Category Archives: springriders

The Secret Lives of Springriders

The title for this post came to me a couple of years back. I liked the ring of it then and still do today. I’m not sure where it came from but years ago I had read and enjoyed James Thurber’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and I have a peripheral awareness of the more recent The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Why not springriders?

Since penning the title, I’ve had a recurring image that pops into my head at unexpected moments. There’s a grand migration unfolding before me with numerous animals winding their way across the plains in an endless, undulating ribbon. It could be a scene from the Serengeti except this is a herd of springriders – ducks, whales, toucans, ladybugs, dolphins, parrots, bees a great jumble of species stretching away as far as the eye can see.

Whale Riders croppedThe WhaleRiders Gang Copping Attitudes, Submarine Playground, Halifax, Canada

And that’s as far as I got with the concept of a springrider post. I was rescued from this eternal loop by Ilse Gerritsen from The Netherlands springing into my inbox. She wrote to me a few weeks back to tell me about a project she’s been working on for about a year.

Ilse, who creates beautiful work in her own right as an illustrator and graphic designer, is a bona fide aficionado and connoisseur in the making of springriders from yesteryear. Ilse’s springrider sensibilities developed very quickly. In fact, her first vintage springrider encounter is just over a year old. In April 2012, she saw a toucan by GameTime in a campsite playground. It was as they say in French – sorry, Ilse I can’t speak Dutch – un coup de foudre. Right then and there, she decided she wanted one in her own backyard.

ToucanToucan, GameTime. In production from 1974 – present.

Ilse is now the proud owner of her own toucan, a pelican which she is restoring by hand and a McDonald’s Goblin. The toucan remains her favourite and she looks forward to the day when she can get all three installed in her small backyard in Zwolle.

I’m getting a lot of tips about springriders in community playgrounds around the country. I found a couple of beautiful ones right here in Zwolle in a couple of playgorunds that were founded in the 1960s – Ilse Gerritsen

The good news is that she is sharing her new found passion online at Vintage Springriders. The site is dedicated to preserving a golden era of playground equipment manufacturing. It’s a visual feast and encyclopedic in scope.

vintagespringridersCom

Vintage Springriders is well organized and offers options to view images sorted alphabetically (who knew there were so many varieties?) or by manufacturer of which a dozen are presented. Ilse also provides some insights for readers who might want to get their very own springrider. What’s more she provides a step by step guide on how to restore aluminum springriders – really most everything you need to know about these sproingy rides under one roof so to speak.

I’m thinking back to that image of the great springrider migration. I’ve generally pictured it as springriders in the wild, that’s to say no kids. But it might look awesome with a bunch of saddled up rainbow kids too. If I was adept at photoshop I could create this pic myself. I’d like to acquire the necessary skills some day and compose SpringRiders in the Wild to offer people a playful smile.

In the interim, I’ve been trying to cajole my daughter Alexa’s love Luke to whip up this photo. They’re both recent art school graduates and he’s a wiz with these kind of manipulated images. So far, all I’ve got is this shot of a lone springrider that Luke emailed me earlier in the week from their holiday in Quebec. I guess I could wait until Ilse expands her collection and stage it all in her backyard in Zwolle.

imageSolitary springrider, Métis-sur-Mer, Québec

Now when I need a springrider fix I know just the one stop shop to go to – Vintage Springriders. Thanks Ilse.

Twelve Days of Christmas Play

On the first day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
A tire swing in an oak tree

5344851996_2d6c899585_bPhoto credit – Derek Buff. License – CC BY-NC 2.0

On the second day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Two spring riders
And a tire swing in an oak tree

On the third day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Three monkey bars
Two spring riders
And a tire swing in an oak tree

On the fourth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Four splashing pads
Three monkey bars
Two spring riders
And a tire swing in an oak tree

On the fifth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Five hollow logs
Four splashing pads
Three monkey bars
Two spring riders
And a tire swing in an oak tree

