We are pretty spoiled when it comes to weather in California but Spring here is just magic. Cool breeze, bright beaming sunlight, and a whole lot of greenery (Thank you, El Niño). We’ve recently located a trail, great for families, on our way back from a hike in the San Bernardino National Forest region. We were trotting on home when we all glanced out of the window and saw one of those great breezes that moves the grass in unison. We knew we had to stop. Allen spun around and turned right into Caspers Wilderness Park.

We typically hike and play in the wild, where things are a little less predictable but when we needed some place for Scout to ride endlessly – we thought back to Caspers and decided that it would be the perfect place to take our toddler to ride around. This place is close enough for a midday hang out. We decided to picnic and packed a few goodies (fruit, water, mac & cheese, and wipes), Allen placed Scout’s bike in our trunk and the other two bikes on our new hitch and away we went.

There are many campsites with picnic tables, a pit for food, trash bins, everything perfectly polished – I really have to give it to California state parks, spotless! We chose a spot towards the end, near a cute little red windmill and under a big, droopy tree.

Our visit to Caspers was a special one. We rode, we laughed, we ate sandwiches… and we got bold. As parents, we don’t shy away from fear. As with most things in life, it’s a lot scarier in our heads than the reality we live in. We decided that it was a good idea for her to push herself to ride up a hill and stroll down. We took precaution and inspected the hill as low angled. So, we tugged her along to push her through her own fears up the big bad hill.

She shouted these exact words on her way up:

“Mommy, I’m scared,” “It’s too hard,” “My legs aren’t strong enough,” “I don’t want to go to the playground,”

Needless to say, we made it over the hill. I was right behind her and could tell she was nervous the entire way up. 

And through all of the doubt, she made it on top. But at the top of every hill, lies a downward, faster, scarier way down. Something in me urged her ride alone and downhill she went. She rode fast and before I could catch up, she was speeding down the driveway towards the bushes. I was so nervous and within seconds, she had already rolled off her bike onto the floor. Thankfully saved by her helmet. And with a couple of scratches and a few tears, we decided to pull over to the other side of the road to take a break. We were both so nervous and the sun was glaring. After about 5 minutes, Scout stopped crying and looked at me and apologized.

“Mommy, I’m sorry I fell.”

My heart dropped. Here’s a three-year-old, apologizing to me for falling off of her bike.  I just held her then we both laughed. She described what happened, how it happened and under just 20 minutes, we forgot it even happened.

“Mommy, I’m brave.”

Oh, yes you are!

Before you hit the road. Always think safety first. Here are 9 Rules of the Road to keep in mind before heading out with your toddler. 1. Always wear an approved bicycle helmet. 2.Obey all applicable traffic regulations, signs, signal, markings, and local ordinances pertaining to bicycles. 3. Watch out for pedestrians, other bikes, open car doors or cars pulling into traffic. 4. Keep right and drive with the traffic in single file. 5. Avoid road surface hazards like drain gates, soft shoulders or rough pavements. 6. Do not carry passengers or packages that interfere with your vision or control. Only carry passengers in an approved child carrier or trailer that is secured to your bike following all of the manufacturer’s instructions. 7. Be extremely careful at intersections, especially when making a left turn. Be sure to use hand signals to indicate turning or stopping. 8. Slow down at blind corners, steep hills, after dark and in wet weather. Dry rims off after going through water by breaking slightly. 9. When riding at night, be visible. Keep reflectors clean, wear bright clothes, and always use head and tail lights.

Rules by Schwinn