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Kids take to downtown traffic on ‘Kidical Mass’ ride

Posted by on June 21st, 2008 at 1:21 am

Kidical Mass!-33.jpg

Photo Gallery
Video below
(Photos © J. Maus)

It’s like Critical Mass without the attitude or the age.

Portland’s first Kidical Mass ride (an import from Eugene) was a big success tonight. About 40 people (and about half were little ones!) showed up for a short loop through downtown.

Ride organizer Angela Koch, the Safe Routes to Schools director for the BTA, led us from the North Park Blocks, up NW Johnson to 21st, across Burnside to Alder, and then back to the Pearl District for ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s.

It was simply magical to see such little kids (from ages 3-4 and up) riding confidently on downtown streets. We corked traffic to keep the group together (following all traffic laws of course) and we even tackled W Burnside.

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These two guys flew through the
streets on their little bikes.

A few parents ran alongside their kids (who were too small to keep up) and throughout the ride, we greeted people in cars with smiles, waves, “thank-you for stopping”, and bells.

With so much talk about fear, (and so many adults choosing not to ride because of it) there was something very symbolic and inspiring about seeing these kids on downtown streets, streamers flowing, training wheels rattling, and riding along without a care in the world.

It was like the bike parade version of a Norman Rockwell painting.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the ride and I have little doubt that this will become a regular occurrence. Stay tuned for the next one and come out and join us!

Browse the photo gallery for more images and watch this short video I put together from the ride (2:55):

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Paul Tay June 21, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Angela reported some of the kids wanted to bike in TRAFFIC! Holy SMOKES. I\’m LOVING the PROPAGANDA!

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  • JayS. June 21, 2008 at 9:04 am

    Most fun I have ever had riding downtown with my family. So nice to connect with more families who feel the way we do about kids and families on bikes. We can\’t wait for next time.


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  • Marion June 21, 2008 at 9:13 am

    If families on bikes really are the \”Indicator Species\” for a bikeable city for all, then last night was really magical. Seeing those kids on the Skutts, I was blown away! It was wonderful to be part of a group to help move Portland forward in creating safe streets for families to bike. It was a GREAT SAFE ride and everyone who saw us was really positive.

    Thanks Angela and all!

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  • becky June 21, 2008 at 10:22 am

    I\’m so bummed my 7 year old was out of town and missed this. We did the kickoff parade just fine last year but this year we started in the back and were quickly left behind (perhaps it was the 4 mile bike ride we did to get there?) She would have loved it!

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  • Paul Tay June 21, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Apparently, the gospel has not made it to Tulsa, yet.

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  • nancy June 21, 2008 at 11:25 am

    thanks so much to Angela and BTA for organizing this ride. we had a great time and enjoyed connecting with other families. please lets not wait until next year to do it again. monthly?

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  • Angela Koch June 21, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Thanks so much to all the families who joined us last night and to Jonathan for reporting on this so beautifully you made me cry!

    It was truly magical, like Jonathan says, and so very very special to be part of this event. All I did was respond to what all of you wanted and simply rode in front! I had a pack of kids around me and was even passed by one of the balance bikers on an uphill climb. I felt honored to be there with all those kids – they deserve all the praise and I can\’t wait to see them all again. And imagine the lifelong imprint we\’ve all made on these little guys – that\’s something for all of Portland to be proud of.

    Yes, it will be a regular event so watcht the Shift calendar (probably the 2nd Friday of the month), and yes it will always end with some fun finale to let us all hang out together. Almost as fun as the ride was the ring-around-the-rosie game at the ice cream shop afterward and chatting with parents who all convinced me to lead more Kidical Mass rides!

    Thanks all and keep on riding!

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  • Kris June 21, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Wow, what a wonderful, charming initiative! Can\’t wait to get my 3-year old participate in her first Kidical Mass.

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  • Graham June 21, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    I love the shot at the end of the video, with all the varied bike+kid configurations passing by.

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  • jacque June 21, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Jonathan, your story about this event put tears in my eyes. I want to be there next time!

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  • Shane June 21, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Yeah!!! So excited to see Portland\’s first Kidical Mass!!!

    Our rides in Eugene have been A LOT of fun these past few months. This months ride ended at a great park where the kids ran off to play (after ice cream treats from Sundance Grocery) and the adults sat around and talked bikes, schools, riding with kids, and other important parenty things.

    The reaction of drivers is so great I wish I always had a gaggle of kids around me when I ride…. maybe some day that will happen- all those kids being driven to school will again be out riding to school!

    Stay informed, learn more, and share your photos and stories at kidicalmass.org.

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  • Michelle June 21, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    This gives me goose bumps. I want to start one in OKC! Portland and Angela, you rock for getting this going. Great turn out for the first one…..

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  • Mark C June 21, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    We will definitely try to make the next one. I\’m trying to make sure my seven-year-old grows into a confident rider, so she won\’t have to overcome that fear when she gets older. We ride near our house with her on her own bike as much as we can. We also ride into downtown with her on the tag-along. Even though she is hooked to me, she gets used to riding in close proximity to moving cars as we ride down streets like NE Broadway.

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  • Scott Mizée June 22, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Looking forward to the next one. The Sunday Parkways today in North Portland also had a TON of kids out on bikes. It was amazing!

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  • KT June 23, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Okay, question:

    Some of the little kids were on pedal-less bikes… where can I find one? I think it would be perfect for my nephew (he\’s 2 and a half)!

    And: loved the shots of the moms with the bakefiets and the lady with the dark dress on the Amsterdam with the little guy!

    Great video, Jonathan!

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  • Angela June 23, 2008 at 10:00 am

    KT – Try clever Cycles!

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