Thank you for your responses to my question last week: What prevents you from biking with your young children?
It was eye-opening to read all the comments, Facebook posts, Twitter replies, and emails. I can’t wait to share them in a future column and dive into the barriers people face when they think of biking with kids.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I had assumed the responses would all be about the expense gear or uncertainty as to what to buy. I hadn’t anticipated anyone would write about bike infrastructure. Not that Portland’s infrastructure is incredibly better than what my boys and I left in Seattle (though it is better!) and there aren’t a lot of point-to-point routes that are suitable all ages abilities (aka “8 to 80”). It’s just that I see so many more families biking here in Portland than I have in any other city (except Dutch cities I’ve visited) that I didn’t realize there were so many of you who aren’t riding.
I want to use future posts to talk about bike infrastructure that works well — or doesn’t ‚ for people who bike with little ones, identify particularly good spots to ride with kids, and share community action we can take — especially if there are events and meetings easy to attend with kids in tow. Today’s post is a bit about all those things: helping Kidical Mass PDX thrive and continue to serve the community.
Two things make it safe to bike in any city: All Ages and Abilities infrastructure and more people biking, no matter the infrastructure. Kidical Mass rides are terrific practice for getting out there with in a big, safe group to experience biking in the street with kids and build confidence for biking more without the group.
Just like I assumed no one felt challenged by our streets, I had mistakenly thought Kidical Mass in Portland was shrinking because so many people were already biking with kids. But it turns out we need to maintain and grow Kidical Mass! Kidical Mass relies on volunteers and there’s a planning meeting coming up this Friday April 6th. No experience is necessary and anyone interested in helping in any capacity should come. I hope to see you there!
Here are the details:
Kidical Mass 2018 Planning Meeting
Friday April 6th at 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Books with Pictures (1100 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202)
Planning Meeting for the 2018 ride calendar. Former leaders, future leaders, the leader-curious, interested parties, community stakeholders, and friends of KM all welcome.
Bring: YOUR 2018 events calendar. A laptop or other internet-connected device. Ideas, dreams, and wishes for Portland’s Family Biking Community. Your best can-do attitude.
1) Visioning: What do we want Kidical Mass to be in 2018 and beyond?
2) Brainstorming: What COULD we do for each month’s ride?
2.5) Collaboration: How can we work with Go By Bike Shop, with Timo’s Portland By Cycle rides, with Portland Sunday Parkways, and others?
3) Planning: What WILL we do for each month? Who will own the event? What are next steps?
* A kid-friendly event, but no dedicated childcare will be provided.*
If you want to get involved but can’t make the meeting, or if you have any Kidical Mass questions, please contact Kidical Mass PDX Director Sara Davidson at scowling [at] gmail [dot] com.
Thanks for reading. Feel free ask questions in the comments below or email me your story ideas and insights at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com.
Browse past Family Biking posts here.
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Madi Carlson (@familyride on Twitter) wrote our Family Biking column from February 2018 to November 2019. She’s the author of Urban Cycling: How to Get to Work, Save Money, and Use Your Bike for City Living (Mountaineers Books).
In her former home of Seattle, Madi was the Board President of Familybike Seattle, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting bicycling as a means for moving towards sustainable lifestyles and communities. She founded Critical Lass Seattle, an easy social group ride for new and experienced bicyclists who identify as women and was the Director of Seattle’s Kidical Mass organization, a monthly ride for families. While she primarily bikes for transportation, Madi also likes racing cyclocross, all-women alleycats, and the Disaster Relief Trials. She has been profiled in the Associated Press, Outdoors NW magazine, CoolMom, and ParentMap, and she contributed to Everyday Bicycling by Elly Blue.