Meet A Simple Six

Fall 2011

Meet the family behind A Simple Six, left to right.

  • Elliot, 9, loves his friends, building in MineCraft, playing creatively and being the biggest, sweetest brother and son he can be. He’s embarking on the 4th grade at Dr. George Blackman ECC and has cute freckles. Elliot rides a 24 inch multigeared bike and was born in Pullman, WA.
  • Oliver, 3, is trying to keep his parents up all night and wants nothing more than to go on a bike ride. Oliver prefers to sit on the deck in front of a big brother but is most often found in the Peanut Shell. Our youngest lad of three was born in Huntington, WV.
  • Stacy, 34, spends a lot of time perfecting the homebody creed, which includes being on the computer, cooking, scheming, and occasionally putting away clean dishes. She writes this blog and volunteers all her time for, well, everything. Most recently she’s gotten involved with community gardening. Stacy pedals the Yuba Mundo on most days, but when she’s flying solo she might take the MTB. She calls the corn fields of Troy, OH her home.
  • Brent, 37, eats, sleeps and drinks his job at Buffalo State University as a new media/graphics design professor in the department of fine/communication arts. He does it for his wife and four children and can’t imagine a better place to spend his paid time at this point in his life. Brent also paints, makes video art and can’t keep a serious face in a photo. He also rides a Yuba Mundo (yes, that means we have two!). Brent says it was serendipity that brought him back to his birth state for 9 years before a recent job change.
  • Avery, 6, packs a wicked punch line to a great joke, shadows Elliot and all his friends, and longs to be the big kid. He is proud to be a kindergarten graduate from Our Lady of Fatima and a 1st grader at Dr. George Blackman ECC. He had Guillane Barre Syndrome just after he turned 3 and took on a full recovery.  He then fell again to this auto-immune disorder in early 2013 and is deeply involved in therapy as he heals. Avery has no desire to pedal himself when he can get a cushy ride on the deck of the Yuba. He was our first WV baby.
  • London, 11, recently began the 6th grade at Olmsted at Kensington High School and has a very free spirit. She’s a dragonologist, artist, book lover, knitter, crocheter, multi-instrument player, and favorite niece of her aunts Sara and Shannon. London has a refurbished red Schwinn mountain bike but would rather have a folding bike or something nostalgic with a step through frame and wicker basket. Born in Columbus, OH, she lived in three states and six houses before she was five.
  • Eiki, 17, joined our family in August 2013, as a Japanese exchange student through the YFU program. He is a varsity soccer player for Bishop Timon St. Jude High School, where he is taking a variety of courses including business and Spanish. Eiki rides our restored Jaimis, when he’s not studying, or taking the Metro bus to and from school and soccer. We look forward to sharing experiences with our Japanese son this year.

We are currently doing our best to bicycle everywhere we can in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding area. We recently relocated from Huntington, WV, where we spent two year cycling and using our only car, a Honda Odyssey occasionally. We left the van in WV and began our NY life without a vehicle. As a family we can be found reading stories in the living room on weekends. Our week days lives have us scattered to the winds. We try to make conscientious decisions that are best for the community and the planet. There is no end to our gratitude for everything and everyone and we thank you all for reading!

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22 thoughts on “Meet A Simple Six”

  1. Hi Simple Six Family!
    I found you from Minimalsit Mom and want you to know how deeply inspired I am with your lifestyle! I love that you’re living a conscientous life that is best for the community and planet. We have a family of six too and are currently living car-free in France for the year. We’re using our bikes as transportation and so far love it. Today we biked in a lot of rain to school and the kids enjoyed biking over the large puddles. I have to admit though, I do miss our van back home in Canada.

    I am so happy I found your site and am looking forward to reading over your posts. I think having an example of a large family who is consciously making that decision to be car-lite is so incredibly encouraging. It’s my hope that when we return home, we’d continue to rely on our bikes and become car-lite too.

    Best wishes,
    Jenn

    1. I believe I read a huge part of your story on A Minimalist Mom. Impressive downsizing! Thanks for all the great words of encouragement, I will have to check up on your blog!

