Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Kidical Mass; coming soon to a neighborhood near you

Posted by on August 11th, 2008 at 2:09 pm

Kidical Mass!-23.jpg

What’s not to love about Kidical Mass?
(Photos © J. Maus)

Kidical Mass — that kindler, gentler, more family-friendly version of Critical Mass — seems to be catching on in Portland.

It started last April in Eugene and then made its Portland debut a couple months later.

And now, the ride is spreading from its downtown Portland roots into neighborhoods around the city. In addition to the playground in the North Park Blocks (which will always be the original location), folks in Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest can get into the action.

The ladies from community site and blog urbanMamas.com have stepped up to help the BTA organize the rides. You can find out more about ride meeting locations and other details (it’s a potluck!) at urbanMamas.com or at the BTA Blog.

    Kidical Mass in Portland’s neighborhoods
    Friday, August 15th

    N/NE: Peninsula Park
    SE: Sunnyside School
    SE: Sellwood
    NW: North Park Blocks
    SW: meet in Multnomah Village

    6:00PM gather
    6:15PM Safety Talk & Ride!
    7:00PM Post-Ride Potluck Picnic

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. Thank you.

  • Donald August 11, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    If anyone has some route info, please share.

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  • Icarus Falling August 11, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    I think this is great.

    But, I must add that after reading the past posts on Kidical Mass, and seeing in those reports that it was thought to be a smart idea to \”cork\” intersections on a ride involving children, I am very disappointed in those that allowed this to happen.

    I held off commenting about this in the past, but seeing as it has caught on, it must be addressed properly.

    What about the children?

    Not only does corking during such a travesty as \”Critical Mass\” do damage to everything quality cycling is about, but;

    Corking intersections effectively involves running lights, breaking laws, and inviting danger to find you.

    Doing this with children in tow is just a case of being horribly irresponsible.

    Now I know you are all going to get pissed at me here for saying that, but I am right.

    I also know that you are going to tell me that some kids cannot make it through a light cycle fast enough, so they have to be corked. This would point out the fact that this child is not ready to even be on a Kidical Mass ride.

    And no argument on anybodies part will change this fact.

    I hope Kidical Mass can continue, and be fun for everyone, but in a more responsible manner.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 11, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Mr. Icarus,

    as someone who was on the first Portland Kidical Mass, let me just say that there are many shades of corking.

    Also, not every intersection is corked as a matter of course. large, signalized intersections were obeyed as necessary.

    A few smaller, stop sign intersections were corked, by smiling and waving of parties on both sides of the windshield.

    I understand your concerns, but I can assure you that the utmost attention to safety is adhered to on these rides.


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  • Icarus Falling August 11, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Jonathan, you do know me beyond any sort of postings or comments, and of course realize I would have only the concerns of the children in mind.

    I also know that parents there would also have those concerns in mind.

    It was how it was presented that caused me quite a bit of concern, as you might imagine.

    I am of course not trying to be negative, nor troll, but instead entirely productive, and safer.

    Thanks for your response….

    Keep up the good work!

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  • Bruce August 11, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Hey Icarus, I agree with you!

    Will someone please explain how blocking traffic and pissing people off is furthering the \”go by bike\” movement? What happened to \”Do unto others as you\’d have them do unto you\”?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 11, 2008 at 3:23 pm


    the point I was trying to make is that there is no \”pissing people off\” on these rides. when/if corking is done it is usually encouraged by the folks in cars because they are so tickled to watch us pass that they wave us along!

    again, thanks for your concerns.

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  • Bruce August 11, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Hi Jonathan-

    It just seems from the media reports of \”Critical Mass\” rides that the intent of at least some of the riders has been to antagonize people in cars, and to be generally disruptive of our community.

    I think setting a good example (to people in cars as well as to our kids) will go alot farther,in the long run, toward creating harmony on our roads.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 11, 2008 at 3:54 pm


    Please understand that Kidical Mass has nothing in common with Critical Mass except for a similar sounding name.

    As for setting a good example, I agree with you completely. thanks again for your comments.

