June 28, 2022
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Times have changed, but the desire for summer adventure remains

By on June 11, 2022 0

In the 70s and 80s, there were no pump tracks in San Antonio.

However, we had wheels. Some had bikes, some had skateboards, and some of us had skates. We all had stuff. More importantly, we had the imagination to build a new neighborhood hierarchy every summer.

There were pieces of plywood leaning against big bags of potting soil. There were ditches to cross and rows of Tonka trucks to cross. There were big rocks and tree stumps to navigate, curbs to slide over, leveled channels to conquer. And, of course, it was hot. But, it didn’t matter because we were out there doing what we wanted to do.

There were the street daredevils, the kids who jumped over the biggest boulders, ran cars off the sidewalk, and could do wheelies on command without fear. There were the challengers from the other block, those who pinned a humiliating defeat on the daredevil, although some challengers also went home crying. There was the kid who knew how to fix bikes and the kid with the inflated bike, the one with pegs. There were beginners, small children with big wheels or training wheels. And there were the girls who choreographed cheers on skates while others searched for their favorites from the sidelines as they sat on their yellow or lilac Daisy bikes with banana seats, ribbon handlebars and flower baskets. And everyone drank from the water pipe.

Things are different in 2022. It’s easier for kids to stay indoors in the air-conditioned living room all summer long, change channels or scroll online. As a result, neighboring children do not always know each other. Groups of bikes are less likely to congregate in someone’s driveway.

Then again, here in 2022 we have places like Pearsall Park at 4838 Old Pearsall Road.

The city has just implemented a new pump track – a path with dips and hills specially designed for BMX-style biking. There’s also a new bike park for little kids, with stop signs, crosswalks and street markings to provide plenty of food for active imaginations and a special surface to allow for soft landings. There are benches for waiting parents who aren’t ready for a bike ride. There are public tools and air pumps, water fountains and clean bathrooms. And it’s all just minutes from nature trails for those who prefer to navigate rather than pump.

Pearsall Park also has a nice splash pad and skate park, as well as an adventure course with American Ninja Warrior-style obstacles. There are courts, tables and paths. In other words, there’s plenty to do here, far from the air-conditioned classrooms where kids spend most of the year.

Time flies. But the kids haven’t really changed much.

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