Category Archives: Huntington WV

Sunny Sunshiny Day

20130103-141958.jpgDid you resolve something for 2013? I can’t handle the disappointment, so I don’t bother. I certainly have things I intend to do, but I just say to myself, “self, just do it.” And myself either does or it doesn’t and either way it’s ok. If I sit and think about it for much time at all, I typically talk myself out of whatever it was.

Well, today, after wrestling with the alarm clock post holiday break, I fell blissfully back to sleep on the couch. The children were tardy, as I predicted, but not for a lack of genuine effort. The clothes were laid out, the lunches packed, the waffle batter was made. There are only so many bodies I can put clothes on and force feed and scrub teeth. At some point, they have to get themselves out the door. After all this, Brent drove them to school, as planned, being as it was so cold, we were running so late, and just because like most mornings lately, our bike mojo is low. It’s ok. I am ok with it. You can be too.

20130103-142008.jpgThen with the sun shining in, I said to myself, “self, let’s go ride our bike.” So we did. Oliver and I bundled in layers for the mid 20s/low 30s day. We grabbed things to drop off at The Wild Ramp, Bottle & Wedge, Kidz Biz Consignment, and Rachel’s house. I had just fed the boy some ice cream, because, why not? Then I promised him a stop at Tropical Moon while we were out. Because, why not? We were going on a bike ride! Then, that’s just what we did. All that. The drop offs, the fro-yo, the riding.

It was wonderful. The sun was all sunny. The day was all bright.

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20130103-142030.jpgYes, there was the overlooking of extra socks and shoes for the toddler who is learning about bladder control. Especially when he’s sleeping. Totally nailed the idea of using a toilet on our 275mile drive this week, but couldn’t handle a 40minute nap on the bike. However, we were able to test out the new rain pants, and they do stay dry, just not in the way the manufacture intended. He was also a champ about not wearing mittens. He used his pockets. Smart thinking tike. There were keys and toys in the pockets.

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So now we are home for a short spell, passing time with some coconut curry for me and a little Netflix and raisins for him. Then we are going to drive up to retrieve the other three children. My legs are spent. Seven slow miles and I feel like I ran a marathon, not that I have any idea what running a marathon feels like, but my legs are jello.

Now, if I could only make up places to go every day. Oh, and people to go places with. That’s always a delight too. Sunshine and friends. Perfect bike weather.

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The Wild Ramp

While we were away this summer a new food market opened their doors in Heritage Station, downtown. We were fairly frequent patrons of River & Rail Bakery at the station already, but now The Wild Ramp is seeing more of our happy faces, sometimes three days a week. The money we have saved with our cycling lifestyle has shifted to better quality food. Their timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
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The Wild Ramp is a different kind of market. They carry goods grown closer to where we live. 90% of the price we pay is given back to the farmers. 100% of their staff is volunteering their time. It was a simple decision to support this market. I started by hosting sewing workshops (not the one linked, but two subsequent ones) for their Friends of the Market shopping bags, upcycled from old feed sacks. Then they asked me to write online reviews to help spread positive feedback. Then I was asked to join the Kickstarter crowd sourced funding committee. Most recently I assisted with organizing the pumpkin decorating party that went on last Saturday. All these things I could do from home with my children, which makes volunteering even more rewarding, as I can include the whole family and model the values we prioritize.

The Wild Ramp is my community hub. We go there to see our friends and neighbors and meet new people. We learn a lot of about the food we eat, the growing seasons, and the families who are feeding us. We feel even more connected to Huntington and feel empowered by their support of our local economy. They are geographically closer to home, on Brent’s way home from work, and in a neighborhood I frequently find myself when downtown.

Congratulations to The Wild Ramp, but more importantly to the people of our region who now have a local food market that gives back to them and all those we call a part of our community.