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  • Anonymous August 11, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    I agree with you Icarus and Bruce…

    I also highly disagree that drivers are \”tickled\”. Anytime I\’m blocked when people are supposed to be stopped at a stop sign, I\’m irritated.

    Teaching kids this behavior is irresponsible.

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  • a.O August 11, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Dabby, er, I mean Icarus is worried about you creating a whole new generation of CM\’ers, Jonathan!

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  • KT August 11, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    I\’m going to get in trouble for this, but….

    What are we teaching our kids here?

    Not only that it\’s okay to ride bikes everywhere, but that it\’s okay for your friends to block intersections so everyone else in your posse can run the stop sign.

    I\’ve always maintained that it\’s up to the parents to provide a good example to their kids on proper social etiquette; it\’s even more important to teach them to be good road users!

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  • Donald August 11, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    I don\’t think anyone in this kidical mass semi-movement is espousing Last Friday manuevers with Burley Doubles and Trail a Bikes.

    I\’m a parent and cyclist. If I take my lads out on a ride, especially one as semmingly semi-planned as this, I\’m fully prepared to judge the situation at each and every intersection and act accordingly.

    Will I pledge to stop my forward momentum at every regulated intersection? No.

    Will I deliberately put two kids in the path of a possibly angry cager just to prove a point? What do you think?

    I\’m taking a deep breath and getting recentered on this discussion.

    I really feel that unoffical family rides on public streets shouldn\’t be a concern beyond the folks riding in them.

    Deep breath out.

    Now, given the urbanmommas obvious slant towards Extracycles, my challenge still stands: My Trailabike copilot will joust any extracycle non-stoker up to the challenge.

    Pedal or perish.

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  • Steven M. August 11, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Wow some of you guys are really up tight. It teaches them appreciation of the usage of bicycles at an early age that will hopefully carry through their life time. It is also a good time, like going to the park and playing around, it is a bunch of adults getting together so their kids can interact.

    Plus if you are angered by being held up for a minute at an intersection because a group of laughing and smiling tiny kids are biking past, you are probably a pretty horrible person anyways.

    Plus Jonathon already said no seems to be upset by parents corking a bit and keeping their children safe.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 11, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    it would be great to hear from someone else who has been on one of these Kidical Mass rides. I fear that some of you are getting the wrong idea about all this.

    i am amazed at the way some of you are characterizing the behavior on these rides as being reckless or blatantly law-breaking even when you have not been present on them yourself.

    when a group of people with children on bikes approaches an intersection, sometimes it is safer for everyone involved for the entire group to go through at once. this is especially preferred when the motor vehicles at the intersection are the ones encouraging this to happen and everyone is in direct visual and verbal communication and agreement.

    again, i can assure you that everyone on these rides knows about modeling proper behavior for children… the BTA happen to be professionals at doing just that!

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  • KT August 11, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Jonathan, I wasn\’t meaning to characterize this ride as \”reckless\” or \”blatantly law-breaking\”… however when people say that they cork intersections so the \”parade\” can all get through the intersection together, that sounds to me like a blatant law-breaking maneuver.

    I think of Kidical Mass (or really, any ride with kids or other people) as a series of learning moments:

    Kids learn that riding bikes is fun!
    Kids (and maybe some adults) learn that you have to obey the rules of the road, and what those rules are!
    Kids (and some adults) learn that you CAN get there by bike!

    And yeah, if you can\’t wait 30 seconds for a parade of kids on bikes chaperoned by adults to go by, well, tough. 🙂 It doesn\’t make you a bad person, overall, it makes you an impatient jerk at that time.

    I\’m not uptight, I\’m concerned for the impression kids are getting.

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  • Gabriel McGovern August 11, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Please understand that Kidical Mass has nothing in common with Critical Mass except for a similar sounding name.

    I find this hard to believe. Then again, I feel that most people have the wrong idea about critical mass. Everyone that I have ridden on was peaceful and respectful. Just like I suspect that Kidical Mass rides are 😉

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  • Icarus Falling August 11, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    I based my comment and concerns solely on the information contained in the prior post on Kidical Mass. As it was stated that intersections were corked, and very small and older children rode through them at that time.
    (as in during Pedalpalalablah)

    My reference to C.M. was only in reference to the damage the attitude that follows corking does. And to what we may be teaching our children to believe is ok to do.

