This Page

has been moved to new address

A Simple Six

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
A Simple Six: 7/24/11 - 7/31/11

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Buns on Bikes 2011

Huntington, WV celebrates the hotdog with a festival. I know it fits the stereotype, doesn't it? I have successfully avoided most festivals in town, but today we joined the Buns on Bikes benefit ride for the children's hospital. All six of us.

Buns on Bikes group riders and escorts.
Early Morning Market CommuteI woke up early to meet my friend R at her house and coax her on to a bike to get some veggies at the farmer's market in Central City. She says she hasn't ridden in about 10 years. I hadn't ridden in 10 years prior to March 2011. We were each in good company. She rode slow and caution. Again, we took PATH the whole way. The market is actually on the route, which is another great downtown convenience.
Central City Farmer's Market.

R with our bikes. She rode mine on the left while I road her husband's.

The market at 9am.

WV peaches.

I strapped my eggplants to the rack. Bungy cords are so nifty.
A Full RideWe filled our canvas bags with goodies and returned her to her house and me to mine. My family was waiting on me. We had a big day ahead us. The first stop was Ritter Park for a watershed conservation exhibit. We had reserved a spot at the rain barrel making workshop which included a free barrel with all the accessories. We made our trek over uneventful. While Brent was casually listening to the demonstration, the children were either biking the inner park loop or learning about duck boxes or bee keeping. I trickled about between it all.

The rain barrel workshop.

Our makeshift bike rack, Oliver and Brent.

Elliot was riding the inner loop.

There were many of our friends at the park. One of them offered to take our barrel to our house, so we set off for Harris River Front park to help a group of volunteers weed flower containers and deadhead roses. The task was quick, as so many people had been working on keeping up the gardens already. We then headed in to town for lunch and ended up at Jimmy John's.

There were few enough cars that we took the road on the way into town.

Volunteers at HRFP.

The Ohio River.

A helmet sandwich.
The Charity Ride
After a light lunch, we finally made it to the Hotdog Festival at Pullman Square. We took our place in the corral and went on the 3 mile benefit ride with about 30 other folks including a police escort.

Bike corral at the Hotdog Festival.

How We Spent the Remainder of the Day
We managed to fit in so many things in to our afternoon down town, I will spare you all the details. In short, after the ride we went to the game shop, the comic book store and out for a late lunch early dinner at Jim's Spaghetti. This dinner has long been on my list of things to do downtown and we finally made it. After we paid at Jim's we headed straight home to collapse in front of our screens and under fast running fans and a non stop A/C system. The thermometer read 96 degrees and it was 4pm. We were spent. I think everyone will sleep well tonight.
Comic shop on the left, game store on the right.

Labels: , , ,

Across Town Play Date and Kroger Scouting

Yesterday we managed to make it across town for a play date. The plan was for me to take the children so Brent could work. I was going to leave them with my friend R for a bit so I could get some groceries, pick them up and head home. R had planned to do some outside activities and serve fresh squeezed lemonade. With mid 90 degree days, it all sounded wonderful.

It Never Goes as Planned
The reality was that Brent wasn't quite ready for us to bike without him. He wasn't sure of the paths we would take and especially the route to the grocery store. I tried to assure him that I biked with the four children just fine while he was away and that I thoroughly investigated the route to Kroger including where I would lock up the bike and trailer. I knew exactly which sidewalks I could get on with the children, where there were ramps at intersections and what type of cross walk signals, if any, where to be used. I had it visualized and mapped out. None of this set aside his concern, so he joined us.

I certainly wasn't going to carry two boys if I could only carry one. We split up the load and took off for R's house, 2.1 miles across town. I guessed it was about a 15 min ride, mostly on the PATH. She did have lemonade for us, and some blocks for the boys to toy around with in the A/C. After we cooled off some I took everyone out back for a little unstructured exploration and Brent went to the store.

The 1st Street aqua-duct heading toward Kroger.

More pole parking.

Brent's trip was a success in terms of getting groceries and not having the bike stolen. He even approved of the route. The only trouble he had was the trailer. We have never ridden our bikes with it empty. He was going faster than he would have been with Avery and diaper bags. The trailer clipped a curb and tipped over, which he claims scared the on lookers more than him. It would have made me jump to see a trailer fall over too. Especially if I thought it had children in it.