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A Departure (of Huntington, of unemployment, of bikey things)


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Tomorrow (Sunday) I leave for three days, all on my lonesome, for Louisville, KY. There, I hope to meet up with shop owners, merchandisers, and industries leaders. While, my reputation has grown for family cycling, my working background is in non-profit youth services, and my educational/working degree is centered on fine art, I am venturing in a new direction. Did you expect anything less?

Brent has Q&A games he plays with people repeatedly. With children, he loves to ask, “What is your favorite thing in the whole wide world?” or “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He asks the same children time and again, and gets a quick chuckle out of their evolving answers. “Gold.” “A paper airplane.” With me, he often asks “What would you do in that space?” “What would you put in that empty store front?” And my answer is always, “a family-community center.”

My heart and soul have been fixed on developing a resource space for the community. A place where people gather, play, and learn together. A family friendly space that offered up the riches of children’s museums and the freshness of a botanical garden, without the memberships and entrance fees. A center where you could borrow toys, take classes, sip smoothies with your friends, and check out materials that supported a healthier, wiser planet, community, and lifestyle.

Here in Huntington I am choosing to combine my love of community service with retail. Initially I was struggling with advertising, marketing and the general idea of material goods, to which I don’t have a full grasp of understanding and generally avoid. Then I took stock of the things I do purchase. The things I was seeking to bring into my home, during a time in my life where I was cutting back on spending and eliminating multiple layers of clutter (visual, physical, time, emotional). I realized I was purchasing better quality products, that were made from natural materials, could be reused, and were cultivating a healthier future for our family and community. These same products were conversation points with strangers and friends. “Where did you find ____ (pick any: those cloth diapers, that klean kanteen, a cloth pad, your Moby wrap, the kid’s sandwich bags)?”

For our region, the answer is often “online.” The second most common answer, is “this little shop where I ______ (pick one: used to live, visit family, took a vacation, went for the weekend).”

This was an opportunity. This week I finally announced my intentions of organizing a natural family retail-resource. It won’t be a community mecca, but it will be a quaint, family friendly space that has the material needs this community is seeking combined with the educational, social space that will provide fellowship. My intention is to allow the retail side support the services and resources, so they can be offered for free.

Kith & Kin Junction is in the pen and paper stage of development. I have outlined the following pitch and will be presenting my concept at Huddleston Bolen (611 3rd Avenue, Huntington) Wednesday October 17 at noon. Please join us for the Entrepreneurs’ Cafe lunch, and the opportunity to support a project that has the potential to return the investment to the thousands of families and their friends in the Tri-State region. Just being there demonstrates a desire for this store. It will help me connect with you and your needs. Purchasing lunch for $15 will also give you a vote. $5 for your meal, $10 to the winning presenter. Yes, I am asking for your help, and I will be asking again.

Kith & Kin Junction concept:

Kith & Kin Junction is a new business endeavor for the Tri-State region, focused on providing pregnancy and parenting resources to families, providers, educators, and the community. This limited liability company (llc.) retail location supports a strong community service and education component that is currently established through agencies, health care workers, midwives and doulas, art centers, sensory therapist, libraries, referral agencies, child care providers, Success by 6 initiatives, wellness centers, individuals, and parents. The retail shop will carry materials such as breast feeding supplies (bras, covers, pads, pillows, pumps, storage containers), reusable diapering supplies (covers, cloth inserts, wet bags, diaper detergents), natural, sustainable items (glass bottles, stainless steel storage, wood and mineral teethers), reusable menstrual care products, baby wearing merchandise, early literacy education materials, laboring tools, and books. A community room would be made available to all partnering agencies and individuals for play groups, workshops, education, coffee dates, parties, and private classes.