    I know the Kidical mass is not related to C.M. except by the sound of the name.

    I do still have concerns for children being lead illegally through intersections, even after Jonathan\’s explanations. And these concerns are easily justified.

    Hope everyone has fun on Kidical Mass though!!!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 11, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Icarus and KT,

    your points have been heard. Thanks again for your concerns.

    I agree we must be especially careful of how children are taught to behave on our roads.


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  • Metal Cowboy August 11, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    I plan to be on the next kidical mass ride, I had the founder of kidical mass, Paul Adkins up from Eugene staying in my house over the weekend for the family Bridge Pedal ride, and in all our discussions about many bicycle related things over the weekend, never did the subject of angry drivers honking or waving fists at a group of families out for a kidical mass ride come up. His intent for these rides is not to mimick CM events – it was just a fun play on words.

    I agee that if people get worked up over a family needing a few extra seconds to cross the intersection, thean it is time to evaluate where things went wrong in your life.

    I do family rides all over Portland, and I kind of represent a kidical mass ride all by myself with three kids in tow and often my wife carting the toddler in a trailer while my older friend\’s kids riding on one of the tandem seats or their bikes with us etc. the combos are endless. I had half a dozen kids pedaling over to dishman pool over the weekend. I was the only person with a driver\’s liscense.

    I find that it\’s all in the approach to these things. We smile, obey rules, don\’t run lights, but if cars wave us through 4 way stops or cars have to wait a few seconds longer while I slow in the intersection to make sure the little ducklings make it safely across – I\’m gonna do this with a smile and a wave, not some sense of entitlement or I dare you to say anything attitude. In my years, not days or weeks, but years of rolling around P-town with kids, we have not had any problems. When I have received the occasional foul word from a driver who doesn\’t think they should share the road with cyclists, kids or not, I give them the fingers – two fingers in the shape of a peace sign. This has actually been responded to at a light by someone leaning out and apologizing for honking and swearing – saying he\’d let the day get to him was all. My boys gave him the thumbs up. I think they\’ve learned to model my behavior. Which is why it\’s so important for cyclists to know that whether they want to be role models or not, everyone is watching.

    This might sound like rainbow and unicorns talk but these are our pervasive and daily experiences. I thought I\’d share a few of them to give readers another view of the road out there for family riding. If you are considering ditching the car or using it less now AND whent he weather turns, but you have kids and worry – don\’t! As one parent said to me today \”What with all the stuff that\’s been happening that I read in the newspaper, you\’re a real road warrior to take your kids out.\” Hogwash!!! We\’re not riding in the same mythical city described at times in The Oregonian. Accidents happen, rage occurs in any big city, but this is a dream city to ride with anyone, kids included. See you on Friday. We\’ll be at the Peninsula event.

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  • Nat West August 11, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    \”it would be great to hear from someone else who has been on one of these Kidical Mass rides. I fear that some of you are getting the wrong idea about all this.\”

    That would be me, I attended last month\’s ride in downtown.

    There was no \”corking\”. Corking is a CM term and a CM action. What did occur on only one occasion (as I remember), was a little 4 yr old on a Skuut was out in front of his pack and effectively blew a stop sign. The parents FREAKED OUT and the courteous driver LAUGHED. The Skuut kid had been trying to catch up to the pack farther ahead (where I was).

    Corking pisses off drivers. Many drivers will happily yield their legal turn to a biker at an intersection – we\’ve all seen this happen. You arrive at an intersection and another driver cedes his turn to you out of courtesy, a nice gesture. That\’s what happened at last month\’s Kidical Mass ride in downtown PDX, and I believe that kind of occurrence will happen again. So chill out all you ****s.

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  • Donald August 11, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Joust challenge still stands.

    Behold, for we are the Bepeddaled Tilters of Peninsula Park.

