A family bicycle ride is a terrific way to get outdoors and enjoy quality time together. To get started, go on a few short rides around the neighborhood. Then, when you are ready for something more adventurous without having to go very far, load up the bikes and explore the biking trails at a nearby park. Here in Greene County, we are fortunate to have an extensive network of safe, motor vehicle-free trails, developed over the past 20 years by Ozark Greenways for the public to enjoy.
One of my family’s favorites is the Galloway Creek Greenway in southeast Springfield. With our water bottles filled, snacks loaded, and Puppy—our five-year-old’s favorite stuffed animal—safe and sound in her handlebar basket, we pedal south from Sequiota Park on the paved trail, following Galloway Creek and winding through the woods. Our eight-year-old son takes great pride in leading the way and has learned the basic bicycling safety rules to ride on the right, pass on the left, and stop at all stop signs. He races ahead to stay in front of Papa, before stopping and telling me we need to wait for Mama and his little sister. When they catch up, we rest while hearing all about the dog they stopped to pet or the cool caterpillar they watched crawl across the trail. We spend the better part of the day meandering along and enjoying the time together. There is so much to see and do along the way: Stop for a picnic or enjoy lunch at a trailside restaurant, splash around in a creek, refuel with snacks and drinks at a convenience store, watch for all sorts of wildlife, feed the ducks, explore a cave, play on a playground.
Another favorite is the eight-mile long South Creek Greenway, that runs west through the middle of Springfield from the McDaniel Park Trailhead at National Avenue and Sunset Street. Everyone enjoys taking in the views from the bridge high above Kansas Expressway before coasting down the other side where we stop and use handfuls of grass to lure over horses grazing in a field. Other highlights include the beautiful gardens and unique playground equipment throughout Nathanael Greene Close Memorial Park, and hearing our echoes as we hoot and holler our way through tunnels crossing under the busier roadways.
For a full description and map of all the greenways in the greater Springfield area, visit Ozark Greenways’ website. On these family bike rides, your kids will have fun feeling more grown up, and you will have fun feeling more like a kid! Don’t forget to bring along your camera, and I guarantee a family ride on any of the Ozark Greenways will end with lasting memories for the entire family.