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

These summer bike camps still have a spot for your kid

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Bike camps teach riding skills, bike maintenance, safety, and friendship.
(Photo: Nat Shreffler for Community Cycling Center)

Portland has a wide variety of summer bike camps: Everything from learn-to-ride camps that ease kids onto two wheels to camps that teach advanced riding and repair skills. You might think it’s late in the game to find a spot in one of them, but most area bike camps still have spaces in some sessions.

My son attended his favorite bike camp back when he was five. He decided he wanted “bike racing camp” instead of “regular bike camp” and I found a new camp offered at a bike coaching facility. They started each morning of the week watching Danny MacAskill bike trick videos before pedaling off via multi-use path to a park where the instructor had stashed an obstacle course in the bushes. In addition to the emphasis on riding and tricks, he came home with more art projects from this camp (we still have a precious old bike cranks and duct tape creation) than from the larger, more traditional bike camps he’s attended.
[Read more…]

Family Biking: How to Pedalpalooza with the little ones

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

My kids on the Pedalpalooza Kickoff Ride.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Happy Pedalpalooza! My kids and I joined over a thousand others on the Pedalpalooza Kickoff Ride on Saturday and we’re excited for more bike fun! Hundreds of rides with all sorts of themes for all sorts of people will take place this month and a lot of them are kid friendly.
[Read more…]

In front, in back, or at your side? Where should kids ride?

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

Other than getting confused by Fortnite references, I love riding side by side.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Front, back, side by side — these are all good ways to ride with kids! Different circumstances might call for different positioning during each ride, but I’m curious which configuration is your favorite and why. Non-family bikers, you can play, too, and share your preference(s) for riding with another adult.
[Read more…]

Family Biking: We all fall down

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

Staged photo of a bike crash.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Last week I took the corner into my backyard too slowly, caught my front wheel on a flagstone, and slowly tipped sideways against the side of my house. As time slowed down and/or my brain sped up in the heat of the moment, I thought about my crashes of years past.
[Read more…]

Feeling the strength of moms on Mother’s Day

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

We were all smiles for Mother’s Day.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

After re-reading my last year’s post On the exhaustion of motherhood and why I want to bike with other families on Mother’s Day I realize this is a tiring time of year for me. Despite the too little sleep and too much stress, thanks to my bike I still feel now as I did back when my kids were little: capable, strong, and free.[Read more…]

Grab the kiddos and get ready for the Gorge Pedal

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

Biking with kids in the Columbia River Gorge.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

As much as I love Portland proper and could happily spend all my days right here, I adore visiting the Columbia River Gorge — the waterfalls, the mighty Columbia, the trees, the flowers, the expansive views!
[Read more…]

No school on Bike to School Day, let’s rally with ‘Red for Ed’ instead

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Celebrating Walk to School Day earlier this school year.
(Photo: Madi Carlson)

National Bike to School Day is Wednesday, May 8th. Here in Oregon that falls on the May 8th Day of Action, a teacher walkout that has led to a decision to close Portland Public Schools.[Read more…]

300 people turned out for the annual Kidical Mass Easter Ride!

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

Kidical Mass PDX Co-director Sara Cowling Davidson prepares to lead the ride.
Photos: Madi Carlson

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

With the Easter bunny hopping onto the scene so has arrived biking season! Like myself, you may feel that biking season never closed to begin with, but I still like celebrating the first big Kidical Mass PDX kids-of-all-ages family bike ride of the year on Easter. Also, with Pedalpalooza rides appearing hourly and Sunday Parkways details filtering in, bikey things really are picking up all of a sudden.

Our “season opener” was the biggest one yet with about 300 participants. We enjoyed cool but dry weather and had a wonderful egg hunt at the end. We even made the local TV news! Scroll down for some fun photos and the video coverage from KOIN… [Read more…]

Family Biking: Join us for the annual Kidical Mass Easter Ride

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

We had such a great time last year! Let’s do it again.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Flowers are blooming, the rain feels a bit warmer, and bike shops are off their winter schedules. That means Kidical Mass PDX is back, too! Our “season” typically starts on Easter Sunday with our annual Kidical Mass PDX Easter Ride and Egg Hunt:
[Read more…]

Family Biking: Here’s how to bike to the cherry trees in Waterfront Park

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

Visiting the cherry blossoms by bike on Sunday.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

On Sunday, my boys and I had the same idea as a lot of other Portlanders: visit the cherry blossoms in the Japanese American Historical Plaza. Then while biking home I realized Waterfront Park is incredibly family-friendly to reach by bike from the deepish southeast these days.
[Read more…]