  2. This is going to sound silly, but I just found your blog, and I’m glad you exist! It’s inspired me that we *can* have the lifestyle we want here. We just moved to Huntington last fall, hubby also at Marshall (also commutes by bike) and so far he’s had to endure people yelling at him to “get a car” and such in his commute. But he tries to use the bike as much as possible and I try to walk to the grocery, park, library, etc. and want to get our toddler on the bike as soon as possible. Good to know there are others of “us” out there! Thanks!

    1. Certainly not silly. I am so thankful you found us! We just hosted a commuter bike meeting at MU, there will be more, so if he wants to get tied in, please let us know. If you ever see us around, please shout out, I love to meet folks in town :) Welcome to Huntington and if you have any questions (even non-bikey ones) let me know.

  3. Hi there, Simple Six!

    Just found your blog while searching Yuba Mundos online. What a great life you’ve created with the help of your fleet of bicycles. Thanks for sharing this with the rest of us out here…it’s very inspiring to see that others have made it work well.

    I’m getting ready to switch up my daily commute with 2 kids here in Portland, OR. Good bye car rides, hello bike rides. I’m wondering if you could give some insight into how comfortable you are with your son riding the stoker seat instead of the peanut shell seat? How did you know he was ready? Ever any issues with him letting go or needing to nap?

    Also, any DIY solutions for rain protection for the little passengers?

    Thanks!

    1. Holly, thanks for the line! We started our now 5yo in the PeanutShell around this time last year, when he was 4.5yo. After a couple months (maybe longer) it was clear he was too big for the lap bar and was able to hold on to the bars. We were all adjusting to our new mode of transportation and we tooled around with different configurations. He does great. Sometimes he lays against my back, but he never falls asleep. We also don’t go far, our average ride is 2miles at a time, sometimes 2.5 to get groceries and then 2.5 back to home. He might have napped in the PS, but I can’t recall a time. My 2.5yo rides in the front mount seat, or when we have the PS on, he rides there. He is has not shown signs of being able to hold the stoker bars or stay away for a 2 mile ride!

      I am very comfortable with my 5yo in the stoker position now, but not a year ago. He will sometimes let go of the bars, but he is firmly on the deck, not a saddle and we ride an average of 8mph. There are side bars for his feet to fall to, and we have developed a feeling for each other. The rules are, if we are in motion, you are holding on, but I know they let go sometimes because I see their shadows, but I can’t tell just by riding. My 8yo was introduced to passenger bike ‘tricks’ when we visited another family in Columbus this summer. He now takes some liberties moving around on the deck, but we have spent a great deal of time discussing safety and working on communication in general, to make the ride fun for us all.

      As for rain…this part had me so worked up when we started to ride. I was more concerned about me, because I must wear glasses, and for the little ones who were not pedaling and might fall asleep. We avoid a lot of heavy rain, but go out in a sprinkle, drizzle, light rain with just jackets and ball caps, when it’s warm. If it’s cold, we grab snow pants and boots. I really want to invest in rain pants, but I want to find them used or less expensive than what I have been seeing online. No luck yet, but we are not in a bike friendly rainier city like yours. You might have better luck.

      For a long while I preferred my bike trailer for rainy days. I just liked keeping the children as dry as I could, especially the little ones. They could keep the wind off their faces, and I could bundle them in a blanket better. The big kids think riding in the rain is awesome and we should do it more. I do ride in the rain without the trailer now and no issues, but maybe that is because we have all adapted more to ‘outdoor living’?

      With all that said, I do admire these set ups, but haven’t tried them myself: http://youaintgotjack.blogspot.com/p/diy-childs-bike-seat-weather-protection.html
      http://www.pedalpoweredfamily.com/2011/05/diy-xtracycle-sun-rain-cover/

      There is a rumor from Reuben himself (the second link) that they might have their cover in production this year or next.

      If I didn’t answer something as clearly as you had hoped, or have other questions, send me an email: asimplesix@gmail.com I am always happy to pass along my experiences.

