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PBOT’s new guide takes the guesswork out of family biking

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
familyguide=lead

Even in Portland, riding with infants and small children on your bike often elicits stares, questions, and comments.

At what age can we start biking with our baby? Which bike set-ups work best for toddlers? Is it better to use a tag-along or encourage kids to ride their own bike? These are just some of the myriad questions anyone who bikes with kids is used to getting. Now there’s a helpful guide from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) that aims to answer those questions.

Portland’s Family Biking Guide (PDF) is a new, 16-page booklet created by PBOT’s Active Transportation Division. The new guide will be distributed through the city’s “SmartTrips Welcome” marketing program that targets new residents and encourages them to bike, walk, and take transit.

According to PBOT’s Active Transportation Division Manager Linda Ginenthal, the new guide fills a gap in the city’s available suite of bicycling information. “We have a tremendous amount of bike information on our website and in printed materials,” she shared with us today, “but we had nothing for families.”
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Babies, brains and bikes

Friday, May 16th, 2014
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

The other day our former Family Biking columnist Marion Rice shared an interesting link. It was to a blog post by Suzanne Zeedyk titled, “How buggies shape babies’ brain”. I expected the post to be about the common question of how young is too young when it comes to carrying babies around in things other than automobiles.

However it turns out the post was about something I hadn’t thought about in all my years of being a dad: How the position of the baby’s face in relation to mine (while we ride) might impact language development. Here’s a salient excerpt from the post:

“Primary teachers have been witnessing a steady decrease in children’s linguistic abilities upon starting school, and they had wondered if the fact that so many strollers are now designed to face outward, rather than toward the adult, might be one of a variety of possible factors contributing to that decrease.”

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The Ride: A north Portland loop that’s perfect for the whole family

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
Ultimate North Portland Family Loop-15
With half the mileage on paths completely separated from auto traffic, this nine mile north Portland/Columbia Slough loop could be the ultimate family ride.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

If you’ve been looking for a great loop ride in north Portland that’s perfect for novice riders and families, I’ve got an exciting route to share.
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When a child rides alone: A test of our kids and our streets

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
Eleni rides home alone-1
On her own: Would our streets — and my daughter — pass the
solo biking test?
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

I recently — and surreptitiously — followed my daughter Eleni as she rode home from soccer practice by herself. She’s almost 11 years old now and we’ve just recently started to let her do this. I followed her because I was curious to know how she would ride without me or her mom offering that perception of protection that our proximity provides.

If you have children (or even if you don’t), I’m sure you can relate to the mix of emotions that occur when you allow your own flesh and blood to become a full-fledged “vulnerable” road user. I was also curious if our neighborhood streets would live up to their reputation as “family friendly.”
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Portlanders bike back to school (photos)

Thursday, September 5th, 2013
Trillium Charter School on North Interstate.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Schools in Portland are back in session as of yesterday, and that means the biking to school season is upon us once again. (That, combined with the Bike Commute Challenge and the all the regular Portland bike traffic, often makes September feel like the busiest biking time of year.)

Yesterday we asked readers to tweet us photos of the bike racks at their kids’ schools with the hashtag #bikebacktoschool. Check out a few of the images below…
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‘Fiets of Parenthood’ event returns this Sunday

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
Fiets of Parenthood-44
Tackling the obstacle course at last year’s event.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Fiets of Parenthood is back for its 4th year and biking families all over the region are getting ready to strut their stuff at a new venue: The Portland Art Museum. As part of their ongoing Cyclepedia: Iconic Bicycle Design exhibition, PAM has partnered with event sponsor Clever Cycles for a “Free Family and Community Day” this Sunday (8/4).

If you’re curious about family biking, or if you’re already riding with kids in tow and want to connect with other families, this is an event you won’t want to miss. (more…)

9 kids, 6 adults and a day on bikes in San Francisco

Friday, January 4th, 2013
Family ride in San Francisco-9
Who says families with small kids (on their own bikes) can’t bike through big cities?
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

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As talk show appearance looms, thoughts on the Emily Finch phenomenon

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
Emily Finch pedaling talk show host Ricki Lake
during a recent trip to L.A.
(Photo: The New Ricki Lake Show)

When I first saw Emily Finch with her six kids in tow at a local farmer’s market this past summer, I had no idea she would become a bona fide bike celebrity before the year was out. But that’s exactly what has happened.

This Friday night, Finch is hosting a viewing party at Velo Cult Bike Shop (1969 NE 42nd Ave) for her recent appearance on The New Ricki Lake Show. Where Emily will show up next is anyone’s guess; but there’s no guesswork about how far her story has traveled and how many people she has already inspired. (more…)

Man rear-ended while biking with child in trailer speaks out

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
Photo from the scene.
(Photo: Chris Dorr)

On Thursday evening the unthinkable happened.

While waiting behind two cars at a red light on SE 60th at Division, a Portland man — with his four year-old son in a trailer behind him — was rear-ended by someone driving a car. The police haven’t released many details, but I’ve talked with him at length. At this point, he has asked to remain anonymous because he’s conflicted about having himself and his family thrust into a public debate about biking with children.

Here’s what happened…

The man was headed south from his child’s preschool near Mount Tabor, at 60th and Salmon, to their home just south of Division. He chose SE 60th because it’s the only traffic signal to get across Division. He was wearing a reflective yellow jacket and his trailer had a strobing rear tail-light. The last thing he recalls before impact was standing at the light, and an instinctive concern that the car sounds behind him were approaching too fast. Then he’s flying through the air after being thrust up onto the hood of the car behind him, breaking its windshield, eventually impacting the car in front of him. When he came to, he realized his son was still in the trailer, which had been crumpled by one of the car’s wheels.  (more…)

Family biking skills on display at ‘Fiets of Parenthood’

Monday, September 17th, 2012
Fiets of Parenthood
At the Fiets of Parenthood event, Emily Finch and her seven kids of cargo, hit the teeter-totter ramp with gusto.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

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