Making new family biking traditions

Ready for the parade. (Photo courtesy Shannon Johnson)

I love family traditions: shared annual activities and ritual ways of marking the holidays. There is something soothing about the repetition of the seasons and their celebrations. Children especially look forward to these cyclical festivities. 

As we grow together, we continue to build our repertoire of family feast days and bolster our favorite celebrations with new activities as children grow older.

Now that we are a “biking family,” I can see new biking traditions riding their way into our lives, happily taking their place alongside old favorites. This Fourth of July we rode together in Hillsboro’s pre-parade bike ride, hosted by our local nonprofit WashCo Bikes. The carfree parade route makes for a fabulous family bike ride. For even more fun, riders are encouraged to decorate their bikes and dress for the festivities, which we pulled off last minute…I think we began decorating bikes at 10pm the night before, and raiding closets for red, white, and blue garments and accessories.

In the end, I was thrilled with the result. We and our bikes were all gussied-up for a jovial celebration. It was our first group ride too, and we had a blast while knocking multiple items off our Biking Bucket List (first group ride, and decorate bikes for maximum fun). 

We turned a lot of heads on the cargo bike, which is still a rarity in the U.S., outside of downtown Portland and a few other locales. I love showing people what cargo bikes make possible: big families can ride bikes too! It’s possible to keep riding with young children and even babies — even for an out-of-shape Mama with lots of little ones. And contrary to the expected norm, there is a life that can be lived outside of a minivan stuffed with car seats.

Our Fourth was full of parade candy, picnicking with friends, singing patriotic songs, twirling sparklers and watching fireworks. We’ve done all those things before; but this year we added a new tradition with the pre-parade bike ride, which was easily my favorite part. According to my kids, it was “the best Fourth of July ever!” And my little four-year-old hopefully exclaimed, “I hope we can have a Fourth of July again someday!” Indeed. Just 364 days from now.

Read more from Shannon’s Family Biking Column here.

Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist)

Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist)

Shannon is a 36-year-old mom of  five who lives in downtown Hillsboro. Her column appears weekly. Contact her via

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments