Family biking skills on display at ‘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)

The third annual Fiets of Parenthood event, hosted by Clever Cycles in front of their southeast Portland store yesterday, was a perfect opportunity for parents and kids to show off their riding skills, meet other biking families, and test ride the latest bikes. It’s a natural event for Clever Cycles, the local shop that has played a huge role in ushering in Portland’s family biking era by importing iconic Dutch “bakfiets” family cargo bikes back in 2007.

The event Sunday had that fun and chaotic feel of a festival. A large section of SE 9th and Clay was closed off and there were tons of kids scuttling around on bikes, on foot, and of course, upon various types of kid-carrying bicycles. The little ones worked at the craft station, zipped around on their bikes, played in the Dutchtub mini-pool, and sucked up various vendors’ treats…

The event brought out all types of family bikes. Here’s a sampling…

The forthcoming, Portland-made “Cascade Flyer” midtail by Kinn Bikes.

The main event was an individually timed race around a short obstacle course set up to test city-specific cycling skills.

Kids large and small tore through the course, showing their ability to make sharp turns, go down a curb, hit a teeter-totter ramp, and use a jousting lance. Yes, jousting. To gain maximum time bonuses, riders had to grab a long wooden stick then spear three hoops. The kids were very impressive. From a little tyke on a balance bike, to older kids who got some nice air of the ramp, it’s clear that the coming generation of Portland riders have learned a lot by watching mom and dad all these years…

Speaking of mom and dad, there was also a competition for the parents. To make the course more life-like, the organizers added two cargo stops — one to pick up toys, the other to pick up three bags of groceries. Adults were required to carry at least one child on their bike, and special time bonuses were given with each additional child. There was quite a spectrum of kid capacity on display. On one end you had the guy who completed the course (kid, cargo and all!) with a Brompton folding bike — and on the other you had none other than our local bike celebrity Emily Finch, who completed the course while carrying seven — yes seven — kids along with her. Check out the action…

This event was just the latest example that family biking has reached an exciting tipping point here in Portland. From our “Dutch bike invasion” a few years ago, to the ubiquity of Xtracycles and other long-tail bikes, to the flourishing of our local cargo bike culture and the massive amounts of families that show up when the streets close to cars during Sunday Parkways — parents and kids riding together is quickly becoming the new normal in Portland.

More photos in the gallery.

*Special thanks on this event goes out to Travis Wittwer of

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