Since he purchased cheese, milk and other perishables and it remained a very hot day, we wrapped up our playtime and set off for home. I am still impressed with how well the children tolerate all this bike traveling. They nearly never complain about the exertion or the heat. I have always felt safe with the cars and feel like there are plenty of alternative routes to get some where without a lot of traffic or steep hills.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, July 29, 2011

Date Night by Bike

Babysitting for free has some great rewards. The best one happened Thursday night when the family we babysat for several times this month came over to watch our children. It was date night! I put a lot of thought into all the things I wanted to do. I first considered Geocaching. The idea was quickly thrown out when I realized we needed to have either a GPS or a mobile phone with GPS ability. We have neither. Then I thought we ought to do a long bike tour and picnic dinner. I looked over the PATH map and found it very under detailed and a bit incomplete at this time. I looked to ride all the way to Kenova for some ice cream at Austin's or Griffith & Feil. Both of these ideas were scrapped when the temperatures soared to 100 degrees.

The Date
Our sitters arrived about 6:30. We spent a few minutes catching up with our friends and giving them the 10-4 on getting everyone to bed pleasantly. Brent and I unhitched the trailer and the new iBert seat, settled our helmets and road off toward the sun. We set our sights to Huntington Prime on 4th Avenue. We took the most direct roads to get there, staying on 10th most of the way. Up to this point in my new biking life I had not ridden with out the children. Brent and I certainly had never had a biking date.

The temperatures remained high and the air was heavy. Being free to glide around on our bikes, wind sliding over our skin and nothing but each other to be distracted by made the weather seem unimportant. On our typical date nights, it takes hours to get over the strange new feeling of not having children under our feet. Not yesterday. It was almost immediately clear that we were together on an adventure, relying on each other and savoring these new experiences.

We don't carry watches or have phones and therefore we had only a general sense of time. I guessed it took about fifteen minutes to get downtown from our house. It would have taken 15 minutes to drive there and park somewhere further than right in front of the restaurant, like we did with our bikes. Locked up on a lamppost, Brent put our names on the list and we strolled around the block to cool off and see what we could see.

On the same block as Huntington Prime was the Fredrick building. From 5:30-7:00pm on Thursdays, they host a Chat 'n Chew forum for individuals in the community looking to further develop ideas in town. These meetings have led to community garden initiatives, recycling pilot programs, graffiti removal organizations, creek clean ups, and plenty of other citizen based renewal in Huntington. We thought we would see if anyone was still lurking about, but they had left the place pretty deserted. Maybe we will catch them another week.

Inside the Frederick.

On the other side of the block is Pullman Square. There was a small crowd gathered at the courtyard listening to live country music. Brent and I enjoyed the liveliness of the people more than the sounds of the guitar. We are always happy to see downtown crawling with people enjoying what the town has to offer.

Our wait time was to be only 30 minutes so we walked around the other end of the block back to the restaurant. I was standing next to our bikes while Brent was checking on our table. One of the men from the city who was watering the hanging baskets came over to make sure we didn't want to move our bikes. He was certain they would get wet. I didn't mind a bit. I figured with this heat they wouldn't be wet for long.

Me, waiting on a table.

Talking with the crewman from the city.

We have had a few meals at Huntington Prime and have never been disappointed. They are doing their best to find local sources for their meals and the menu even highlights where their cuts of meat are from and where the veggies are grown. My current trend of reading has been entirely in food and nutrition, specifically locavore and sustainability. It was a real treat to have biked to a locally owned restaurant that was also trying to serve local commodities.

The helmet was hiding under the table until it was time to go.

Brent had a margarita pizza and crab cakes. I enjoyed a stuffed eggplant with a side of broccoli. German chocolate cake and tres leche cake for desserts. We discussed food culture and teaching philosophies, money and children. We chatted about the events coming this weekend and made plans for everyone going back to school. We didn't rush through anything. I sat there and watched darkness begin to descend on the town over Brent's shoulder, so we paid our bill and walked out into the night.

After Dinner
We were enjoying our company so much we didn't care to go home just yet. We rode back past Pullman Square down to Harris River Front Park. We were able to catch the last few shades of pink setting on the Ohio River and then turned south toward our neighborhood.

The ride home is graded slightly uphill. There also seemed to be several more cars than the few hours earlier when we arrived. I didn't realize downtown picked up after dark. We were able to keep up with the trucks in our neighboring lane as we all rushed from red light to red light toward Ritter Park. Most of the vehicles left our side as we neared the residential area.

We choose to ride through the park on our way back. Several people were out walking dogs and jogging on the loop. We were laughing at our need to ride side by side because Brent's bike was the only one with lights. We felt a bit fool hardy.

 As far as the history of our date nights go, this one will never be forgotten. Anyone else take their date out on a bike?

Labels: , ,