in the pandemic with a lot of modifications to their normal skates. They make sure to follow all of the COVID-19 guidelines, and they said that they take it very seriously so that they can continue to skate.
The club also serves as a place to socialize and meet new people. They host social events and meet with other skating groups around the Champaign-Urbana area.
“Everyone in the club is super nice and down to hang out so if you’re not that experienced with skating, that’s totally fine,” Fei said. “People are really encouraging.”
The group usually has around five to 15 people per skate, but they have around 60 members.
“You have a lot of freedom,” Markuson said. “No one’s on the road because it’s midnight, and you can choose wherever you want to go. It’s exciting to see the rest of Champaign-Urbana at night, it’s like a different perspective.”