And, just like that, I have a 5-year old daughter! Lately, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the past 5 years and this birthday is hard to accept. This birthday means the kindergarten milestone is just around the corner in August and it’ll be her first birthday I can’t share with my mom. My baby is really growing up and it’s hard to put into words what this birthday means other than I’m just so proud of the smart, independent, fun, and crazy lego-building-tutu-wearing-acrobatic girl she has become.
Speaking of acrobatics, Ashley has fallen in love with bike riding. We went the balance bike to two-wheel bike route and it really worked for her. She was highly motivated to keep up with the bigger girls on our street and loves to ride in the nearby culdesac. With intentions of taking her on the greenway soon, we’ve been exploring different parks in the area to get her more comfortable with riding (and most importantly, braking)! Here are our top 5 favorite local parks for bike riding:
- Isabella Cannon Park (central Raleigh, ITB) – has a great 1/4 mile loop with nearby playground for younger ones to enjoy; I feel safe letting her ride by herself on the loop because I’m close enough to run to her on foot if she falls while also keeping an eye on Claire at the playground
- Anderson Point Park (east Raleigh) – has a mix of flat and gentle hills in a 2/3 mile paved loop; great biking spot to teach them about being alert and staying on the right side of the trail because there is steady bike/foot traffic; provides a great family bike ride option where you can pull younger children in the bike trailer and/or connect to the nearby Neuse River and Crabtree Creek greenways
- E. Carroll Joyner Park (Wake Forest) – fun advanced spot for little bike riders! This park has lots of gentle rolling hills and open trails offering clear views of the traffic ahead. With nearly three miles of paved trails, there are different loops of varying distances and scenery to practice riding and enjoy. The trail that follows the perimeter of the park crosses the main entrance road into the park, allowing for good practice at stop signs. Pack a picnic lunch and kite and enjoy the park all day.
- Brier Creek Park (northwest Raleigh) – has two connected flat paved loops (1/3 mile total) surrounding open fields and toddler playground area; kids have easy views of the traffic in front of them, but paths are narrow; bathrooms are nearby for pit stops
- Walnut Street Park (Cary) – has a twisty 0.4 mile paved trail that loops through wetlands, sparse forest, open fields, and two playground areas; with the high popularity of this park, this could be a good place to practice bike safety skills