Note: This is the first in an occasional series of Common Ground articles that asks park users to share their experiences in Louisville’s Metro Parks. Interested in participating? Send us an e-mail.
The McShanes – Mike (age 44), Lesley (41) , Ian (12) and Cate (10)
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Q: What parks do you most frequently use?
A: We visit MANY of the local parks and facilities. We ride our bikes and run in Cherokee and Seneca parks. We ride our bikes at Champions Park, Shawnee Park, Iroquois Park and will be riding quite a bit at the new Cyclocross course at Eva Bandman Park.
Q: What activities do you enjoy when using these parks?
A: We use the parks and facilities for running and riding, not only with adults, but we lead rides for kids from the Red Zone Junior Cycling team. There is nothing like seeing a pack of kids riding safely in a group within the parks.
Q: What do you like best about the Metro Parks system?
A: I can’t even imagine the possibility of not having a park system for our kids to enjoy riding their bikes in. The kids that we ride routinely with would probably not ride very much – thus less exercise – if they didn’t have these safe places to do so.
Q: Is there anything you’d change or improve within our parks system?
A: The thing that would make the experience better is more police protection from those few who would like the ruin the experience of safe riding within the parks. There are those that use the parks as cut-thrus and are usually in a hurry to get where they are going. Driving through the park should not be a right, but a privilege.
Q: What is the most interesting experience you’ve had in a Louisville Metro Park?
A: I think the most interesting thing I’ve seen in a Louisville park is the United States Gran Prix of racing taking place at Champions Park. This is a national race series that has chosen to return to Louisville three years running because of the nature of our parks. It has given our locals a great opportunity to share our city with people from across the country and world.
Q: Why do you feel that having a vital parks system is an important ingredient to a successful community?
A: Parks are the backbone of the community. They give a community life. If someone were looking to move to Louisville, I would think that the wonderful park system flowing throughout Louisville and surrounding areas would give insight to the type of community we have and what we offer its citizens. Not only this, but our government is always looking to grow the parks to accommodate all of the activities of its residents. Take for example the growth of cyclocross in our area. The city has recognized this growth and is creating a place within its parks to cultivate the sport’s growth. Not only that, but they recognize when there is an opportunity to help create new outlets in order to get our young people moving. Obesity is a serious problem for our youth of today and creating new ways for kids to leave the television and engage with their parents and friends is well worth any effort.
Q: Why do you feel that cyclocross has become so important to many within the Louisville area?
A: Cyclocross has taken off in such a big way in Louisville for several reasons. One is the local cyclocross following that brought the sport to Louisville. You need people who love the sport to spread the word and grow it from the ground up – adults and kids alike. Next, you need a big player to bring recognition to your city. For us that would be the USGP race series. Because of the USGP series, we’re able to bring the 2013 World Championships to Louisville. Third would be our supportive government that has seen this incredible cyclocross growth and is expanding on it by supporting the local community and working to create a safe place to grow this sport so that even more will learn about it. In the end, we want the lives of Louisvillians to be enriched. Cyclocross is a great gift to everyone, but especially to the young people. Everyone loves to ride a bike and wants to be able to do it in a safe place. And they have that here. We’re very lucky here. Very lucky.