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  • girl on a bike August 11, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    I\’m not a fan of Critical Mass for a number of reasons, but I don\’t get how asking someone to wait for 30 seconds longer at a stop sign is such a horrible thing to do. That kind of thing happens all the time whether you\’re riding or driving, and having it happen for a positive reason really should make a difference to the people who are experiencing it. I got held up through two green lights while riding last week behind an incredibly timid driver who had multiple safe chances to make her turn. I suppose that could have pissed me off, but it was just a little inconvenience. I rolled my eyes, but why would I let it anger me beyond that?

    To give this some perspective, I was in SF a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday. At 11 am, smack dab in the middle of Stockton St. in Chinatown, a funeral parade started, consisting of a marching band and no fewer than 40 VERY slow moving cars. Motorcycle cops were leading the procession, and they were cutting off car and foot traffic in all directions to allow the parade to continue through streets that were literally packed with people. At one point, the parade turned left toward downtown, and we were trapped on the street corner, unable to cross in any direction until there was a sufficient gap in the line of vehicles that the cop decided to let a few people through.

    The thing is, funeral parades don\’t happen all the time in Chinatown … and Critical Mass doesn\’t happen all the time either. However much I don\’t like what CM has become, it happens for about two hours a month, and most potentially conflict-producing situations would pass in a matter of 30 seconds or less if people would simply remain calm. So, some drivers don\’t like it when they\’re made to wait 30 seconds to let a line of little kids on bikes go through the intersection safely with their group. I don\’t like waiting behind bad drivers who don\’t know how and when to proceed … or drivers in large vehicles who decide to sit in the middle of a narrow street and carry on a conversation through their rolled-down window with another driver, while I wait behind them because it\’s not safe to pass. It isn\’t written anywhere that we are entitled to nice, quick little waits while we\’re in traffic. But it IS written into the laws that we all need to adjust our behavior to accommodate arising situations, whether that means slowing down in bad weather, or stopping for emergency vehicles that need to pass. And while I don\’t advocate that people hold up traffic intentionally for frivolous reasons, it\’s going to happen now and then, and people really need to learn how to deal with it reasonably when it does.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 11, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    \”You arrive at an intersection and another driver cedes his turn to you out of courtesy, a nice gesture. That’s what happened at last month’s Kidical Mass ride in downtown PDX, and I believe that kind of occurrence will happen again. So chill out all you dorks.\”

    thanks for clearing that up Nat… sorry for using the forbidden \”corking\” term. i should have known better.

    and by the way, there\’s no reason to call anyone names.


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  • Ethan August 11, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    We\’ll be there.

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  • Shane August 11, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Wow, Jonathan, your commenters have gotten \’excited\’ these past couple months haven\’t they?!

    As one of the originators of Kidical Mass I thought I\’d pop a couple positive words in here. We started this ride one day when Ted White was coming to town for a lecture and visit (he lived in Eugene for awhile… back in the day when Eugene was the most \’platinum\’ bike town of Oregon- remember that?!). Ted had done a documentary on Critical Mass a few years back and when I was talking to him about his visit I said it would be fun to do a big group ride with him but something different than a CM. Since he has a kid and I\’ve been working for Safe Routes to School we were talking about fun and safe ways to get more families to ride and the idea of Kidical Mass came to me.

    The idea was simple- get a bunch of families, kids, and kids at heart together in a park and then go for a safe, legal and fun bike ride together to get ice cream! It would be a comfortable place for families who might not feel safe riding on city streets on their own but could have the \’support group\’ there to show them the good back streets and the best \’road practices\’. We stressed the personal responsibility of each individual and their families. We never cork, don\’t yell \”clear\”, stop at stop signs and red lights, do a lot of laughing and waving, and get A LOT of smiles! We would pull over and wait for folks to catch up when needed.

    The ice cream is always a big hit and we\’ve been ending at parks more now- to let the kids continue burning off the energy they didn\’t during the ride and letting the parents network, compare gear and talk traffic tactics.

    Kidical Mass is a fun bike ride. That\’s it. If you pull something negative out of it your looking for the negative in life. Turn that frown upside down brown!

    Bring out your kid, or the kid in you, and join us.

