If you haven’t heard of Slide the City, chances are it hasn’t come to your city yet because it’s pretty hard to miss. Basically, they set up a thousand foot slip and slide down a main street in your city and you pay for the privilege of riding.
Last year, Slide the City set up in North Vancouver and it was a blast, but it wasn’t without its challenges so hence the guide to help other parents navigate this event safely.
#1: Register for Early Bird Alerts — Sign up over at Slide the City.com to get email alerts when an event is coming to you. No, this isn’t a sponsored post, but just good advice from one parent to another. It’s a popular event. Unlimited passes and early bird deals sell out quickly so if you really want to go, get on it right away.
#2: Bring Very Little Gear (or a Friend) — Try to bring as little as possible or if you must bring lots of stuff, have a friend set up on the sidelines with your gear. But since most people don’t have lame friends who would be willing to stand around all day while everyone else has fun, just plan on having all your stuff with you AT ALL TIMES EVEN ON THE SLIDE so a) refer back to rule #1 and bring very little and b) make sure it’s water proof or in a water proof bag.
#3: Don’t Bring Weird Shaped Floaties — Stick with the Slide the City donut tubes that come with your slide kit. They will allow you to slide on whatever dumb shape you want as long as it’s an inflatable, but they go really slow and annoy other sliders and increase the chances of the aforementioned annoyed other riders crashing into you when you get stuck (and you will get stuck because the pizza and swan shapes aren’t designed for sliding).
#4: Arrive EARLY — Be there, parked, registered, with your Slide the City goodies in hand and IN LINE 30 minutes before the event is scheduled to start if you bought an unlimited pass and AN HOUR early if you bought a wave time. The lines to slide get bigger and bigger as the day goes on and although it looks like they’ve tried to mitigate that by adding multiple days in each city and limiting how long the unlimited riders have to ride, just trust me when I say be early.
#5: Think Sun Protection — Slather on the sunscreen and wear your favorite sun protection gear because chances are you are going to be standing in the blazing sun while waiting your turn. Because all sliders plunge into the slow-down pool at the end, you will get wet so whatever sun protection clothing you choose should be quick drying so you aren’t standing around all day feeling soggy and uncomfortable.
#6: Avoid the Family Lane — If you are riding with kids, especially young ones, don’t ride the family lane. If you arrive early, the organizers may let you go do the fun fast lane, but once the event gets going, they ban kids from the fast lane and encourage them to go to the family lane. Don’t do it for the following reason: the family lane lets kids and parents ride together, BUT kids are lighter and smaller so they go slower and get stuck, leading to crashes. Instead, ride the single lane, putting your kids in front of you and coaching the people behind you to give you extra buffer so at least if you bump into your own kid, it’s in a narrow lane and you can control the contact.
#7: Use Good Sliding Form — Hold onto your handles, get a good running start and try to push forward as you slide. Many many people get it wrong and fall off or don’t get enough speed to make it past the flat part at the start. For safety reasons, try to stay face forward so you can see what is ahead of you and if you are going to crash into someone (probably your child if you followed the rule above), put your hand out to push them forward and prevent yourself from riding up over their tube and their little selves (which is why kids get banned from the fast lane because eventually it turns into complete chaos).
Despite all the warnings contained in the post, it is a lot of fun, and judging by their web site this year, they’ve done a lot to improve the safety so perhaps all these warnings are for nothing, but as my mother would say, “Better safe than sorry.” Happy sliding!