Yikes, August has snuck up on me and the school year is just three weeks away. That means it’s time to plan out your bike-to-school route.
Maybe you moved and have a new address to start from. Or a new school to get to. Or perhaps your child is now on their own bike, or a bigger and faster one. Other changes to account for could be new bike infrastructure between home and school or a big construction project you need to avoid. Whatever the lay of the land, start investigating those routes now so you’re ready to roll by the start of school (Wednesday, August 28th for Portland Public).
I’ve written before about my variety of routes and how they differ based on when I’m riding with the kids or not. I’ve also written about riding on the sidewalk and how it can be a necessary evil for getting part of the way from point A to point B (but hopefully just a temporary one that added bike infrastructure will make moot). These are things at the forefront of my mind when working on my latest and greatest routes to school.
Taking my tips into consideration, do you have a good route mapped out for the coming school year? If not, may your family biking community and I help? I use Facebook and adore the PDX Cargo Bike Gang — which isn’t only people with cargo bikes and also isn’t only family bikers. There are a lot of us in the group and we love sharing advice on family-friendly routes around Portland. You can also ask for route advice in the comments below this post. I don’t yet know this city like the back of my hand like I did my former home of Seattle, but I do know a lot of great routes to take with kids and I know who to go to for help in our various quadrants.
As for our routes, I’m pretty excited about the new bike lanes on SE Foster for getting to Hosford Middle School. I don’t consider paint-buffered bike lanes adequate for kids (nor for adults), but I’ve been using 10 blocks of them a few times each day the last couple months (granted primarily alone, no kids along) and they’re not bad. I find them more pleasant to bike on than SE 52nd. Of course traffic will be much different when school is in session, but I have high hopes we can cut a mile off our commute each day I escort my 12-year old to Hosford.
Do you have any route exploration and plotting planned?
Remember, we’re always looking for people to profile. Get in touch at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com if that sounds like fun to you
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.