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  • Donald August 11, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Skuuts Rule and I\’m a Dork!

    We will so be there.

    (I\’ve got a great pic of Jeanie Longo cheering my Skutting lad to victory in his age bracket down at Mt. Hood Classic this year. Seriously. She\’s right there.)

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  • Icarus Falling August 11, 2008 at 6:27 pm


    Calling people who are simply concerned for the safety of children, and for that matter fear the backlash of the actions of others, is childish in itself.

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  • SkidMark August 11, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    So, if you don\’t cork, do you pull over after the light and wait for the rest, or do you let cars get interspersed with the group ride? Cars in the middle of a bike group ride is an accident waiting to happen.

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  • Deborah August 11, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Can this grandma come and cycle with ya\’ all without her grandson? He lives a couple thousand miles away, this sounds like great family fun. Anyone need a grandma?

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  • Zaphod August 11, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    I\’ll be there with the 3 yr old on the Xtra and the 5 rolling solo on his little 16\” wheeled machine. I hope to have his set of disk brake wheels laced up and ready to go. The coaster brake just isn\’t cutting it anymore. I know he\’s only 5 but I can move the Avid BB7\’s from bike-to-bike as he gets older.

    The cool thing about the Xtra is that if the 5 year old gets tired, it takes about 10 seconds to strap the bike onboard and have the kid jump on for a free ride home. Kids are full of energy … until they\’re not. Then one extra pedal stroke is just too hard.

    For those that have not ridden around kids or with a kid trailer, it\’s a different world.

    I was carrying a a few boxes of fruit in the kid trailer but with the thing closed up so drivers didn\’t know what I had inside. I found that I got waved through so many intersections. It took me a few stops before I sorted out the change in driver behavior. By not having the kids actually present with this happening was really enlightening.

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  • JayS. August 11, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    I was at the first Portland KM and will be at one of this months for sure. It was fantastic. I was a little surprised that this \”law abiding\” ride was not. There were corked intersections and large groups going through stop signs.

    Did I see any upset drivers as a result? Absolutely not!! People were waving, smiling and giving us the right of way when it was not ours to have. This happens to our family every day and only increases exponentially when you have more kids (not as often if the kids are hidden in a trailer). While commuting it is an annoyance to be given right of way when it is not ours and often times is not safe. On KM #1 Drivers at four way stops would wave the group through if someone mid pack stopped at a sign. They knew we were together and seemed patient and entertained. The group did get spit into two large packs at one light. At the next light group 1 caught up to group 2 and we proceeded together.

    Would I like to see this be a law abiding event? yes and no. In particular I think that could be very hard downtown. Should we stop at the stop sign and point to it when drivers try to wave us through like I do when I\’m commuting? I\’m not sure. (will look all ways first if I do accept the wave) I think with a ride like this instead of corkers we need to use appropriate judgment. Surely we should stop and split if a light turns red. Stop signs on low traffic streets, seems that we can cross as multiple groups instead of each family/individual stopping.

    On another note. What I would love to see is people riding on the same set up they would in normal traffic. If your kid is not ready to be in the street on there own bike in regular traffic then in my opinion) they shouldn\’t be in the street in traffic just because it is KM. Children should be able to ride a straight line. If you wouldn\’t put your child in downtown traffic on a running bike or Skutt every day then they shouldn\’t be on a Skutt during KM. Please do bring your young ones, just do it the way you would ride through that area as a family. Our seven year old can ride two miles to the pool on low traffic streets on her own, but going downtown or four miles across town to school she rides on our tandem. KM she was on board with dad just like we are when we are traffic.

    I also think it is important that parents be responsible for your kids during this ride. A few times one of the youngest was FAR from there parent. While we were all acting as mother hen it was worrisome to suddenly gain an extra chick who may not have been ready to be on the street on there own in the first place. Fortunitly, it sounds like we will have more Sunday Parkways like events in the future to get the tykes out on the closed roads.

    Shane, I was clearly not on the same ride as you people were calling \”clear\” intersections were corked and not everyone stopped for every sign. I still felt safe and never felt any drivers were frustrated or unaware of what was happening. Of course I\’m sure our traffic and Eugene traffic are worlds different. We did have lots of fun, do lots of laughing, produce perma-grins that held for days and eat yummy ice cream.