The space anticipates six phases to include:

  1. merchandise, children’s art gallery and community resource publications
  2. rental services (diapers, breast pumps, baby wearing, birthing tubs, balls) and community room
  3. lending library (toys, books, videos)
  4. home consultation and hospital visits (lactation support, bra sizing, community services)
  5. expansion of classes, indoor and outdoor sensory play spaces, pick up and delivery diaper services (by bicycle, of course!)
  6. partnership with a wellness food provider

Every phase will incorporate many established community agencies and resources. The directive is to support the current operations of the community. For example, in phase one, community resource lists will be exhaustive and shared with Tri-State Family magazine and other local publications. Merchandise will be tailored to meet the needs most in demand by providers and families (gathered by attending the numerous support groups in our region, talking to providers and surveying the community). The children’s art gallery will be a professionally finished exhibition of local children creations who participate in any number of classes (Dream Watercolor, Renaissance, Huntington Museum of Art, public and private schools), individuals, and child care providers. The gallery will embellish the site to reflect the children and families who are utilizing services and merchandise.

So, it is with leaving this information to you, that I leave for Louisville tomorrow. I am attending an industry trade show/expo where I will return with sample products and brands, a wealth of knowledge and new relationships. You can follow my progress in this endeavor on Twitter (@KithKinJunction) or Facebook, as my husband just picked out a new black iPhone 4s for me today, and I hooked Kith & Kin Junction up with its own accounts (logo is in beta). I enjoy the behind the scenes stuff, so maybe you do as well.

Bicycling and simple (ahem…we all know it’s not always simple) living family things are still under A Simple Six, and the business will carry its own weight elsewhere. I even registered a domain (currently directs you to Brent’s website) www.kithkinjunction.com. Hope this isn’t too confusing. I think it is appropriate to separate them at their core, but have them intersect where they affect my family and I the most.

Shew, I was so nervous about sharing all this with you today. I am all ears and eyes for suggestions and ideas, anytime.

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Some bikey updates that will read like a sales flyer:
While I am away, Brent is carfree with four kids! He’s getting some help from my dad and our friends.

Brent’s mtb is on loan to friends for the week, and they promised to come borrow my Yuba too.

I ordered a breadbasket for my cargo bike, and the very generous reader Nicole, has taken it upon herself to make a custom liner for the basket. Both will be here later this week, and installed! I can’t wait to show you all, because she is also writing the tutorial for AS6 & Yuba!

Elliot must have grown an inch or two. He rode the 24in bike for the first time this week. It was a big transition for him, not just for size, but this bike has gearing. We did a two mile ride and worked on listening and feeling the shift of the rear derailleur. This may change his life.

Brent’s been off the bike for just over a week now. He had a vasectomy, and despite my pleading with him to let me courier him around on the Yuba deck, I shuttled him about in the van. Made for an interesting week, and some funny posts on Facebook. “Was downtown in the van, couldn’t find parking, drove home and returned on the bike. #truestory” He promised he would write up a blog post about his surgery and how it has affected his bicycle riding. I will hold him to it.

List of bikey things for sale…stop now, unless you want to be solicited to even more than you already have…

If you are in the market for a Bobike Junior seat, ours is for sale. Installed and then never used (bought another Yuba instead). $175, free shipping in the USA. I was going to work up a Craig’s Listing or Ebay post, and might yet.

When the L 29″ GT Korakoram mtb returns next weekend, it is going on the market as well. $500, includes the extra road tires. Again, might get that up on a listing site, but I like you all, and this is easier. Not a thing wrong with it, we just bought another Yuba :)

Oh, and while I am at it, we have a beautiful vintage Olmo that needs a bottom bracket and maybe some other things. If I can figure out enough about it, it’s for sale too. It’s been sitting on the fireplace mantle too long.

Bicycle Ridership

Some variation of children and I made it out three times this week on the bicycle. Monday morning we cruised into Ritter Park to meet up with friends, who are interested in family cycling and wanted to test ride our Yuba. Monday evening there was a grocery ride. Wednesday I met up with my Tour de PATH chairperson and we walked the town looking for ride sponsors, passing out our new I Bike PATH bike stickers (from BikeButtons/OrganicHaus), and leaving registration forms.