On the sixth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Six slides a slipping
Five hollow logs
Four splashing pads
Three monkey bars
Two spring riders
And a tire swing in an oak tree

On the seventh day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Seven roundabouts a rounding
Six slides a slipping
Five hollow logs
Four splashing pads
Three monkey bars
Two spring riders
And a tire swing in an oak tree

On the eighth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Eight trees for climbing
Seven roundabouts a rounding
Six slides a slipping
Five hollow logs
Four splashing pads
Three monkey bars
Two spring riders
And a tire swing in an oak tree

Photo credit – Oliver Hammond. License – CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

On the ninth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Nine fields for running
Eight trees for climbing
Seven roundabouts a rounding
Six slides a slipping
Five hollow logs
Four splashing pads
Three monkey bars
Two spring riders
And a tire swing in an oak tree

On the tenth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Ten rocks for scaling
Nine fields for running
Eight trees for climbing
Seven roundabouts a rounding
Six slides a slipping
Five hollow logs
Four splashing pads
Three monkey bars
Two spring riders
And a tire swing in an oak tree

On the eleventh day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Eleven see-saws sawing
Ten rocks for scaling
Nine fields for running
Eight trees for climbing
Seven roundabouts a rounding
Six slides a slipping
Five hollow logs
Four splashing pads
Three monkey bars
Two spring riders
And a tire swing in an oak tree

Photo credit – Vaughn Hannon. License – CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Twelve messy mudholes
Eleven see-saws sawing
Ten rocks for scaling
Nine fields for running
Eight trees for climbing
Seven roundabouts a rounding
Six slides a slipping
Five hollow logs
Four splashing pads
Three monkey bars
Two spring riders
And a tire swing in an oak tree

Playground Bunnies in America’s Heartland

Bunnies are big in Ohio playgrounds. Thanks to photog chronicler extraordinaire scottamus, PlayGroundology can get hopping with a few photos this Easter Sunday morning.

Photo credit: scottamus. Click image to enlarge.

This must be the Easter snow bunny that howled through our Nova Scotia community last night because there are now drifts outside our house covering yesterday’s green, green grass. Luckily there are no eggs buried under the white stuff.
_______________________________________________________

Photo credit – scottamus. Click image to enlarge.
_______________________________________________________

Photo credit: scottamus. Click image to enlarge.

Weather worn and in full stride.
_______________________________________________________

Photo credit: scottamus. Click image to enlarge.

This little rider reminds of that wascally, wacky rabbit, Bugs.
_______________________________________________________

Photo credit: scottamus. Click image to enlarge.

Ghost rider Easter bunny looking a little long in the rabbit tooth.
_______________________________________________________

More scottamus playground bunny finds here and a fine collection of old playground photos here.

Thanks scottamus for enabling these rider rabbits to take on the Easter Bunny persona today. May the chocolate eggs be with you.

Springriding Denizens of the Deep – World Oceans Day 2011

Happy World Oceans Day 2011. Bonne Journée Mondiale des Océans 2011. Let’s celebrate with some springriding denizens of the deep found at playgrounds far and wide.
Click image for slideshow.

I live on Canada’s East Coast and am fortunate enough to commute to work everyday on a ferry that crosses one of the largest natural harbours in the world. Halifax is home to real life container and cruise ship traffic and is also the backdrop for the 1990s kids’ TV hit, Theodore Tugboat. A fishing fleet is within walking distance of our house and a swimming beach is just a little further along the road. Three hours down the highway is the Bay of Fundy. Out here on the Atlantic coast, we understand the value and importance of ocean ecosystems.

As an added bonus on World Oceans Day check out the boat playground flickr galleries here and by clicking on the image below.
Boat Play Structure, Dartmouth Waterfront, Canada

Finally in keeping with conservation and preservation of habitats, look at what’s been happening with the La Laguna playground in San Gabriel, California. Populated with play-on-me sculptures of marine animals, this playground escaped destruction as a result of determined community action.

Happy World Oceans Day wherever you may be.