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Test Riding to School: Take 2

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A Simple Six: Test Riding to School: Take 2

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Test Riding to School: Take 2

We rode to school earlier this week to try to work out the safest route. It yielded a couple of new options for safety, adding length and more climbs. The tips we received on our first run would help us avoid Norway entirely, but add more length and even more steep hills. We thought that adding length and a few hills would be better than being on Norway so we took everyone out this morning to see what we could see.


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Another Difficult Crossing
We were turning from the top of Wiltshire, left onto Washington and the road was clear, the moment my bike is in the middle of the street a jeep is coming up the hill behind me and a car is coming down to my left. The children were directly behind and I was yelling at them to keep going, hurry up. I led them up Washington toward Woodland right in the middle of the road. The driver behind us was irritated, but I knew that if we slipped closer to the right side then he and the four cars behind him may not see us as we followed the curve or would speed past us while we were going up hill. The children are not able to ride very straight going at a slower speed, and climbing equates to slower. As soon as we were level and straight, we moved over and turned away from traffic onto Woodland.

Our journey starts with hills, and more hills.

We stopped to drop off blueberry muffins to friends that just returned home from a very long trip.

London felt her energy spent by hill number two.

Hill Strike
There were a lot of tears on this trip. The hills were just too steep to climb for the children. They walked their bikes up a lot of inclines yelling out protests of going up and declaring strikes against hills. I felt my bike tire in the front lifting because I carry my weight, ahem, in my rear. Oliver was in the iBert, but it didn't balance the bike on the climb.

A bit of downhill on Fairfax, but we would be coming back up this way going home.

The dreaded turn onto Roland Park Drive.

We stopped on Roland Park to refresh before the intense climb. These aren't the Rockies, but they are 7 and 9 years old.

Parked on Roland.

We carry a bag with tools, tire pump, sunscreen and first aid in the trailer. We need to create a kit for when we bike solo.

We forgot to sunscreen London and Elliot before we left. The headphones were accessories, she wasn't actually listening to anything.




It has taken me months, but I am finally learning how to use the gears on the bike. Brent would tell me to put it into a lower gear when going up, but I felt like I was spinning my wheels a lot more and I didn't have the endurance to pedal that much. I favored a higher gear and I would put all my weight into the pedals to spin them less often but harder. It turns out that I was spinning the pedal more and that was a good thing. I needed to build my endurance, but now turning the pedal more actually makes the climb feel easier, although slower.


Up up and away. Have you seen enough hills yet?

There was a lot of walking bikes.

A little down, although into a one way, the wrong way.

We chose the sidewalk because of the wrong way on a one way issue, but it must have been trash day.

Took a right onto Allen, this let us skip Norway altogether!

The other end of Allen met us with a brick street, and one that went down first.


The first trial we took this week, Brent had Oliver in the trailer on the way to school. I rode Brent's bike home to see if I could pull him, and it was easier than what I did today. Having Oliver in the front seat on my bike was tough. I still think it's the bike, because the center of gravity was better and the weight was the same, if not less since all the gear was in the trailer.

We made it. I think it took about an hour to cover 2.5miles.

Yeah, that's my family.

What Now?
Given all the challenges of getting up to school it's not looking like we will bike there. We will have to come up with some combination of walking and/or busing. If we can get the children's bikes to school, then biking home would be a different experience. It shouldn't be too much trouble for me to bike up to the school with only Oliver and then we could all bike home, slow and steady, or we will just walk.

We are also very aware of the wonderful weather experiences we've enjoyed. Today was mid 60s at starting and mid 70s upon return. With all these clear skies I am off to look for rain gear online. The tide will turn, as it always does, and I would like to be prepared.

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