    Perhaps some of these issues should be discussed during the pre-ride briefing.

    If our motto is \”we are traffic\”, lets show who we are when we are traffic, not when we are on parade.

    Hope to see you all on the road and at a KM near you.

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  • Eileen August 11, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    No offense to Icarus and others because I do see your point, but, I have to let you know that kids are not idiots and I think they will know the difference between going on a mass ride with a bunch of other bikes and when they are just with mom and need to stop at all the intersections. Didn\’t any of you ever ride your bike in a parade when you were a kid? I remember being pulled by my brother in a wagon in 1976 wearing some dorky red, white and blue outfits. And yes, I\’m pretty sure all the intersections were blocked (I\’m not sure what corked means)but it did not affect our ability to cross a street and look both ways under normal circumstances. I don\’t really see what\’s wrong with someone in the group jumping up to direct traffic while people cross the intersection. Is that really illegal? I have done that as a teacher when taking students on a field trip. I was pretty sure I wasn\’t going to be arrested, but wouldn\’t that have been embarrassing? I don\’t know, I think, as zaphod stated, when you are with kids, the rules are different. I mean, what kind of scrooge is going to get angry to see a parade of kids on bikes go by? Honestly, how cute will that be?

    Anyway, we already have plans that day or I would love to bring my kids. I look forward to hearing about more of these.

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  • JayS. August 11, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Deborah, Our family will claim you if you feel a need to be with someone.

    Zaph, I know what you mean about the change in driver attitude. See my post that I was composing while you posted about how much more it changes when they see an actual kid.

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  • Donald August 11, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    It\’s on Skidmark: My kid on a trailabike, you on…your choice. Jousting at 300 paces.

    Be there or…don\’t.

    (be cool though, my wife doesn\’t think our insurance covers this kinda sh!t.)

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  • Afro Biker August 11, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    Why have any association with Critical Mass at all? CM is nothing but a mob…thugs who don\’t care about cycling at all but just looking for an excuse to cause anarchy. I challenge anyone to convince me otherwise.

    The only thing they excel at is making life harder for real cyclists. What a shame those idiots seem to get the most attention and who many mistakenly identify as \”cyclists\”.

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  • Eileen August 11, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    Deborah, I meant to add, I say go! The more adult eyes watching over things the better. I\’m sure your presence will be appreciated. We can all use extra grandmas. If you need to borrow some grandkids, just let me know. =)

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  • Icarus Falling August 11, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Thank you Jay S. for your unfettered and honest view on the K.M. you were involved in.

    While some may see a perfectly buttered muffin, others might see a fattening, but still delicious, greasy mess.

    My thoughts and concerns really do echo your sentiment on the issue.

    The way I wrote it may not have come across that way.

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  • joe August 12, 2008 at 9:05 am

    what a fun event – almost makes me want to have a few kids. seems like you all are doing a good job of raising kids who understand the power of collective fun.

    whatever phrase you wanna use, keeping the ride together is the way to keep it safe and fun. also, dividing the ride into quadrants is a great way to avoid ppb presence(if they do give a 3 year old a ticket, please please get that photo!).

    I would encourage the organizers to keep up the great work and to use signs and their words to communicate with the drivers who will suffer the 3 minute delay.

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  • Eileen August 12, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Jay, I think we were posting at the same time yesterday. Your comments make a lot of sense, but it kind of makes me feel like I couldn\’t bring my kids yet. I guess I had thought the point of the ride was to give the kids a chance to get out there and get a little practice on the street in a relatively controlled environment. I certainly wouldn\’t ever let my kids ride downtown under normal circumstances. We actually take the bus or the train if we go down there now. Heck, I don\’t even like to drive downtown! I guess I am still a bit of a small-town girl and sometimes it makes me sad that I can\’t just set my kids loose the way I got to as a kid.

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  • Nat West August 12, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    I used the term \”dorks\” in an affectionate way. Like \”you\’re a bike dork\”, i.e. an aficionado. I\’m a bike dork too. Alas the intarwebs stink for innuendo.

