Family Biking: Kids + leaves = fun!

Crunch! Riding through leaves is fun.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

Dry leaves, that is!

Kids, bikes, and dry leaves go together like hungry tummies and bagfuls of leftover Halloween candy first thing in the morning — great fun until those digestive juices (or rain drops) kick in.

Wet leaves are bad — they’re very slippery, and when they overtake the bike lane they’re a menace that’s hard to avoid, but crunching through dry leaves is our (yes, me, too) favorite thing about this time of year.


Be wary of hitchhiker leaves.

Of course it’s always wise to avoid any obstacle — dry leaves can hide all sorts of things like potholes, glass, sticks, caterpillars, and dog poo. But we’ve been enjoying the crunchy dry-leaf soundtrack the last few days. We didn’t encounter any real obstacles, though I fished a leaf out of a derailleur when we were already stopped for photo taking. It probably would have come free on its own. In fact, while I find the sound of a leaf caught in a fender annoying my kids make a game of it and refer to the ongoing hum as “an e-assist.” Repeatedly. Until I laugh with them about it.

Do you go out of your way to crunch through dry leaves? Or do you have any leaf horror stories I can add to my anecdotes of reasons to think twice about charging into leaf piles? Thanks for reading!

Note: disrupting neighbors’ carefully collected piles of leaves isn’t cool so look for blankets of fallen leaves or make your own piles to ride through.

Remember, we’re always looking for people to profile. Get in touch at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com if it sounds like fun to you.


Madi Carlson

Madi Carlson

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.

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jered bogli
jered bogli
4 years ago

I’ve been all about mid-commute skidzzzz in the leaves up Williams. From the Rose Quarter all the way up – great spots to lock the back break and get sideways… Brings a giant grin to my face and makes the commute 100% better. (always check to see if anyone is cat6 drafting you first…safety third!)

Johnny Bye Carter
Johnny Bye Carter
4 years ago

Just a couple weeks ago I was mentioning to the kiddo not to ride through large leaf piles because you don’t know what, or who, might be in them.

I think of the kids that were killed when a driver went through a leaf pile they were under.