Hesitant Steps in Riverside and San Diego

Los Angeles exurb dips a toe and a pole tip into Nordic Walking. San Diego too

The good news is that a free Nordic Walking demonstration has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 31, at the University of California, Riverside. The caveat is that in this city of some 300,000 residents and a campus enrollment of 17,000, this demo is part of UCR’s Work/Life and Wellness classes and is therefore intended only for faculty and staff. The course is described as a “provide a new approach to walking . By adding Nordic walking poles to walking, you are able to get a more effective workout with minimal effort.” New? Not exactly. Minimal effort? Not exactly either.

Sigh!

To offer this class, UC Riverside has partnered with Nordic Walking America, whose Ron Brogdon and Newell Whitfield describe themselves as “San Diego’s first certified Nordic Walking Instructors.”  Last summer, Brogdon and Whitfield offered a series of classes at the University of California San Diego. Their website shows photos of a very small group of participants, and nothing appears on the calendar after August 2009. San Diego is a far larger city (1.5 million +/-) and UCSD is a far larger campus (22,500 students). I hope that response at UCR is greater than at UCSD — or maybe that they are so busy teaching that they’ve let the class schedule on their site fall way out of date.

Sigh!

Meanwhile back to Riverside, the Parks and Recreation Department offers a “diverse range of classes/activities created for all ages!” Exclamation point aside, you have to register online before you can even check out their course list, so I can’t tell whether Nordic Walking is among them. All I know is that the Riverside Foot Solutions store sells poles and, of course, all sorts or shoes, orthotics and socks, but there is no indication that they also offer demos or classes.

Sigh!
I suppose I should be doing nothing but boasting about the growing enthusiasm for Nordic Walking in the US. While it has gained more attention, and while a number of good people are working hard to grow the activity, the fact that so many sources describe it as “new” indicates how below-the-American-radar Nordic Walking is still flying. The sorry reality is that it remains that way. Perhaps my opinion is colored by what coninues to happen across the Atlantic. I can’t help but compare the acceptance of and encouragement for Nordic Walking in these southern California cities that are so proud of their year-round benign climate with that of Ehingen, Germany, that I wrote about yesterday.

Sigh!