    Interesting to hear the other reports about KM #1 vs my experience with KM #2. KM #3 should be BIG, so maybe size has something to do with the levels of corking. Or maybe after seeing KM #1 in action, the ride leaders decided to lean hard on the rules of the road for future events.

    I\’ll be there this Friday with my 4yr old in the seat, obeying all the rules except for when a smiling driver waves me through an intersection. That\’s not breaking the law in my book. That\’s humanity.

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  • KT August 12, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Eileen: KM isn\’t a parade… your post #32 alludes to \”parades\”, and by all I\’ve read, Kidical Mass is a ride on open, public roads, not a parade.

    Yes, in a parade, roads are closed to other traffic– which is what you described riding in as a child.

    But Kidical Mass is a ride on open public roads… and jumping off the front to stand in the middle of the road and direct traffic is rude and, I believe, illegal.

    And yeah, kids aren\’t stupid; they know what rules to push and what ones to obey. So what you\’re saying is that when kids ride with the parents, it\’s time to obey the rules, but when they ride in a large group, it\’s okay to not obey the rules??

    So… it\’s okay for the kids to not obey the rules in Kidical Mass… but what about when they ride with a bunch of their friends, outside of an organized event?

    See what I\’m saying?

    I\’m not trying to come across as all huffy and outraged by this event. I think it\’s a great idea. I just think that, whenever possible, parents and responsible adults need to take advantage of learning moments, to teach the young \’uns proper ride etiquette and safety, safety, safety.

    Sorry if that makes me a dork. Or whatever you were calling people, it got moderated out.

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  • Eileen August 12, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    KT, I know it\’s not a parade, but I was just using that as an example of something similar and just the fact that kids know when a situation is not normal and that the rules are a little different. I don\’t think that kids riding across intersections where an adult is holding up traffic for them is going to cause them to dart across intersections without looking in normal circumstances. Like I said, in light of what people have said about it on here, I don\’t think my family is ready for this type of event. We will wait until both are riding 2 wheels with confidence, whenever that may be. I was hoping this summer but this isn\’t our year. I think it would be fun if there were a kid-speed event where kids could ride downtown just for the experience. Sometimes it can just be about the love of riding and building that feeling in them, especially for the ones who lack confidence, instead of about learning traffic rules. City kids don\’t get enough of that I\’m afraid. Maybe that event should happen on the springwater trail. Apparently this is not the one.

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  • Eileen August 12, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Oh, and I didn\’t use any words that got moderated out. And I didn\’t intend any disrespect to the people expressing concerns.

    I think it\’s okay for rules to be different at different times. For example, we never have candy or junk food at my house, but when it\’s a party, I don\’t limit them in any way. They don\’t feel deprived, but they know that candy is for special occasions, not every day. They\’re allowed to break bedtime when there\’s a babysitter, watch too much tv when they\’re sick, etc. I think being moderate in this way helps them to be moderate as an adult instead of having to rebel and go too far the other way. Some things are non-negotiable, like helmets, but on a special day, for a special ride, I would think bending the rules a little would be okay. I can\’t speak for all kids, but my kids would know the difference and be able to adjust.

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  • JayS. August 12, 2008 at 5:45 pm


    I am not trying to discourage anyone from participating. I just feel that we are on open roads and need to act it. If your child is ready for that on there own bike excellent. If they are not ready to be on there own please put them in the trailer or child seat or whatever your family uses. If you don\’t have a family bike style worked out I may know someone who would loan out a trailer for KM 😉

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  • Eileen August 12, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Oh, I understand that Jay and I appreciate you warning me ahead of what type of event it will be. I did have a trailer but I got rid of it because at a combined weight of over 90 lbs. I just didn\’t feel comfortable hauling both kids. Even empty I didn\’t love the trailer. Maybe if I were less of a wimp.=) We ride our bikes for fun around the side streets with sidewalks in our neighborhood and we ride the bus (or drive) to get around for now. Maybe in a few years they\’ll be ready for riding on the street.