What I noticed right away were the volume of bicycles and riders every time I went out. I think I was only able to capture 10% of what I saw, and most of the time, because we were both moving, they weren’t great photos. Here are some of the better images.

Four friends began commuting by bicycle this week, as children are being released from school, and morning routines are changing. Two other friends bought bicycles and they are also learning their way to work. We learned there were 10 employees at Huntington Prime who bike commute. Our PATH champion, Bethany, at RTI said she’s been doing everything by bike for over a month now. Another friend had her handlebars reconfigured to attach a front mount seat to ride with her son.  It’s happening Huntington. Thank you all for being out there and trying so hard to gain a new perspective. We believe that more riders is the most simple thing we can do to make riding safer for us all.

Any one notice the theme in the pictures? All these riders were on sidewalks or pedestrian crosswalks and many going against the direction of traffic, making crossing dangerous or difficult. I watched some bike down a sidewalk in one direction, cross in the middle of the street to the opposite side walk, so they could use the pedestrian walkway under the railroad tracks.

Not one bike was at a bike parking space. The other photos were on the trail and inner circle at the park, where their is no auto traffic.

Most people do not feel it is safe to ride on the streets, despite it being illegal to ride on the sidewalks in our downtown area. Despite the bike lane that is being painted and signed on 4th Avenue. Despite the low volume of slow moving cars and traffic lights at nearly every block/intersection. Despite me riding on the street with my two children aboard and my teeny-tiny efforts to encourage people otherwise.

Feelings are important and if there is anything I can do to help people feel safer, please let me know. I would even ride with you and help show you my chosen routes and how I stop and where and why, and we would all go slow. Which is one of the objectives of Cycle Socials. Perhaps it’s time to schedule another.

 

Miles Walked: 3.5 Biked: 59 Bused: 0 Drove: 0 Carpool: 6.8 This week
138.1 2266.5 1176.6 3691.8 294 Since August 14, 2011

 

Toddler Oliver’s Day

Yesterday began earlier than usual. We set out to meet up with Mike and Alex, on their new Yuba, to ride a small leg of both our journeys to school together. It was the first National Bike to School Day, and riding with friends seemed like the best way to celebrate. It wasn’t necessary to bring the whole crew, but it sure was more fun.

I intended to ride half way to work with Brent and Mike, but after climbing back up Norway I was done. This made three days of high miles and many climbs for me and I really was trying hard this morning to not slow down the other two adults. I split off and went home to get ready for the rest of our day and they carried on.

We had about two hours to dink about, gather our things, pack our lunches, then roll out. I knew this was going to be a tricky day, with multiple stops and smack in the middle of nap time.

I made a list of all the things I needed to do and organized them by location. We dropped off our CSA check, picked up Avery’s coat (forgotten at the Earth Day fair), deposited checks at the bank, checked for Skylanders at Game Stop, enjoyed lunch at Pullman Square plaza, walked the bike over to Third & Ninth Deli for a Create Huntington lunch meet-up, rewarded patience with a Tropical Moon, returned to Game Stop for the toddler to check out Skylanders (he was asleep the first time), then went home to unload, reload and ride up to the school for pick up.

Busy train tracks don’t stop traffic, thanks to early considerations. Cars, pedestrians and bikes just go under them. This train was moving and loud. Just what our little boys love. Only Oliver slept through it.

Still sleeping at the bank.

The white stripe on the right is the left line for the incomplete bike lanes. I know every city has this problem (delivery trucks or taxis in bike lanes). I look forward to seeing what enforcement and education will be instituted locally. Since we bike in the car lane, I just went around and made my right hand turn at the light.

Just after this Game Stop stop we had a pee-mergency. Avery really had to go. The nearest restroom I could find on the ground level, was the bookstore who had a sign on the door saying the restroom was for customers only. I also had the issue of the sleeping toddler. I walked over and parked the bike at the door, walked Avery in, asked (yelled over to) the check out lady if he could use the toilet and a stranger who was standing next to me made sure he made it to the back of the store (he had already ran off). I stood between the doors, watching Oliver on the bike (two steps away) and waiting on Avery. It was one of the “testing your parent strategy” moments.

