Category Archives: Greater Huntington Parks and Recreation

Celebrate Bicycling

May 1 three children and I rode downtown to celebrate the end of 30 Days of Biking and the beginning of National Bike Month along with the National Bike Challenge. Brent met us there from work. London was riding with the neighbors who were going to feed the ducks and have a family dinner.

I am usually excited to see bikes locked up at the racks, but it’s not often I the owner. When I spotted this family across the way I had to say hi. I was a bit surprised none of the four had helmets, but understand the illusion the trailer can give to safety.

Once Brent was done threading a lock through our three bikes, we walked around the back of Pullman Square to Harris Riverfront Park. The city has been doing a lot of street improvements and we noticed the curb cuts and new cross walk lights immediately. We have previously had some issues at this intersection with automobile drivers on cell phones when trying to get to the park, and appreciate the safety update.

We found London down at the dock, with the neighbor and two of his daughters, feeding the ducks. We stole her and her bike away from her friend and headed back up to Pullman Square for our dinner and promised rewards.

While there are many great locally owned places to eat downtown, we settled on Unos Pizzeria. It was probably one of the worst cases of over-eating I have committed in quite some time. I wasn’t able to enjoy either the Tropical Moon destination Brent took Elliot and Oliver to, or the Cold Stone Creamery stop I treated Avery with on the way to the Pottery Place for London’s reward. Stuffed.

Spotting our neighbor's bike and another commuter bike as we went to the Pottery Place.

Since we were downtown directly after school, and not on a Sunday, Avery and I left London to her painting and walked over to Mug & Pia. I had been trying to get into this store for months (maybe even years). I have a hankering for some everyday stationary and heard they had a good selection. They did, but I was more excited to see Etta’s dad’s stuffed creature collection being sold here. He is probably my favorite local artist, and not because he allows my son to have play dates with his daughter.

Brent made it back to the Pottery Place and I left him with everyone but Oliver and then walked back across the street to Soma. One of the troubles I have had with staying downtown for my retail purchases has been undergarments. If you need bras and underware, you can go to the Family Dollar or you go to Barboursville for a Walmart, Target, Kmart, or the mall. It’s not only location that is troublesome, it’s size. I am nearly breastless. Those four babies have left me with the option of ordering very expensive custom sizes online or finding a decent store that can give me a lot of assistance negotiating what is available. Soma did just that. I am grateful they decided to open a business downtown. It had been three and half years since I purchased bras, and I only bought two at the time, they were spent.

Enough with the boob talk, on to the rest of our outting.

With the painting of pottery done, the eating of ice cream over and the purchasing of new delicates (this could read, with our wallets lighter), we headed for the bikes. The sky was giving us a “time is up” dance, with darkening clouds and a setting sun.

At the last block I let Elliot ride on ahead home, and Avery wanted off the deck to race him on foot. Oliver felt he should be allowed as well and slid his shoulder straps off. I used the old “car won’t start if your belts are not buckled” trick my grandma used on us when we were little. The bike stopped until he was tucked in tight again. With Avery off the bike, I was able to provide Oliver with the race he needed be entertained that last block. What a difference 50lbs can make.



Full racks at Marshall University

Seems everywhere we go we see bikes, bike racks or people on bikes. It is most likely because we are looking for them, yet other people are noticing it too. Folks who have been riding around here for years are commenting on the increased number of cyclists.

Fresh asphalt read for striping and bike lane signage on 4th Avenue

The city repaved a main corridor road to prepare it it for our first ever bike lane. There were three bicycling events this past Saturday. Both bike shops are thriving. New bike parking is being installed. The racks at the university are full. Friends are pulling their bikes out of basements and garages and then letting me know they did so (which I think is so awesome!). Craigslist bike are selling quick. The used bikes don’t stay in the shops long enough for people who saw them posted online to make it in for a test ride. The bikes at Target were cleaned out when we stopped by there last month.

It’s bike fever. It’s not just here in Huntington, WV either. More bike bloggers are popping up (see this great list of women bike bloggers) and bikes are making there way into mainstream media. We have seen bikes in current issues of Martha Stewart, as logos like on the new Simple Homemade, and more posts of my friend’s children riding bikes online, all around the country.

The fixed up Jamis Dakar and a shoulder bag from Boliva Brent attached as a small saddle bag, in front of Old Main at Marshall University

On our quick errand ride to the university Friday night to pick up a projector from Brent’s office, we took the photos in this post. We even stopped at the newest bike rack in town as if it were a tourist destination and posed for a picture.

One of two new bike racks on 4th Avenue, thanks to Huntington Cycle & Sport

When we reached the park we saw several folks riding and two of them were friends of ours from the neighborhood. Kiley and her dad Chris were practicing their new skills. Kylie got her bike for Christmas and just learned to ride. Chris dug his bike out, which had been in storage for 15+ years. Now they have a new passion to share. Chris said they have been at the park nearly every evening, and they joined us for Kidical Mass on Saturday (her first ever road ride, and the furthermost she’s ever ridden too!).

