This past weekend, our family did something totally new for us. We participated in the 12th annual Los Angeles River Ride presented by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. I have become increasingly interested in the Los Angeles River. It used to be that I associated the term “Los Angeles River” with an image of a practically empty river bed with wide concrete banks. You often see that image in movies that take place in Los Angeles. Lately, though, I’ve learned more about its history and followed attempts to revitalize and restore interest in it. What better way to gain a better appreciation of the LA River than to do a bike ride along part of it!
Unfortunately, I didn’t actually get a chance to ride along it. While Sonny and Daddy participated in the 15-Mile Family Ride, I stayed back at the start with Doobie who was too young to ride it. Kids had to be 7 years old in order to participate in the family ride. The Family Ride started at the Autry National Center in Griffith Park, crossed the freeway and then continued south on a bike path along the LA River until they arrived in the Elysian Park area (near Dodger Stadium) where they turned around after some refreshments.
For the 6 year olds and under, there was a special course in a parking lot at the Autry Center. Here they practiced their riding techniques. Parents were not allowed on the course. It was perfect for Doobie. He had to do a series of tight turns around cones, stop at a designated spot, start again, ride along a narrow path and turn along this narrow path, stop and start again, and then ride a figure eight. It was all about having control and riding safely, just the right challenge for him, and he eagerly did it several times.
Afterwards he enjoyed oranges and water at the snack booth and got serious about washing his bike. Whoever thought of putting some buckets of water, spray bottles, rags, and sponges (and chairs for parents) under a tent was brilliant. Doobie was occupied for quite a while, which was good since Sonny and Daddy were still out on their ride.
About an hour and a half after the start of their ride, Sonny and Daddy returned. It had been a pleasant ride with a pit stop at the turnaround point. Sonny had apparently devoured three Rice Krispy treats. He was very proud to be the first kid to arrive back at the start. All three of them received medals, t-shirts, and goodie bags. Sonny wasn’t quite sure he wants to do it again (he was tired, hot, and said his back hurt), but I know I want to. Maybe in two years we’ll participate again, and then it can really be a family ride.