Bladder relieved, lunch eaten, toddler wakes up.

Plopped the little guy on the deck and walked the bike across the street to meet up with a few Create Huntington members. This was my first lunch meet up. It’s an open invitation to everyone to gather on Wednesday at noon to talk about the direction of the city casually. Since we packed and ate our lunch before arriving (to save money and to please the children with things they like), I spent the entire hour hearing “we don’t need to be here, we could just walk out!” from Avery, who was “bored.” Hence the next stop, a shameful bribe, that didn’t keep him quiet, but made him happier.

The above photo was taken while I was arriving at Third & Ninth. The man on the right bike was smoking, and hauling a trailer with cargo in it. I had seen this bike the day before at a house on Norway sans-trailer, then spotted during yesterday’s pick up with trailer. I am very curious about what his is doing. The lady on the left is typical of downtown riders, who feel safer on the sidewalks and crossing at pedestrian lights, the one place in the county it’s not legal (downtown streets only). Ironically, to get to any bike rack that you find downtown (there are few), you have to go on the sidewalks, else lock up to street lights, also on sidewalks.

Tropical Moon for fro-yo, then Game Stop again, then onward toward home. We encountered the access to the park (where we cut through) blocked by tree cutters and the road around it closed, so we cut through a brick paved alley and discovered this backyard garden.

After slipping up onto the sidewalk we were able to get on the street next to the park and in between the barricades to mosey toward home. It wasn’t necessary, but this route was a bit more level and the roads smoother. I was growing increasingly tired at this point and couldn’t fathom another four miles I would need to go to pick up the other two children.

The End of the Toddler Mama’s Day

Yet, I did it. There were a lot more stops along the way just to rest. I made it up, gathered my things to set up an after school Scrip, SnackTaxi and reusable bag sales table (my new volunteer position, since I don’t have baby L.). We stayed for the end of year Chess Club party. Brent rode up to the school to ride the Yuba home and I took his mtb. I called him and let him know how worn out I was before leaving home and that I would appreciate an extra set of legs. He’s so wonderful.

Most of our ride home is downhill, but we have three decent size assents and one shallow one. I was taking the ups and downs very slow. I didn’t have my camera around my neck, I didn’t take on any cargo. I knew my limits had passed during the previous 11miles. We made it all the way home and I had this moment in my mind’s eye where I could see myself wrecking, and then I did.

At the bottom of our drive way, making that final turn to pull in, the bike slipped from under me and I lunged forward to catch myself. Everyone else was behind me. Brent likes me to set the pace, since I am the slowest. The bike flipped over, with my legs still entangled, and I just laid there. Bike complete upended. The children stunned into a semi-silent awe (you flipped the bike! so cool! are you ok mom? do you have a boo boo?).

It had started raining about a mile from home. As I said, I was going very slow. Brent had put road tires on his bike Sunday, and the roads around our house are broken, gravely and undulating. All of this, combined with my fatigue, resulted in this.

The bruising and swelling doesn’t show up well. My left hand was in so much pain I felt nauseous. I took a nap immediately, with ice under my hand as I slept. I woke up feeling better, but sore. I took inventory of the bruises on my knees and legs and cleaned my wounds. I haven’t stopped dreaming about biking (during my nap and last night), but I haven’t tried holding the handle bars yet. Today my left hand is weeping and I am sad. Sad because I saw it coming. I feel like I let the thought of it happening bring about the actual event. Knowing that it was just an accident.

Miles Walked: .5 Biked: 55.5 Bused: 0 Drove: 0 Carpool: 0 This week
134.6 2124.2 1176.6 3691.8 287.2 Since August 14, 2011
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