Kylie and Chris at Ritter Park. Happy family time.

Of course you see what you want to see. We choose to see all these great bikey things and hope you do too.



PATH at Spring Hill Cemetery

The Paul Ambrose Trail for Health released a printable version of their updated trail map recently.The map is far less confusing than the plans I saw previously. This map simplifies the system into what is currently marked and/or constructed and what will be completed within the year.

There are still two markings of areas under review (blue and yellow) that make the trail system appear, at first glance, larger than what is accessible. I see a benefit to this coloring, in that you are still able to bike, run and walk along the roads and sidewalks that are scheduled to receive signs reminding everyone they must share the road or that this indeed is a portion of PATH. The road and walkways may not change much. Even if they do update the sidewalks and install bike lanes, it’s not keeping us from riding there now.

Thursday night we biked up the hills in our neighborhood to the Spring Hill Cemetery. PATH completed some paving, signage and pillars for this portion of the route in the fall. We used to rent a plot at the community garden that overlooked the cemetery, but had never actually visited.

We didn’t visit with good reasons. I don’t like cemeteries. The second reason comes in the form of hills. They were intense and there were many.

The children loved the cemetery, wanting to know why we hadn’t been before. They enjoyed reading the names and making the correlation between those on the grave stones, monuments and mausoleums with those on buildings downtown, roads, schools, and parks. It was like a historical lesson for them.

As for the hills. Nary a complaint to be made. Avery actually wanted off the bike so he could race the bikes up the hill, by cutting through the grass, of course.

All those hills were certainly worth the magnificent views. This trip reminded me of the old adage of “what goes up must come back down.” We seem to be at the point physically where we can see the benefit of climbing our bike to the tippy top. The exhilarating feeling of whooshing downhill can’t be beat (after you get over the fear of speed).

The Spring Hill Cemetery would make a great destination for watching a storm roll in or perhaps some fireworks? Maybe the PATH closes at dark? Either way, there seems to be a community up there. We saw folks we knew walking their dogs, riding their bikes or others running into people they knew, probably folks they see there every night around the same time.

It’s one enormous front porch of fitness.

Bike Maintenance and Park Time

For us, this week has whisked time away. It’s Friday eve and I look back and can’t remember many details of each day. They were either all so similar, or there was nothing spectacular.

I started looking over the red Schwinn mtb Brent picked up at Positive Spin for London. It cleaned up alright, but the rim tape was crumbling and the tires were showing a little dry rot. Brent brought home tape and tubes yesterday, then I asked him to bring home road tires tonight.

The three boys and I sat on the kitchen floor and worked periodically on the rims. After everyone was in bed, I managed to keep my thumbs while putting the new tires on. I hope to finish the job in the morning.

We managed an evening outing to the park tonight. At first I thought we couldn’t pull it off. Brent took the Yuba to work so he could get groceries on his way home. Then I mutter a few words out loud about friends at the park and the children were jumping to go. I hitched the trailer up to the 29er and away we went.

Before we left the park, Elliot on his 20in single speed and I with the trailer and boys made a hasty decision to climb the Ritter Park hill. It was torture. Speed bumps on the way up, and on the way back down (with the wide trailer!). However, the down side was exhilarating. Elliot has the foresight to see the challenge as having sweet rewards. I was just killing myself for the sake of seeing if I could. I had to stop once to breath deeply and let my legs recover, but I managed in my lowest gear. I must figure out how to get a grade measurement for these things. I love my numbers.

Miles Walked: .5 Biked: 43 Bused: 0 Drove: 0 Carpool: 13.6 This week
127.6 1789.6 1176.6 3559.1 214.5 Since August 14, 2011

Six Children to the Park

Please don't be like this car and block our access. I was very surprised by the empty rack.

It’s been spring break week here, county wide. I had an extra child on Monday, but didn’t go anywhere. There were my Tuesday escapades all over town, such fun. Then Wednesday I was responsible for two other older children, who came with their bikes, more fun!

We took care of the empty rack. One bike not shown.

We made the roll over to the nearest park, Ritter. There was a little riding around, a little tree climbing, some playing, a lot of sitting on my lap.

Cherry trees. Sand pit. Oliver.

The boys found stray balloons. They were good for holding. I didn’t realize all the lethargy was the onset of fevers for the youngest two. You would think that by now I would know something wasn’t quite right when you bring six children to the park and most of them want to sit with you quietly in the shade.

The crew on the way home.

I was very proud of our newbies. The park is a mile from our house and they were such great listeners. They fell into line when they needed to, keep their safe distances, stopped at the appropriate times, and were such a joy to ride with because of their enthusiasm to be cycling.  We reviewed the route and instructions before leaving and everyone knew it was me and all of them. I think we made a great team.

Four of the six children. Four of the five bikes.

You can’t see it well here, but the gas prices crept up to 3.99/gallon. Just in time for the Morgantown trip. Weeee….

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