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A Simple Six

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

International Walk to School Day 2011 (and Local Press!)

Today is International Walk to School Day in the United States. We all biked to school this morning. We hadn't walked, bused or biked to school since the first week and it was a tremendous joy to go together. Following a four day weekend I set my alarm for 6AM to give us ample time for groggy children and preparations. Yet at 25 after 7 we were still searching for lights and gloves and stuffing lunches in backpacks. By 7:30 we were on our way up hill, in the 50 degree fog. We were all please to arrive before the bell.
The crew of bikes and 5 of 6 of us, all bundled and lit up.
Brent got the priviledge of the cargo bike this morning, and the company of two little boys. Notice our new cargo bags.
It looks worse than it was. We crossed on to Washington Blvd without incident.
Brent stayed to hear Elliot read the liturgy at Mass and I took Oliver home for a Birth to Three session.

Speaking of pleasing matters, Bryan Chambers wrote a wonderful piece in our local Herald-Dispatch from the interview we attended last week. The e-paper is subscription based, so we hope they don't mind us scanning and pasting it here. It's not a great scan (obvious?), as my techno-savvy husband is at the office, but he tells me if you click on it, you ought to be able to read it in full size, bur probably not on a smart-phone. If you are local, go grab a copy if you wish.

In closing for now, I know the blog has had some issues with comments, sorry. Please don't give up on me, I love hearing from you. Brent said to me last night that he's never seen me so excited about anything, after I got a comment from a regular reader on last night's post "Get on the sidewalk!!" If you are on Facebook, I opened A Simple Six page for us to stay connected and for me to speak my mind on short remarks and links that may not require a full post. We are in the process of moving the blog to it's own domain and getting fancy with CSS. In the mean time, I might have messed up the RSS feed, to which I am also sorry, but should have it all straightened out by the weekend. Hope you all hang in there with me.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Get on the sidewalk!!"

Brent has a red-hot temper and his trigger lately has been people in cars yelling "Get on the sidewalk!!" Many times these drivers throw in some choice profanities and lay on their horns. In some situations a vehicle pulls right up to his side and tries to push him off the road. Brent comes home livid and recounts the tale and I always ask what his response was. It varies from telling the driver "no" to "share the road!" in the verbal arena. He has also looped back to the vehicle, asking them to roll down their window to tell them they need to share the road and it's illegal* to ride on the side walk. Then there was what he hastened to do tonight, chase the car on his bike.

We have discussions often about what the appropriate retort to a driver should be if we find ourselves in such a situation. I am partial to ignoring them at first and should the belligerent behavior continue, ask them "why?" Yet no one has ever treated me or my children in such a negative or dangerous way. I wonder what it is about him or his bike or the situation that attracts such offense. How many of you encounter such responses from automobiles? How do you handle it?

Brent has gone out of his way, literally, to make his commute less intrusive to automobiles and heavy traffic. The direct route would be to take Hal Greer, he goes in on 20th and home on 10th, adding about two miles to the journey. He rides on the curb side as far as he can until he needs a left turn lane. He uses hand signals. He stops at lights. He pedals as fast as he can to stay with traffic when he can. When he is near the bike trail, he uses it. As far as I know, he's doing the best he can to be a safe and considerate cyclist. As a driver, please tell us, what else could he do?

I reviewed the state law below very carefully and from what I gather, and your perspective is greatly appreciated, it is not illegal to ride on the sidewalk. If a cyclist chooses to ride on the road, they are granted protection of the law if they follow the regulations stated in Chapter 17C.
For your consideration, the following is the West Virginia laws regarding bicycles. I chose to highlight the portions pertaining to the conversation above:

West Virginia State Bicycle Laws 



§17C-1-8. "Bicycle" means every device which does not have a motor attached and which is propelled by human power upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels either of which is more than twenty inches in diameter.

Provides rules of the road for the operation of bicycles on public roads in West Virginia.

§17C-11-1. Obedience to article; duty of parents and guardians; applicability of article to bicycles.
(a) It is a misdemeanor for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required in this article.
(b) The parent of any child and the guardian of any ward shall not authorize or knowingly permit any such child or ward to violate any of the provisions of this chapter.
(c) These regulations applicable to bicycles shall apply whenever a bicycle is operated upon any highway or upon any path set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles subject to those exceptions stated herein.

§17C-11-2. Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles.
Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.

§17C-11-3. Riding on bicycle seats; carrying more than one person on bicycle.
(a) A person propelling a bicycle shall not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto.
(b) No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.

§17C-11-4. Clinging to vehicles.
No person riding upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled, or toy vehicle shall attach the same or himself to any streetcar or vehicle upon a roadway.

§17C-11-5. Riding on roadways and bicycle paths.
Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.
(b) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
(c) Whenever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.

§17C-11-6. Carrying articles.
No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle, or article which prevents the driver from keeping at least one hand upon the handle bars.

