Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Olander Park; no trail here, but It's a ride down memory lane


  It's true; Olander Park is by no means a serious bike trail, and comparatively speaking, it's probably one of the smallest parks outside of neighborhood parks you'll ever find.

     However, this little park, while lacking size and amenities, holds more memories than any park I know.  Back when my children were small we lived an ear shot away from this park in Sylvania Ohio, and it was a true gift every day when I took my youngest daughter Lindsay on walks there while her two older siblings were at school.

     She was only a toddler, yet our bonding time was that of two best friends.  It started out that I would push her in her stroller as we looped the one mile stretch that surrounded the small lake.  When we started bringing bread for the ducks that was the end of our power walks and the beginning of Lindsay's independence.  

     I remember pointing out the squirrels and geese along with many other objects of nature and felt so proud when she finally learned to repeat them back.

     When the stroller walks became mundane and we needed something else to stimulate the interest of this tiny little girl, that's when we decided to continue our journey by bike.

     Lindsay loved riding tandem, and what a life it must have been to ride on the back of a bike while someone else did all the pedaling.

     It was a bitter sweet day when Lindsay started school and I was left to venture this park by myself.  I no longer needed to transport a child so that was when I transitioned to rollerblading.

     When I felt like I had out grown this tiny park is when I decided to start roller blading the University Parks Trail,  and for many years I believed I would be rollerblading there for the rest of my life.  Sadly, my days of rollerblading would eventually come to an end.  But that didn't stop me, I eventually replaced the rollerblades with the bike again and I was back on the University Parks trail once more.

    However, the other day I decided I needed to take another stroll down memory lane and reminisce about some of my most  cherished memories of this iconic Olander Park.

     My intention was to go about five one mile laps around the lake and simply be alone with my thoughts.  As I made it half way through my third lap I noticed three park staff members doing some weeding and I figured I would ask them to take a photo for my blog.  After a few minutes of idle chit chat, which we all knew was par for the course, I was on my way.


     I had only gone two and a half  miles but I began to wonder if five times around by myself would make me go stir crazy.  I already had my pictures so anymore riding would simply be gravy.

     As I was riding past one of the parking lots, a lady got out of her car and asked me if I knew of any good bike trails.   Boy did she open up a can of worms.  I went on and on about  all of my favorites and I asked her to go to my blog and she could see some pictures of them.

     I noticed she had her bike in the back of her car and asked her if she was coming or going.  She told me she was just going to do a few quick laps around the lake.  Of course I asked her if she wanted company and  that five laps turned into 13 by the time we finished telling each other our life stories.

     It turns out she grew up in the same part of town as I did, went to the same high school just two years before me, we're both breast cancer survivors, we both ride a bike much better and further than we walk because we both have one pesky foot, and  if that isn't enough irony for you, the two of us share the same first name.

     It's good to find some one else who shares my passion in cycling and the only challenge is that she actually lives two hours away and travels between the two cities.  There's a reason our paths crossed so I'm sure we'll get together in the future.  I've said it a million times and I'll say it again... everything happens for a reason.

     Though my life journey has taken many twists over time, I often find myself returning to this quaint little park,  because no matter what life has in store for me, I always know this is one place I can go to find some of the best memories of my life.    

Have a great day!!


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