This Week, Cruise along the Santa Ana River
When’s the last time you went out to enjoy a nice bike ride? The Inland Empire and Orange County have made it possible for their communities to enjoy the Santa Ana River by putting bike trails along it, from the mountains to the coast. It’s a great way to get the family out of the house and enjoying the outdoors together with your dog.
Where to go….
One great bike trail you can enjoy with your dog is the Riverside Santa Ana River trail. This trail starts at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains and connects several local parks as it follows the river through Riverside. Two of the parks along this trail are Fairmont Park and Carlson Dog Park, which are great starting and stopping points for your bike trip. For more information on the Santa Ana River trail, and Riverside’s plans to connect the trails leading to the Pacific Ocean, check out Riverside’s Parks & Recreation webpage.
If you were up to the task, you could bike from Featherly Regional Park, (off Green River) in Corona, to Huntington Beach, following the Santa Ana River for a cool 30 miles. But it’s likely you and your dog are not ready for that marathon of a bike ride just yet. The trail has plenty of starting and stopping points along the way so you can decide how long you want to ride for. Just remember, when deciding how far to ride, that you will most likely need to ride back the same distance you came, so be sure to save some energy. Some great starting and stopping points through Orange County are Featherly Regional Park, Yorba Regional Park, Lincoln (off the 57, just past Rio Vista), and Fairview Park just to name a few.
For all Santa Ana River Trail maps and a complete list of starting/stopping points, as well as picnic and rest areas along the trail, check out the S.A.R.T.website. You may want to print out a map for the trail you wish to explore because there are many times when you need to cross a bridge to the other side of the river to continue on the trail.
There are also great bike trails along the coast at every beach. Just pick a beach, find the trail (usually just before the sand), and bike to your heart’s content while you soak in the sun and enjoy the salty sea air blowing through your hair.
Don’t have a bike? No problem!
The City of Anaheim has partnered up with Bike Nation to introduce a new bike share program! It works as “a self-serve kiosk rental system where individuals can rent and return a bicycle anywhere within a network of stations within the City of Anaheim” – Anahiem Magazine. This first year of the program will be a trial run so there are limited rental stations as of yet, but you can find one of the bike rental kiosks at the Anaheim Metrolink Station, which is in close proximity to the Santa Ana River Trail. For more information on this program visit www.anaheim.net or www.bikenationusa.com.
Before you go….
Biking with your dog can be a very positive experience for both of you. If your dog has never gone walking next to a bike, be sure to introduce him slowly (and with treats if need be) so he has a positive association with the bike. Once he is comfortable around the bike, take your dog out on a couple of short biking trips (around the block is good) so he gets a chance see how to cooperate with the bike and also to toughen up the pads of his feet. If a dog doesn’t have tough foot pads they will most likely get torn walking or running alongside a bike for too long.
During these hot summer days, its best to go biking in the morning before 11 a.m. or in the evening after 6 p.m. You don’t want a heat stroke for you or your dog. Put on sunscreen (your dog may need some too), bring plenty of water for you and your dog, and pack a light snack.
Walking or running alongside a bike is not for every dog so you should take your dog’s physical health, size, and age into consideration before deciding to bike with him. Also, biking with your dog should be done with great caution when around cars, pedestrians, or other dogs and bikers. Remember to always put safety first!