Enjoying summer’s carfree festivals — on our new bike!

Our new family bike at the chalk fest! (Photos: Shannon Johnson)

Aren’t you loving these carfree summertime streets?

We recently enjoyed Hillsboro’s La Strada dei Pastelli Chalk Art Festival. Downtown Hillsboro’s main streets were closed to cars for the occasion, and instead filled with vendors, food trucks, children’s activities, artwork (including chalk art being created by professional artists), and even our personal favorite: Opera. Portland’s Opera a la Cart brought a truck with a fold-out stage and performers who sang their hearts out.

We look forward to events where we can enjoy the arts with our children. The Chalk Art Festival was perfect. We treated ourselves to some food truck fare and then got to listen to favorite opera arias, while our kids colored with the abundantly provided chalk. Later we rolled past the impressive chalk murals as they took shape before our eyes. And best of all, we did it all by bike. 

Yes, our new-to-us electric bike!

It’s a 2017 Bunch Bike with a brand new 36V battery and fully loaded with accessories including a rear rack, front and rear lights, rain cover, and a large front box that can seat four children (including my 7 and 8 year olds). I was able to purchase it (used) for a very generously low price, thanks to the kindness of a fellow park goer, who I met at the playground. After she watched me heave my manual bike-train into motion, she was surprised I didn’t have a motor. “I have an electric bike I’m ready to sell,” she said. “My girls have outgrown it.” (Oh, how tempting!) She offered to let me try it out for a few days. And that was how we met our new kid-hauling electric bicycle.

The Chalk Art Festival provided the perfect opportunity to cruise around on our new ride. We got to see how this electric bike can serve us in a variety of settings, from riding longer distances, to meandering through a hopping festival and market. It’s exciting, incredibly fun, and a wonderful gift for our whole family. I look forward to telling you more about it, as we get to know our new-to-us Bunch. (But don’t worry…I’m not parting with my “acoustic” bike either, though, for the record, I prefer to call it my “manual bike.”)

In either case, I hope you are enjoying the summer festivals and car-free streets. There is plenty of summer left. Don’t let it pass you by. Check a few more items off that Bucket List. And if nothing else, just get on your bike. Happy riding!

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 shannon4bikeportland@gmail.com

Notify of

1 Comment
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Beau McDermott
1 year ago

Congrats on the new-to-you wheels!

Gotta love that R2D2 helmet! ;P