§17C-11-7. Lamps and other equipment on bicycles.
Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type approved by the department which shall be visible from all distances from fifty feet to three hundred feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of five hundred feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.
(b) No person shall operate a bicycle unless it is equipped with a bell or other device capable of giving a signal audible for a distance of at least one hundred feet, except that a bicycle shall not be equipped with nor shall any person use upon a bicycle any siren or whistle.
(c) Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

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Ritter Park Play Date

Today is the last of our four day weekend and we had a play date at Ritter Park. We also had agreed to hang out with the neighbors' son while his parents were working. This provided me with a great excuse to load the Yuba Mundo full of children (with permission from the neighbors) and have Elliot and London ride independent. It worked out so great. Three boys on my bike and a backpack.
Bike rack when we arrived.Oliver on the island bridge.London with her sea sand sculptures.All the boys with friends we met, playing "camp."The bike rack when we left. Notice the other two biking on the pathway.
London with her sea-sand scultpures.
All the boys with friends we met, playing "camp."
The bike rack when we left. Notice the two others riding on the pathway.
The weather was the ideal temperature for us. Or as my friend Cara says, "hoodie weather." We were sporting a lot of fleece, but we didn't need our 180s or gloves. We look forward to getting in a few more park days before the temperatures drop and they close the every necessary restrooms.
Miles Walked: 0Biked: 16Bused: 0Drove: 0This week
54.747812.6567.2Since August 14, 2011

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Tethered to Mother Nature

London, two bikes and the trailer with our meals.

The beasts of burden in my life are few and far between. Very little of my time is scheduled for me and the rest is at my discretion. I like this about my life. I like that I am the one who decides what I am doing and where my children will be and how we will get there. While Brent works a full time job and then a few extra jobs, he also has perceivably very little that must be done at a set time this semester. He has two classes on Monday and Wednesdays only and the rest of his days and hours are negotiable. We both discovered this morning how much we are untethered by time and more constrained by the weather. It's not even a very strong bond that keeps us home during inclement times, it's often a choice.

The children and I are enjoying a four-day break from school. Their teachers are at a school conference today and tomorrow and we have had some lazy days so far. There were still some responsibilities to tend to today. Meal swap was still scheduled for this morning and thinking the children would like a morning at the park, we set to meet at Ritter. What I didn't plan for was my husband getting up at 3am to put in a few more hours of work then crawling back into bed at 7. This turned out to be a great thing for me. I left the boys with him this morning (he woke up as I was preparing to leave) and London and I road out into the 40 degree day to trade some dishes with the ladies. We underestimated the chill (hats but no gloves) but we were both ecstatic to feel it. We love the winter.

London brought a broom stick to draw in the sand at Ritter Park this morning. She says this is a goofy Elliot.

I don't make a habit of looking at the radar, instead I look at the sky and ask Brent to check the radar. When we returned from the park, Brent was frantically rushing around trying to beat some rain to the office. When he realized he was too late, he also remembered he didn't need to be on campus until noon, so he tucked himself into the basement to work until the showers passed. Mother nature wouldn't have kept him home, but she nudged him just a little.

More hints of fall at Ritter; bare trees.

Miles Walked: 0 Biked: 4 Bused: 0 Drove: 0 This week
54.7 466 12.6 567.2 Since August 14, 2011

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Feeding Six: Breakfast-Week 1 (rather, day 1)

Saturday October 1, 2011
Pumpkin Pie Spiced Rolls with Salted-Caramel Frosting and Crumbled Pretzels
Adapted from Allrecipes' Clone of a Cinnabon and bakedbree's Salted-Caramel Frosting

It's been previously mentioned that I do not buy cereal for our brood. I am not opposed to cereal. I actually really really enjoy a bowl or two with cold milk. We gave up cereal nearly two years ago because I was exhausted with the expense of five or more boxes a week plus the extra gallon or two of milk. Cereal became the filler for after school snacks and late night husband food cravings. I got fed up with the whole cereal racket in terms of marketing, nutrition, expense, and mess (bowls being found in the office days later).

This breakfast series has been thought about for months. I have tinkered with and talked about how to work this meal into the blog without crowding out the transportation portion. Feeding Six was established with the Shopping Experiences and the Meal Co-op (which has been the most popular post on this site) and I still feel that A Simple Six is about how we do what we do as simply as we can. It began with one of the largest lifestyle changes we have undergone, but has at it's heart the underpinnings of who we are and what we are establishing in our lives, with our time.

Beginning today I will compile each week's breakfasts as photos and a link to any web sources I may have adapted. Maybe some day I will get into food blogging, but for now, I am going to keep it simple. Feeding Six: Breakfast will be about what we eat each morning. I intend to post our adventure on Saturdays. Being what Saturdays are, I am sure you will all forgive and forget if it's Monday before I compile my post. I have the best intentions...sometimes terrible follow through. Please let me know if you want to see more or less and if you have any questions.

Today's breakfast was pumpkin pie spiced rolls with salted-caramel frosting and crumbled pretzels. London had her annual we are surviving back-to-school slumber party last night. The young ladies helped me make the rolls before bed and I got up before them all to put them in the oven.We have two bread machines now, so I made two batches, meaning we have enough for breakfast tomorrow, or what's more likely to happen, a great snack later.

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