Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cycling on the sidewalk

Our new friend, Oregonian reporter Casey Parks, has published a lovely article about our journey, including this video.  A lot of people made comments about us riding on the sidewalk, which I would like to respond to.  Why do we ride where we ride?
Coming home from Whole Foods.  Photo by

First we read the Oregon Revised Statutes and Oregon Administrative Rules that pertain to Bicyclists and Pedestrians. The law is clear that bicycle riders may ride their bikes on any public road and sidewalk where not prohibited, such as in urban core areas.  We also took the Traffic Skills 101 online course, which I highly recommend.

With small children and handicapped dad who sometimes falls due to sudden loss of feeling or twitching in limbs due to degenerative disc and joint disease, we often find that the sidewalk is the safest location to ride with the entire family.

We're pedestrians too!  And we don't like rude cyclists on the sidewalk any more than the next walker.  So we do our best to be courteous, and also make shopping runs, like the one featured in the article, during early morning hours to avoid congestion.  And hey, let's get real, there are pedestrians out there too who block the sidewalk with their width.  Can't we all just be polite to one another and share the space?

Thanks to League of American Bicyclists resources, teens and mom are now comfortable cycling in bike lanes, and we strive to improve our cycling skills all the time.  We haven't always been cyclists and have really learned a lot in the past year!  But really folks, small children in the bike lane alongside buses and trucks on main roads?  Not so much.  Our solution: keep working toward a carfree society where a carfree family doesn't have to worry if they are safe on the road.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Mobility for Moses

Moses aka Dad suffers from degenerative disc and joint disease. Doctor's orders are to remain supine, not standing or sitting upright for more than 5-10 minutes at a time to avoid direct pressure on the spine. In spite of these limitations, Moses has been riding a refurbished bike along with the rest of his Carfree Family, but at cost of great pain. Even relatively short distances can cause him to lose feeling in limbs, leading to a dangerous riding situation. In spite of these limitations, Moses has lost nearly 120 pounds cycling and moved from the handicapped parking space to the bike rack. We think this is pretty good for someone whose former mobility device was an electric wheelchair.  Please help us raise the funds to put him on a recumbent trike by his birthday on April 4th! Thank you.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

One year later, our first blog post

It hasn't been exactly a year since we got rid of the car.  In fact we didn't even keep track of the day the car went away in because the mental transition was more noteworthy than the physical.  That transition happened on December 25, 2010, when we made the inaugural trip with our new bike trailer for library returns.  (Holidays are our favorite days for cycling due to low traffic.)  

We had cycled the four mile route to the library plenty of times, and it turned out it wasn't much more difficult with a load of books in the "trunk."  Then on the way home when we spied two bald eagles in a dance of flight over a small urban wetland area.  The happily uneventful ride turned instantly magical!  If these majestic birds in this unlikely location weren't animal totems or a sign that we were making the right choice, choosing a good path to follow, they were certainly a wake up call to the transformation that was about to begin.
Our Carfree Family at the library in July