About Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist)

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist)

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.

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) Posts

Family Biking: Volunteer for new middle-schooler community rides

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

Practicing bike safety skills on the roads around our school.
(Photo: Madi Carlson)

Cycling education in local schools isn’t new — the City of Portland has been helping students learn bike safety skills since 2005. With partners like The Street Trust, the transportation bureau educates hundreds of elementary students through their Safe Routes to School program. This year they plan to graduate the program up to middle school.[Read more…]

Family Biking: Here’s how to ace Walk + Roll to School Day

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

The parties and parades will be much more fun if you plan ahead and get involved.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

[Read more…]

Family Biking: Two tweens on a family bike (part one)

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

160 pounds of carefully-placed 12-year old and 10-year old. Not easy, but doable!
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

I just realized I can still carry both my kids on my bike! But just barely. The barely part is due both to my ability to carry them and the amount of space on my bike. The ability part isn’t about not having an e-assist (though that would certainly make it easier and more fun), but being able to muscle the bike off its kick-stand and to hold it upright when stopped.

This has me thinking about biking with two tweens in general — as a single unit, that is — and how/if it’s really feasible.[Read more…]

Family Biking: Food cart pods are almost the perfect spot for bikes, kids, and pets

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

The Lot at Scout Beer has great food, great bathrooms, and great kiddie play area, but zero bike parking.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

There’s a lot to like about Portland. Our plentiful bike lanes (for an American city, that is) and our high percentage of bike commuters (again, by American standards), our temperate weather, and one of my favorite Portlandy things: our food cart pods!

While I love hanging out and eating at food cart pods, lately I’ve realized there are a lot of them that aren’t exactly bike-friendly, which downgrades them to almost perfect spots.[Read more…]

Family Biking: Go beyond parks and campgrounds with these bike camp hacks

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

The best camp-hacking comes with a pool, cake, and karaoke.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Did you know house sitting is now called (by some at least) “rent hacking”? It sounds cool, but I prefer “camp hacking,” a term I coined for camping options beyond the usual parks and campgrounds. If you’re looking for a quick-and-dirty way to camp with your bikes, maybe it’s time to think outside the box.[Read more…]

Family Biking: The ABCs of a summer bucket list

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

We just biked to the last Portland Pickles baseball game of the regular season. I love biking to sporting events in the summer!
(Photo: Madi Carlson)

For those of us following the Portland Public Schools calendar, there are just two more weeks of summer break. I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping to sneak in a few more fun things on bikes before we’ve got to get back to the books. I’d like to hit a few new locations and maybe revisit a special spot or two.

How about you? Any last-minute summer flings planned? If not, here are three little bits of inspiration…[Read more…]

Family Biking: Time to start planning your bike-to-school route

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

I can’t wait to see if the new lanes on SE Foster feel safe at 8:30am once school starts.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Yikes, August has snuck up on me and the school year is just three weeks away. That means it’s time to plan out your bike-to-school route. [Read more…]

Family Biking: You can’t go home again, but bicycling helps

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

First glimpse of the ocean! Three Arch Rocks in the background at Netarts Bay.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

This week’s column will be a bit more introspective than usual, so please bear with me…

I think a lot about my kids and my own lost youth in the summers.
[Read more…]

Family Biking: Reassuring relatives about biking with baby

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

(Photos: Madi Carlson)

How do you handle well-meaning concerns about biking with little ones?
[Read more…]

Review: ‘Motherload’ film gives cargo bikes their due

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

Motherload takes us on a journey through cargo bike history and use.
[Read more…]