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  • JayS. August 12, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    I also must say my opinions are just that my opinions. I have never had a talk with anyone about the goals of this event or the organizing of this event. I am just one person from a family of bike heavy commuters who has my own views and wants to get MORE FAMILIES ON BIKES EVERY DAY. Thus far I rarely feel like I have much impact, other than being seen on a bike, which does make a difference hence the existence of KM.

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  • eileen August 12, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    Oh Jay, you are having an impact and more and more people are considering it. Just yesterday my sister, who is pregnant with #2, was marvelling at the \”bucket bike\” she saw with a guy and 3 kids. I\’m pretty sure it was a bakfiets from her description. But we were both having the conversation about how to make it work with kids and if we can do it because we used to love to ride bikes and are both itching to go on family rides (their backyard overlooks the springwater trail!). Neither of us is convinced yet, but maybe that is because we are both short little women with even shorter legs! But it\’s a conversation we\’re starting to have, similar to conversations about cloth diapers that we had a few years ago which now seems like no big deal, and it is because we see people doing it and think, wow, I never thought of THAT. So don\’t give up hope and know that I have TREMENDOUS respect for what you\’re doing. You are hugely, inspiring and awesomely awesome to do that with your kids, all of you!

    Maybe it is because I\’m up too late, but lately I\’ve had this feeling and I\’m wondering, despite all the negativity, does anyone else feel the momentum and get the sense that we are on the brink of something amazing here? It\’s like someday people will look back on this place and this time and say, oh to have lived in Portland in 2009, the way they wished they\’d lived in Haight-Ashbury in 1967. It makes me all twittery to think of all the ideas and possibilities in bud right now. Okay, so I\’m the real dork.=)

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  • Angela Koch August 13, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Wow. There\’s a lot of excitement here! I encourage any of you who are so genuinely concerned about the children\’s safety to come join one of these rides. The sole intent is to get kids on the roads, be safe and have fun doing it. If we happen to grow to be a huge group, so be it.

    I led the first Portland ride and did notice some folks entering into that gray area of stopping traffic to allow us to flow through, but it was in the mother duck leading her ducklings to safety way, not in the banging on car hoods and throwing a tantrum way.

    And there has been not one single upset driver or pedestrian. Not one.

    Because of our safety concerns, on the second ride I made a more direct safety pitch to all adults that we would follow all laws and we would stop in a safe way, pull to the side and wait for the rest of our group to join us rather than shove us all through intersections.

    I find it interesting to see such a long, drawn out conversation about this based upon absolutely zero experience! Had you been there, you would have seen the utmost attention to safety and laws, and you would have likely been frustrated at how super duper slow the ride was.

    It\’s nothing like you\’ve ever experienced and it\’s the most remarkable event I\’ve even been involved in. Those kids are very serious about their hand and verbal signals and the adults are all incredibly supportive of each other and our role in modeling good behavior for the kids.

    Seriously, before you write in to knock this thing down, please come out and join the ride. We need kid-free adults to help keep an eye on things. And if you notice ways we can improve I\’m always more than happy to listen and make improvements.

    But please, refrain from passing judgment if you have not been on this ride. Getting more kids and families on the road makes this a better community for all of us so please try to play a positive role by not scaring folks away from something that you haven\’t even seen.

    And if you were on the ride and did not share your concerns, my apologies for not reaching out more. I will say, I have not fielded any complaints outside of what I\’ve read here.

    As for ride routes, ride leaders from the BTA will be at each ride location with a route map that will have been pre-planned with a neighborhood liaison that they have coordinated with. The BTA folks will also lead the safety talk and will be more than happy to listen to your thoughts, concerns, praise or suggestions. We will not publish the ride routes as our final planning will take place on Friday.

    Also, the downtown (original) ride is an Eye to Eye campaign event and we\’ll be serving root beer floats using the Portland Platinum root beer pump and ice cream that has been donated from Ben & Jerry\’s

    Can\’t wait to see you there!

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  • Donald August 13, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Well, since I\’m getting no nerfjoust takers, my stoker and I would still love to see any route info as available.

    Dad wants to pre-run.

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