About Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist)

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist)

Madi Carlson (aka @familyride) began writing our Family Biking column in February 2018. 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.


Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) Posts

How to throw a winter bike-to-school party

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

Pretty great turnout for a near-freezing morning in February!
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

It may not feel like it right now, but spring is right around the corner, and not long after that comes Bike to School Day (May 8th). Why not throw an “off-season” bike-to-school party to celebrate the winter bikers, walkers, and rollers, and build excitement for those better days on the horizon?

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

At Woodstock Elementary, we just threw a party, very much like our October Walk to School Day Party. My co-conspirator Carolyn and I chose our date to fall close to the Worst Day of the Year Ride, which seemed like a terrific idea on a balmy Wednesday two months ago, though I admit I went into the morning a little anxious about making people hang out in the 29-degree cold for 20 minutes before the schoolday started. (Spoiler alert: it was fine!)[Read more…]

Family Biking: Learning to ride a pedal bike

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

Baby’s first pedal stroke!
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Hey kids, how’s it going with those new Christmas bikes? For some of us, it takes a while to get pedaling — my younger brother started riding without training wheels long before I was able to. But fear not, I have some tips for you!

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

Remove your pedals
Turn that bike temporarily into a balance bike! Even if — actually, especially if — you’re graduating from a balance bike, your new pedal bike is going to be bigger and heavier and you’ll appreciate getting used to its heft before you need to add a new skill.[Read more…]

Family Biking: No, you don’t need an e-bike (but you’d love having one)

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

On a rental e-bike in the summer of 2016.
(Photo: Cory Poole)

Last week’s profile of the carfree Kurten family sparked some great comments about e-bikes. In the near future, I’ll write about various types of e-assists, where to test ride, rent, buy, and have them serviced. But today I’m going to write about the opposite: not having an e-bike.
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Family biking profile: For the Kurtens, the right bikes helped them go carfree

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

One of the Kurten kids and one of the trusty family vehicles.
(Photos: Jonathan Kurten)

This week we’ll share a profile of the Kurten family.

Portlanders Jonathan and Tracy Kurten have been able to replace tricky transit trips and car trips with joyful bike trips — thanks in part to their useful new bikes.[Read more…]

Join the family biking fun at Kidical Mass planning meeting

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Kidical Mass kicks off in April with the annual egg hunt ride.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Want to help more families ride bikes?

We’ve just scheduled the 2019 Kidical Mass PDX planning meeting (details below) and everyone’s invited.

[Read more…]

Family Biking: Join us for a new ‘Storytime’ event series

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

Storytime! 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month January-March.
(*Thank you to Liz Holladay from Clever Cycles for the bike-riding book illustration and to Leslie Hickey of Hoarfrost Press for the graphic lettering.)

I’m still chugging away at trying to pedal more throughout the winter in an attempt to keep my winter blahs at bay, but I’ve decided to supplement things with some indoor bike-related fun for the off-season. Enter Bike Shop Storytime.
[Read more…]

Family Biking: Share your new bike stories!

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

New bikes don’t care about the weather!
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

I don’t observe Christmas myself, but I’m happy to celebrate it with other people. One of my favorite parts of this season seeing kids and adults on new (or new-to-them) bikes.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

[Read more…]

Family biking profile: New(ish) rider Kaylen Boroff and her toddler take to the streets

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

Kaylen and Casey are ready for the rain!
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

This week we’re going to share a profile of a local family biker.

Kaylen Boroff is relatively new to Portland and has embraced bicycling for transportation with her toddler son in tow.
[Read more…]

Family Biking: Beyond mama bear rage and toward healthier responses to bad drivers

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

Try “Wow, someone’s in a hurry” in place of “Slow the f— down!”
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

As the days get shorter, wetter, and colder it feels like more people are driving faster, less predictably, and more assholishly.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

I used to get all heated-up about people driving unsafely around me and my kids. You know, like a protective mama bear. Grrr. I once angrily pantomimed hanging up a phone at a woman talking on her cell while running a stop sign in front of us and I’ve even thumped the trunk of a car after its driver barreled into the crosswalk against a red light, coming within an inch of my front wheel.

The thing is, reacting angrily just leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, not to mention doesn’t set the best example for my kids. So I’ve drastically changed my reactions. I’m not perfect and slip from time-to-time (mama bears gonna mama bear), but keeping my cool has vastly improved my quality of life despite still sharing some roads with people misusing two-ton battering rams.[Read more…]

Family biking: Our annual tree-by-bike tradition

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

An annual tradition.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)


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