We had the chance to touch base with Jan Eric Welch to talk about his latest venture, BigWheelBlading.com
BU: So Jan, tell us a little about this new project of yours, bigwheelblading.com.
JW: bigwheelblading.com is a website that will feature content from all different disciplines of big wheel blading from "big wheel aggressive", freeskating, slalom, speed, downhilling to off-road skating. It will feature interviews with people from each disciplines, as well as product reviews, travel stories, editorials, store reviews, resources, health and wellness. Obviously i come from aggressive skating so I've involved alot of people from that side of the sport who are currently skating big wheels as well, but I am learning about every aspect of the sport.
BU: This may be the perfect time for a site like this to come along as aggressive rollerbladers seem more willing than ever to embrace different forms of skating. Can you tell us a little about what got you interested in big wheels?
JW: Well I've been skating since before aggressive skating was even around, and back then I had my 80mm setup and would skate around the city on Tuesday Night Skates. I remember having so much fun cruising, bombing hills and skating distance with a group. Then aggressive came along and the fun of skating around was lost with the smaller wheels. For years we would just drive from spot to spot, skate and drive home. Now that I've gotten older, skating hurts alot more when I fall. I was also getting out of shape, not excercising much and eating poorly. I decided I wanted to start skating distance to get back in shape. It took me about sixth months to actually get into the groove of going out and skating, but starting in November I was skating about 300 miles a month. I became addicted to skating distance and getting healthier and lost 55 pounds in the past seven months from skating so much and living healthier. I also started organized group skates in the city. We do a Monday night that is based on distance and a Friday night that is a social skated that includes quads, the second one just happened at had 72 people there.
BU: Wow, congratulations on the weight loss. That's a big accomplishment. So with all the skating you're doing now should we expect some homegrown Jan Welch Big Wheel Blading videos in the future?
JW: This project has consumed so much time already from my life that I haven't had a chance to finish my aggressive blade video which I will focus on next. There will be big wheel blading edits. I plan on making one from the Colorado Road Trip. I'm bringing powerslide 125mm and 150mm SUV off-road setups with me, to let people use. Plan on doing some off-roading, possibly down ski mountains. But most content will be contributed, because there is only so much I can do on a big project that I'm not making any money on and doing for fun. I'd like to travel most of next year around the world and create a big wheel video as well as a coffee table book at the end of each year.
BU: That sounds great. Do you have any specific places in mind and people you'd like to film?
JW: I'd like to hit all the cities that have Weekly night skates with a 1000+ people. Most of those are in Europe, South America and Asia. I'd also like to check out some of the downhilling in Spain, Switzerland and Italy. Skaters really depend on what cities I go to, but Barcelona always has the most amount of top skaters living in one place. Not all the cities, but several of the cities ... all is not possible.
BU: haha yeah, alright back to the website. In the months you've been developing bigwheelblading.com have you come across any disciplines you think are particularly under represented?
JW: Well off-road blading is pretty new, but the guys doing it are pumping out content. Every other discipline except aggressive has a governing body or associations organizing events and competitions. Speed skating and Slalom skating are huge throughout the world. I had no idea how tiny the aggressive element actually is in the world of rollerblading. Being an aggressive skater we feel like we are rollerblading, but we aren't. There are so many big and cool things going on around the world.
BU: Alright, so before we let you go, if people would like to get involved what can they do to help out?
JW: [I'm] Looking for people to contribute photos, videos, stories about skate scenes, City skates, distance skates, travels, interviews and anything related to big wheel blading
You can contact me at
BU: Welch thanks for taking the time to chat with us about the new site, best of luck with the launch.