  4. Stacy and family,
    I am a fee- only financial planner in Lynchburg, VA and I read about you in Kiplingers magazine. I love what you are doing!
    I am in love with 2 wheel vehicles and the more we promote them the better. you are a prefect example of what this country needs. More simplicity, more saving $$, more exercise and more fresh air.
    Thanks for sharing your lives with us.
    Brian C in VA.

  5. Stacy,
    I came across your blog while searching for a DIY rain cover for our iBert seat. We live in the Pacific Northwest and are looking to make something to protect our 15 month old in her daily bike commute to day care. I grew up in Troy, Ohio too!

    Sara Luring Huggett

    1. That’s wonderful! I am a Miami East graduate. My parents are still there so we get to visit. Do you make it back?

      Did you find a cover idea for the iBert? I have seen a couple front seat covers if you need links. We just wear a rain coat and drape a second coat over his legs. I keep meaning to drill little holes at the bottom of the seat legs for drainage. Also keep meaning to buy rain pants…so many good intentions :)

  6. Miami East, that’s great, I was trying to place you! I’m 33 so I was thinking if you went to Troy then we would have likely been in the same class. We make it back at least twice a year. I teach 3rd grade and my husband is a professor at Humboldt State, so we have lots of great breaks for traveling back to the Midwest.

    We are going to try a Tyvek suit, zipped up over the whole seat. I’ll send a picture if we are able to make something successful. I’d love a link to the front seat covers.

    My best,
    Sara

    1. Class of ’97 :) My step sister is a couple years older and graduated from THS, maybe in ’95? Rachel Adams.

      I love getting together with people when I am in town (or anywhere in the world), so if we happen to be in the same county at the same time, please look me up! We might go up between Christmas and New Years, as my sister is flying in from AZ. Keep in touch!

      We had a rainy after school commute today on the iBert. Oliver napped the whole time! That tot can sleep anywhere. Here are those links I know about: Tiny Helmets, Big Bikes Made for a rear seat, but can be adapted You Ain’t Got Jack, Rear deck, full cover Pedal Powered Family, There is a Rain Cocoon on this Totcycle post, but I have yet to find one to buy (let me know if you do). Found this cute cover in my search.

  7. Fabulous, and welcome in to the Buffalo fold. There is a wonderful group of Blow-Ins (new to Buffalo) & Boomerangs (back to Buffalo) on Facebook. Steele can invite you, if you are friends on Facebook. GoBike will, clearly, be a solid resource for you as well.

    1. Thank you. David sent me a link to the Blow-Ins group, but I can’t see it, and this all explains why. GOBike has been great. They gave us a cyclist of month spot light for October, and I had coffee with Justin a couple weeks ago. Feel welcome to find me FB and add me to the group. I am always looking for something to do during the day, or something to browse on a screen at night. Cheers!

  8. Hello friends! We met a couple weeks ago at the Flurious Festival in Delaware Park. I absolutely love your Bakefit setup, and I am encouraged to see another family embracing cargo biking in buffalo. Now, you are doing it for real as a family and it’s something for us to work towards. We have two home-made xtracycles that gets us around the village of williamsville for most of our needs. But, we also have 2 cars in case we have to travel outside our 4-5 mile radius. I am encouraged by your journey, and look forward to running into you and Brent again in the future!

    Peace and Love

    Milo

  9. Hey there, great site. Thankyou!
    I thought you or your readers might be interested in a yuba mundo raincover I whipped up. I couldn’t find any on the net so I made up my own. We love it! Would be honored if you’d share it on your site so others could copy and improve the design.
    Cheers!
    Andy

    http://makingconcretejungle.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/diy-yuba-rain-cover-to-keep-the-kids-dry/

    It’s on my blog which is a lot about carrying kids on bikes:

    makingconcretejungle.wordpress.com

  10. Hi Stacy,
    We met a few days ago at a farmers market meeting. I was very impressed with your enthusiasm and now I have discovered your blog. I’m not a bike enthusiast but admire the energy you put into finding ways to live a great life without a vehicle.
    Welcome to Buffalo and our University Community! I’m looking forward to getting to know you and working with you.
    Linda Young

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