I've been making an effort to take Ryder bike riding recently; only I've been running into some problems. First of all, he just recently learned how to ride on two wheels so he's not the most stable guy in the peloton. Since he doesn't ride in a straight line very well, I'm limited to where I can take him. The streets and sidewalks are not good yet because he's liable to veer off into traffic. And the parks in Redlands are less than desirable for kids to ride bikes in.
At Caroline Park you need a mountain bike with a granny gear to get from the bottom of the park to the top, or a 5-inch travel mountain bike to get from the top of the park to the bottom. It's less of a park and more of a wildlife preserve for people to walk their dogs and for local kids to go smoke a fatty. Only the sprinklers go on at the most odd times of the day so you're bound to leave there accompanied by the stench of a wet dog or with an extinguished and soggy spliff.
Ford Park won't work either because it mainly consists of an over-watered grassy hillside that runs down into the rest of the park and creates the Florida Everglades. And you all know how I feel about Florida. Plus, the entire park only has about 10 feet of sidewalk. I guess if I wanted Ryder to practice bicycle drag racing, then 10 feet of sidewalk would work out, but drag racing is for Nancy Boys.
Another problem with Ford Park is the Frisbee golfers or frolfers (which I've already covered on this blog in the fall of 2009). I can't decide whether I have less tolerance for frolfers or politicians. The irony is these two classes of people could not be more different. They're from complete different ends of the douche bag spectrum. It's been my experience that frolfers will play through on any kind of activity. A kid's birthday party - they play through. A couple of people lying on a blanket dry humping - they play through. A yoga class - they play through. I once saw them try to play thru on a dog training class, but that didn't work out so well. Anyway, frolfers are so out of touch with reality, I can just imagine them trying to play through on the mayor's ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening of another 10 feet of sidewalk, but I of course won't get to see that confrontation because I'm boycotting Ford Park.
From the street, Prospect Park looks like a good option for taking a kid bike riding, but once you get into the park, the buck stops there. On any given day you have to dodge the high school cross country team, the drama club pipe dreamers, any number of cranky blue hairs who think bikes and walkers can't coexist (and when I say walkers, I mean this kind of walker), and the weirdos who lurk and hang out in the bamboo (actually, they're probably the same as the drama clubbers, but it's hard to tell these days). And then there's the wine, cheese, and blanket picnickers and the never ending maze of park bench memorials. If wanted to take my kid riding in such a freak-filled place, we'd just go riding down State Street during Market Night.
About the only park I'm left with is Brookside Park, but as soon as Ryder spots the playground, he's dropping his bike and making a B-line for the swings.
My options are so bad that I'm considering looking at parks on the north side.