Learning to Skate Has Never Been Easier
Updated: Dec 17, 2018
Walk into Drive Sport and you’re bound to see Jen Goldstein skating around her shop, smiling and making conversation with new customers and the regular who hang at the Art Museum Area bike and skate shop in their spare time.
“I try to do most things on skates,” she says. “I do it all year round. If there is snow on the ground, I’ll go to the skating rink.”
Skating began as a necessity for Goldstein, eventually becoming a hobby, and then a passion.
“I started to skate because SEPTA threatened to strike when I was attending (University of Pennsylvania’s) Wharton School of Business during the late 1980s,” she recalled. “So I got skates because I knew I could skate as a kind and I thought that it would be easier than riding a bike.”
So after purchasing her first pair of skates in 1989, the Penn student taught herself how to skate on her way to class.
As time passed and Goldstein became a good skater, the business-minded side of the Wharton grad had an idea.
“I was scared not knowing what I was doing at first, but once I learned to skate, I realized that everybody in the world could learn to do it,” she said.
After graduating from Wharton in 1990, Goldstein began teaching skating techniques in a small space in a Center City gym. Five years later, she opened a skate shop and skating school on South Street.
Then, five years ago, Goldstein and her crew, including friend and store manager Steve Bell, made the move to the Art Museum area for a larger venture- the opening of a full-service bike and skate shop at 26th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
For 20years before Goldstein’s move into the Pennsylvania Avenue shop, the building was an empty, vacant gem across from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Fairmount Park and Kelly Drive, just waiting for the right person to come along.
The location was perfect for the type of store the entrepreneur wanted to open.
Kelly Drive and Fairmount Park are famous for being prime locations for biking, skating and running.
“I just thought that it was the perfect location,” Goldstein said. “We can accommodate everybody that’s out there skating, riding and rolling.”
Goldstein also believes that the shop opened at the perfect time.
“I believe that Philadelphia will continue to be progressive and have a lot of alternative transportation because it’s such a perfectly laid-out city for that,” she said.
With a staff of nine people who each specialize in some facet of “dry sports,” there is not a question or problem that the store cannot handle. Bell leads the charge of the store’s role as an advocate of biking, skating and running in Philadelphia.
“He does everything,” Goldstein said. “He does all kinds of cycling and every type of skating.”
Goldstein also operates a skate school located in the same building as her shop. It’s where she gets to take part in her favourite aspect in skating: teaching.
Goldstein offers both private and group skate lessons. Free skate rental and protective gear come with each lesson.
In fact, Goldstein has recently released the first in a series of compact discs of instructional skating raps songs. In the first, Boogie Back Rap, Goldstein teaches the listener, through her lyrics, how to skate backward.
“After teaching for so long, I realized that we make the same mistakes and there aerre secrets that once you know them, you can do anything,” she said.
Future releases will include a song on the proper way to stop on skates, and another on the laws of running, balance, direction, speed and the physics of the sport.
Skating rinks across the country have picked up on the Boogie Back Rap, New York’s Village Voice included the release on a music columnist’s dozen list of favorite singles, and the tune also has gotten some radio airplay.
“One of the great things is that anybody can get out there,” she said. “even if they are pushing a baby jogger (a carriage that enables parents to jog while out with their baby), running or just walking. My whole thing is getting people started, getting them into something that they could possibly love.”
The store carries a large selection of biking and running shoes, as well as a diverse number of skates and rollerblades that rivals any selection in the city.
Mountain bikes, recreational bikes, kids bikes and specialty bikes, such as the tricycle or the recumbent bicycle, line the walls of the store.
The store also carries a large line of clothing, both for biking, running and skating purposes, as well as casual wear.
The store offers bicycle and skate rentals and a repair shop.
Drive Sports is open 11a.m to 7p.m on Monday and Wednesday through Friday (the shop is closed Tuesdays), 10a.m to 5p.m on Saturday, and noon to 4 on Sunday.