This question is for everyone! Portland Public Schools started back up this week and this affects many more people than just biking parents like myself. Did you see anyone biking to school and get a warm, fuzzy feeling? Did you bike to school or bike with a kid to school?
We had a great first day of biking to school, despite my not doing a heck of a lot of planning and figuring out how long things would take. One of the things I like about biking for transportation is being able to just wheel my bike outside, hop on it, and go…versus walking to a bus stop at an appointed time. This works fine for making a trip to the grocery store in the evening or using Google maps’ time estimate when I’m riding somewhere alone using the most direct route, but getting kids to school on time for the first day ideally gets some practicing and number crunching.
While I’m not excited about the extra chunk taken out of my workday biking to two different schools with start times staggered by an hour, I’m jazzed about the new, longer commute. We’ll see more people on bikes, hopefully experience more street improvements, and find more free bookshelves on the side of the road.
This first day my middle schooler came along to the elementary schooler’s drop off (1 mile) so we could continue straight to middle school (3 more miles). This got us to middle school much too early so we killed time at the closest bakery, which is much better than rushing and worrying about being late.
I thought the drizzle would prevent many classmates from biking, but we were in good company — the racks were completely full at Woodstock Elementary and we arrived to cheers for biking to Hosford Middle School, where we joined many other bikes at the racks. We saw several families biking in the opposite direction as we traveled between the two schools and we dinged our bells hello.
Arriving early to each school (I didn’t realize elementary school starts 15 minutes later than it did last year, oops) meant we didn’t experience the full effect of car drop-off traffic, but we got the brunt of it at pick-up time. I think the first day probably had more parents picking up by car than the average day will have and I’m eager to experience less packed streets.
We’d love to hear what you experienced on the streets yesterday.
Please share any first-day-of-school thoughts and stories in the comments! Thanks for reading.
Remember, we’re always looking for people to profile. Get in touch if it sounds like fun to you. I’d especially like to feature families of color so please get in touch or ask friends of color who bike with their kids if they’re interested in sharing their stories. And as always, 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.